Momentum builds at youth conference

Published: 13 July 2015

More than a hundred of the borough’s young people got a chance to quiz senior police officers, senior councillors and council officers and other decision makers and experts at the Youth Momentum2 conference at the town hall.

The conference, organised by the Wandsworth Youth Council, brought people together to discuss what the problems are for young people in Wandsworth and how they can be overcome.


Workshops were held to explore difficult topics in creative ways, and ‘speed questioning’ gave young people the chance to discuss issues with 45 decision makers, including the council’s chief executive Paul Martin, and Battersea MP and health minister Jane Ellison.. Subjects included how to give young people a voice, what mental health support should be available to school pupils, and gang culture and how to keep safe. 

Wandsworth youth councillor Nareman Abbud, 17, said:  “Youth Momentum2 was great because of all the creative activities. It got young people involved and out of our seats. We had to really think about tough topics and we learnt things in new and fun ways.

“As youth councillors, it’s now up to us to make sure decision makers stick to their pledges and for us to help them.”

Officers will now take all the feedback from the conference and come up with a three-year Youth Participation Strategy. All Schools, youth groups and services used by young people will be invited to contribute to the strategy, which will cover five main areas:

  • Mental Health
  • Education and the Curriculum
  • Votes at 16
  • Youth Unemployment
  • Police and Youth Engagement

The Youth Council was set up by the council's Youth Service, now provided for the council by charity 4Children. It has established itself as a key forum for consulting and involving young people in decisions about council services.

It meets regularly and develops campaigns, feeds into the decision-making processes of the council and partners, organises events, manages the Youth Opportunity Fund grant scheme and runs projects such as the Wandsworth Young Inspectors, who inspect council and other services and give feedback from a young person's point of view.

The council's children's services spokesman Cllr Kathy Tracey said:

"Yet again the Youth Council have organised a successful and eye-opening Youth Momentum conference. It’s great to hear their fresh new ideas and see matters from their perspective. Young people often have a bad reputation, but this event shows that here in Wandsworth we have some very bright, engaged young people who we are sure will continue to play a vital role in our community.

"We want to help all our young people achieve their potential, and we want them to know that we do listen to them and learn from them."