16 to 25? Get your voice heard

Sir Bernard Hogan Howe and Shahlaa Tahira
Metropolitan police chief Sir Bernard Hogan Howe and presenter Shahlaa Tahira

The two men in charge of fighting crime in London will take part in face-to-face questioning and debate in small groups with 16-25-year-olds at a school on Tulse Hill later this month.

The format will be as far as it can be from a traditional public meeting with a platform and audience.

Stephen Greenhalgh
Stephen Greenhalgh, deputy mayor of London for policing and crime

Big Talk at St Martin’s School will see Metropolitan police chief Sir Bernard Hogan Howe and Stephen Greenhalgh, deputy mayor of London for policing and crime, sitting down to debate with small groups of young people.

The results will be turned into graffiti and hip hop and reported live on social media.

Brixton-born community organiser Ros Griffiths said the event would demonstrate the talent of local young people and give them a real voice. “Real people will be discussing real issues,” she said.

She stressed that the event was designed not to focus on problems, but to enable young people to be part of change. It would also challenge lazy stereotypes of young people.

The format would change the power relationship of so many public meetings in which audience members are forced to shout and heckle a top table to try to get their point across and in which those with the loudest voices can drown out others.

She said people like Sir Bernard Hogan Howe would never forget the experience and called on people who are “young and passionate about your neighbourhood and want to get your voice heard” to take part.

Reiss Hall
Reiss Hall

The event will be presented by Reiss Hall and radio and TV presenter Shahlaa Tahira.

The “Big Questions” to start discussion will be:

What more should be done to encourage young people with mental health problems to seek help

What can be done to improve young people’s confidence in the police

How can society encourage more young people to start businesses.

Ros Griffiths said MPs, business leaders, youth organisations and journalists would discuss all areas of London life and would not be confined by the three main themes.

An award-winning social entrepreneur, Ros Griffiths started Big Talk to create a platform for urban young people to get their voices heard by politicians and business leaders.

The first event was in January 2013. Since then, more than 300 young people have taken part. The Big Talks are inspired by the “Samoan Circle” a form of discussion and debate.

Participants are in three circles, inner, mid-inner and outer. Participants sit in middle circle but are unable to speak or debate unless they are invited into the inner circle, once they have made their points, others can tap them on the shoulder and get them to leave so that other people can have their say.

Those being “tapped out” could include the police chief and deputy mayor, Ros Griffiths pointed out.

People the outer circle join in the discussion on social media, using #BigTalk01.

Where: The Big Talk at St Martin’s-in-the field High School, 155 Tulse Hill, London, SW2 3UP.

When: Monday 30 November 2015 from 6.00 pm to 9.00pm.

Entry is free, but you must have a ticket pre-booked on Eventbrite.


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