Listening to Leap graduates ahead of the London Mayoral elections
At Leap, we feel strongly that those in positions of power must be informed by the expertise of young people.
With the younger generation facing rising levels of unemployment, increased loneliness and a growing mental health crisis, listening to young people is more important than ever.
Ahead of the London Mayoral Elections which are taking place on Thursday 6 May, we held a workshop with Leap graduates/young Londoners to gather their opinions and insights into the issues that their generation face. We want to understand what it's like being a young person living in London, and explore ways that young people can create change in their communities and society.
We will translate these conversations into a compelling digital format to share with the successful Mayoral candidate and their team at City Hall following the election result. We will also share these insights with Lib Peck, the Director of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, and Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Diana Barron, who is also responsible for the government’s strategy on loneliness.
Here are some highlights from the conversations that we had
We explored how young people define ‘community’ and how they interact with the city, both pre- and post-Covid.
I see community as a group of people - no matter what borough you are in – all working together to do the same thing. London is still London and we should want to create change for every borough not just individual boroughs.
We learnt that prior to Covid-19, young people would travel to neighbouring boroughs and across the city for both work and leisure. However, there are instances where the stigma associated with certain boroughs would make young people reconsider travelling to that area, due to fear for their own safety.
Because of what I’ve heard about it, I avoid Newham like my life depends on it. I will take a bus or a cab if I need to travel through Newham, as long as I don’t have to walk in the area.
We discussed to what extent young people feel connected to their community. Interestingly, there was a split between young people wanting to stay in their home boroughs, those who would like to move to more affluent areas in the city, and others who do not see themselves living in London in the future.
I feel like I’m connected with my community to some extent. I help the elderly, and they all know me because I’m carrying boxes to their doors and always trying to help older people with their shopping. But I feel that there is a lot more that I can do for my community.
The group discussed to what extent young people feel they are able to make change in their communities and in society more broadly. The conversation explored issues of gender disparity, safety and violence, masculinity, peer pressure and conflict on social media.
There are systemic issues which affect the way that young people are supported. Young people’s emotional needs are not respected and society is placing extra demands on them. The issues are deep in the system and they are not the young people’s fault. What can the young person do to control their situation, when the systemic issues ingrained in the system are beyond their control?
Will young Londoners get the Mayor and London Assembly they deserve? Whoever takes office this weekend, we want to encourage you to co-create policies and improve services in collaboration with young people, rather than for young people. #londonvotes #mayoralelection. pic.twitter.com/aelz4uANZj— Leap Confronting Conflict (@leap_cc) May 6, 2021