Assume Nothing, Believe no-one, Challenge Everything (ABC), Peterborough (Youth Forum)

You Tube Film about ABC

In Peterborough the project formed a Black minority ethnic forum  of young people in order to understand and identify areas of racial inequalities and plan how these could possibly be addressed and remedied.  The core members of the forum were recruited via Peterborough Racial Equality Council (PREC) through Step Up, an organisation which aims to support and work with disadvantaged communities, in particular young people and women, by increasing their participation and self reliance.

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Forum purpose

  • To empower young people to make their voices be heard and help to resolve issues
  • Provide young people with an opportunity to talk about some of the inequalities they have faced
  • Highlight inequalities faced by Black minority and ethnic young people within Peterborough
  • Identify ways of addressing and challenging such inequalities
  • To provide the focus group with appropriate training and support to address such issues and increase leadership and involvement in service design and delivery
  • •     Compare the BME young people’s experiences in Peterborough with those of Bedford and Cambridge, as proposed by MENTER and draw out any differences or common themes

Jabeen Shafee (Youth Project Worker) says:

“The TRIF project has proved to be extremely valuable in highlighting young people’s experiences of racial inequalities.  For many, it was the first time they were provided with an opportunity to speak about such behaviour and attitudes and it drew out various emotions.  There were an alarming number of examples cited by the young people, which when heard collectively highlighted a recurring theme throughout various public sector agencies. Having identified and validated the experiences of the group we are looking forward to developing a long-term strategy that will help overcome these issues.”

For more information about ABC, Peterborough, contact Jabeen Shafee

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Project activities

The initial workshops focused on engaging the group through various activities involving the use of role play and improvisation.  This allowed the group to engage with other new members with ease and overcome any prior inhibitions.  It also enabled the group to increase their level of confidence, therefore enabling them to become more vocal and involved in future, more challenging workshops. Follow up workshops covered areas such as identity, culture and inequalities.  The group undertook a series of activities around this issue ranging from group discussions, as well as individual mind maps relating to their inner and outer identity.  They also engaged in a game using pre-determined questions to decide whether they could achieve certain positions in society.

Other activities included group discussions and debates whereby key speakers were invited to the talk to the group about their experiences of inequalities or allow the group to ask them questions about their organisation, with a view of tackling inequalities using young people’s experiences and input.  The group also undertook a four day residential trip to London.  They visited Madame Tussauds and were asked to talk about inspirational positive role models.  The forum was also introduced to TAGMAP, a social networking site for young people to speak about social issues of concern. Some of the forum members were provided with an opportunity to visit a recording studio, where they wrote their own lyrics of racial inequalities and recorded a soundtrack.

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Project outcomes

Overall, the TRIF year one project has been successful in identifying areas where young people felt they suffer racial inequalities.  The data obtained has provided powerful examples, highlighting individual experiences. From the discussions, ‘ABC’ identified the three main areas where BME young people were most likely to suffer discrimination as:

  • Education
  • Police
  • Media / Communication

The forum will consider ways in which these areas can be challenged in Year 2 of the project. Feedback from the participants at the end of year one, demonstrates a greater understanding of the inequalities faced by young people and has also created a certain amount of determination to challenge these and create more favourable circumstances for BME young people.  The group has expressed a keen desire to work with others to tackle the challenges they have faced and to engage and empower other young people to ‘speak out’ against such treatment and for fairness in our society.

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Impact and benefits

“The project has really helped me understand that a lot of other people are going through the same problems that me and my friends go through.  We used to ignore it, thinking it was just happening to us.  But now I know others are also suffering.  Being a part of the forum, I have become more confident to speak out against racism. I know that I have the support of others and that these things do not happen in isolation. I want to help other young people challenge the inequalities because when I was younger we had no-one to help us” Hussnain (aged 19)

“The ‘ABC’ forum has empowered me to really make a difference. I know how to challenge people’s attitude and will not hesitate to speak up for others.  We have rights, we are also British and deserve to be treated the same as others.  We all know it may take many years for things to be fully equal but if we all stand up and speak out against racial inequalities, this will definitely lead to major changes.  We know it’s not easy but it’s like a revolution.  We may not benefit from the changes but our kids and grandkids may, they will not have to put up with such intolerance” Jav (aged 22)

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TRIF Funding

How TRIF support helped the project

“Without this forum or this project racial inequalities faced by BME young people would never have been highlighted.  We would not have an idea as to how much abuse young people face.  The support from this project has allowed for like minded individuals to come together and look at ways of tackling race issues faced by young people.  The ‘ABC’ forum offers a support mechanism for young people both in the forum and those contacted through wider events.  We also have the opportunity to talk to the police and schools and make them accountable for their actions against BME young people.  They know we will question them through our forum” Tiago (aged 19)

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When TRIF funding finishes

We hope to have a sustainable, established and active forum, recognisable in  Peterborough.  The long term objective is for the group to become self-sufficient so that the young people will be able to seek and apply for independent funding and therefore continue to attract members.  We hope the ‘ABC’ group will continue to provide a platform and a voice for BME young people facing inequalities so that we can achieve a fairer society for all young people irrespective of race.

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Case Study PREC, Step Up & MENTER.pdf183.55 KB
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