Young Londoners come together with City Hall changemakers

A group of young people face the camera after speaking at an event
6th October 2023

By Aneesa, Youth Engagement Officer

At the Mayor’s Fund for London, our commitment to empowering the youth of London took a significant stride forward during our recent Youth Voice Roundtable.

This dynamic event brought together a diverse group of young individuals, policymakers, and changemakers, creating a vibrant space for dialogue and collaboration. The formation of this event lay in the insightful conversations with our dedicated Youth Board, who passionately advocated for collaborative efforts to address the pressing challenges faced by young Londoners.

During our discussions, we zeroed in on three pivotal issues directly affecting youth: mental health, the cost-of-living crisis, and youth violence. The attendees, including representatives from prominent youth networks such as TFL Youth Panel, London’s Violence Reduction Unit’s YPAG, Jack Petchey Youth Consultation Panel and Young Minds lent their unique perspectives, enriching our conversations.

In our exploration of mental health support within employment programmes, the conversation emphasised the critical need for culturally sensitive services. Participants championed the creation of safe spaces for open dialogues, advocating for innovative initiatives like buddy schemes. These schemes would pair young individuals with professionals in similar fields, fostering comfortable conversations about their concerns. Additionally, there was a collective call for psychologically supportive workplaces, underlining the importance of employers understanding the specific needs of young employees.

The discussion on supporting young people’s everyday costs underscored the necessity of raising awareness about existing support initiatives. Participants highlighted the power of platforms like social media and apps in disseminating crucial information, particularly initiatives spearheaded by organisations such as TFL. Ensuring the accessibility of these programmes emerged as a focal point, recognising the diverse cultural backgrounds and neurodivergence within the youth community. Suggestions included implementing money management initiatives in schools and community centres, imparting vital financial skills.

When delving into early intervention programmes, participants stressed the interconnectedness of mental health issues and youth violence. They underscored the urgency of timely support to prevent violent tendencies and focused on preventive measures within the school system. The resounding message that emerged was powerful: “Violence is preventable, not inevitable.” Participants also highlighted the importance of involving parents, guardians, and adults in intervention programs, acknowledging the necessity of cultural sensitivity in these engagements.

This event signifies not just a culmination but rather the commencement of a transformative journey. The Mayor’s Fund, as a steadfast advocate for the youth, pledges to act as a convenor. We are committed to bringing together young people from all corners of London with changemakers, ensuring their voices echo through the halls of decision-making. This event is merely the beginning of a movement where we will serve as the catalyst, nurturing a platform where young voices are not just heard but actively shape policies and initiatives.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all participants and stakeholders. Your contributions have ignited a vital conversation. This roundtable marks the beginning of a groundbreaking journey, a journey where the Mayor’s Fund will stand as the conduit, connecting young voices with the changemakers of today.