Hundreds of Birmingham’s young people gathered last Thursday (24/10) to discuss the big issues affecting them at this year’s Brum Youth Trends Summit. The Summit, run by the social enterprise, Beatfreeks Collective, coincided with the launch of the highly anticipated 2019 Brum Youth Trends report.
The 2019 report offers an insight into what Birmingham’s young people think, want and need following a survey of thousands of young people across the city. Early findings from the report, released over the summer, found that nearly 9 out of 10 young people don’t feel heard by power yet 67% said they would still vote in the next General Election.
Brum Youth Trends also revealed that 64% of young people feel either unsafe or that the police don’t protect them, an increase of almost 20% from last year. The findings come as young people face growing threats to their safety, such as rising knife crime and homelessness.
With mental health an increasing concern for young people, 40.1% of respondents listed it as their biggest concern with 33.7% of people not knowing how to access any of their public services.
However, the report also found that more young people than ever are proud to be from Birmingham and feel more connected to the wider West Midlands. And more than ever, young people are optimistic about the future of Birmingham.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, who spoke at the Summit, described Brum Youth Trends as “an important barometer reading of the needs, fears and aspirations of the younger generation”, adding it was also a “vital tool” in helping to address the issues most important to young people.
Mr Street, who chairs the WMCA, said:
“I am pleased to see a growing pride among young people in their home city and that those who feel connected to the wider West Midlands has almost doubled in the last year.
“Of course young people want to continue to improve their situation, and I hope our new Young Combined Authority will give Generation Z a strong voice and a platform from which they will not only be able to be heard by those in power but also influence key decisions affecting the future of our region.
“It is vital that young people have their voice heard so that issues like feeling safe, access to arts and culture, and strong public services, can be addressed appropriately.”
Dion Fanthom, a member of the Young Combined Authority, added:
“I am proud to be part of this new group, being able to speak on issues that affect young people, knowing that we have the influence to make a difference.”
After analysing Brum Youth Trends findings, Beatfreeks have proposed sixteen recommendations to improve the lives of young people aimed at decision makers across the public, private and third sector.