Post-riot report highlights young people’s views of community engagement

The 2011 riots were an indication of underlying problems within many communities. The Resilience Consortium has interviewed 700 young people between 18 and 24 years who were affected by the riots, to identify their roles and opinions about their communities. The Consortium’s report, Building Resilience with Young People and Communities, highlights that:


There is real value in engaging young people in programme design, developing their communities and supporting each other.


The services and support provided by communities for young people are significant in making young people feel included and supported by society and their local community. The report indicates that there is inadequate support and services within some communities. Young people feel their views are not taken on board. 49% of young people interviewed believe they do not have much of an influence on the services provided for them in their community.


The report suggests that young people want a bigger voice in society. They feel they are rarely given an opportunity to voice their concerns or be involved in decision making.


It’s all about finding out what young people and other youth want. The reason why youth clubs closed down is because no one went. The reason why no one went is because they didn’t do the things we want and they still don’t. Not that I’ve heard of anyway. (ayoung interviewee)


Services for young people are attempting to meet their needs but it is clear they are failing to do so. Half of those interviewed felt that they had very little or no influence over the organisations and services they used. Young people stated that they often find it difficult to access these services. The report indicates that support for all young people was poor, particularly for children who have special education needs, have been involved in criminal activity or are frequently absent from school. The needs of these young people are not being met and their voices unheard.


The report discusses volunteering and the attitudes of the interviewees on volunteering and their contribution to their community. The report indicates that volunteering can improve community cohesion with young people.


Those currently volunteering were most interested in being involved (45% of current volunteers in comparison to 13% of those who hadn’t ever and didn’t want to volunteer).


The Resilience Consortium indicates that there are many opportunities for young people to become involved in their community, this could be through volunteering, apprenticeships or developing community development schemes to include young people in society. The main challenges for young people are unemployment, a lack of access to further education and facilities for young people. Trust between young people and the police also needs to be strengthened in some communities, particularly in London.


Read Building Resilience with Young People and Communities


Participation Works is a partnership of…
British Youth CouncilChildren's Rights Alliance for EnglandKIDSNational Council for Voluntary Youth ServicesNational Youth AgencyNCB