At every ROC Conversation, you can guarantee that ‘youth’ will be discussed in one form or another. If ‘they’ are not causing problems through anti-social behaviour then there is a lack of facilities for ‘them’ – or perhaps both. Unfortunately though, young people rarely turn up in great numbers to a ROC Conversation. So they don’t get the chance to speak for themselves and well-meaning (and sometimes well-informed!) older folk like me, fill in the gaps.
Until Monday, when we went to Wilmslow High School to run a special ROC Youth Conversation just for the pupils of the school and some special guests like the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire; the Mayor of Cheshire East, senior officers from the three emergency services and the Headteacher. With a new interactive, youth-focused format, we enjoyed 90 minutes discovering how the young people view their community and what they would like to change. What surprised us is how many of the young people indicated they wanted to join an Action Group and volunteer to bring about practical community change. One comment particularly resonated – ‘if people got to know me they might understand me better’, isn’t that true for us all?
Joining Debra in presenting the Youth Conversation were Matt and Gemma from Wilmslow Youth; our incredibly talented Artist Lynda, who turned out on her birthday to create a visual record of the event; and Jabzz our man with the camera who is now busy editing and creating a new video for the ROC Youth Conversation. We have produced a report about the night, available on request, and a ROC Youth Action Group is being established. The Youth ROC Conversation is an exciting fresh approach to engage young people in their community and let them speak for themselves.
If you are ready to listen to the young people in your community, our new ROC Youth Conversation may be just what you are looking for!