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Creating young leaders

A groundbreaking scheme pioneered by a New Cross based project, the Ministry of Youth, has given young people from the area the chance to introduce and implement fresh ideas to enhance their communities.

By Richard Sudan

The Ministry of Youth (MOY) asked young people to design a fun project which will offer something new and fresh to get involved with, whilst at the same time bringing them together making the community stronger. The project and the ideas from the youngsters who are taking part, will encourage and inspire others to become active members of their communities.

MOY having now identified the successful projects to go ahead from the ideas put forward, will now turn the ideas into a reality. The young people involved will see their ideas flourish from an idea into real examples of community cohesion. The work of the young people, and MOY is to be applauded, and has received praise from across the voluntary sector.

The three winning applicants have between them secured a total of £3,490 in funding for their ideas having had the green light from the project co-ordinator and forum. December saw the successful applicants receive certificates in recognition of their passionate ideas.

The certificates were handed to the winners by Jacob Sakil Lewisham’s Young Mayor in an award ceremony, who spoke at Operation Black Vote’s ‘Express Yourself’ event on January 18th 2010.

The winners will receive continuing support as they work to bring their ideas into fruition as part of Ministry of Youth’s commitment to encourage support and nurture young people in many ways that empower them.

Among the projects that have been put forward by the winners is this innovative idea by Shabnam Nasimi, aged 19, who is from New Cross.

The proposal was that MOY would fund a project entitled ‘Youth Activity’ giving young people in the area the chance to take place in a number of sports activities at weekends over a period of 18 weeks. The hope is that through the activities provided young refugees, asylum seekers and other local young people will come together and form relationships within their communities that will transcend some of the barriers that they face.

This project will undoubtedly bring cohesion between immigrant communities, and those born here by promoting interaction and dialogue, through the medium of sports.

Those who have been allocated funding for their idea will also receive ongoing support from the Ministry of Youth to gain further skills in entreprenuership/enterprise in a series of workshops that the project has organized.

Shabnam commented on receiving her YAF award says: “The Youth Activities Fund is a great opportunity for young people to solve the problems in their local community independently. The Ministry of Youth enables disadvantaged young people to learn new skills for further education and employment. I want to thank them for supporting my sports project and look forward for their cooperation in the future”

Janet Bowens – Youth Facilitator spoke on the success of the scheme saying: “I am especially proud of Kallum, Kleon, Frederick, Andrew and Devante who formed the MOY award panel. They were very objective and demonstrated maturity in reaching a final decision on successful applications. I am excited to see and hear the updates on these project ideas which will support numerous young people in the surrounding New Cross area”.

Youth Forum member, Esther Idoing, aged 15 added: “I think its good that we are doing this and giving young people more opportunities and getting them involved in their community. MOY has been helpful because I was one of the young people that use to hang around on the streets and I didn’t know that young people could have a say in their community but they gave us opportunities and let us know that young people have voices, and we can have a say in how our community’s run”.

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