Young people's question time in Tower Hamlets

Young people's question time - Jaami Barry

Young Mayor, Jaami Barry answering a question from the audience

Last week, young people from across Tower Hamlets had the opportunity to quiz a panel of community leaders at the ‘Spotlight’ Lansbury Youth Centre including Mayor John Biggs and Young Mayor, Jaami Barry.

The panel also included: local ward Councillor Bex White; Fatima Jagne, a youth worker with twenty-years’ experience; and Babu Bhattacherjee, Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods for local housing association, Poplar HARCA.

The question time was part of the ‘BeHeard’ series of ongoing events aimed at allowing local communities, especially young members, to engage their leaders in debate and discussion. Questions ranged from the future of funding for youth services, cuts to the council’s budget to mental health and staying safe when using social media.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “I enjoy meeting young people from Tower Hamlets, who are the future of our borough. I’m always impressed by how articulate they are and at how events like this can provide an opportunity to hear views. These were powerfully expressed.

“As a council, we operate one of the biggest youth services in the country but we want to hear how we can improve it. Youth services were one of the topics raised but many others were too. We want to support every child and young person in the borough to realise their potential.”

Echoing Mayor Biggs comments, a theme from both audience members and the panel emerged around confidence. The consensus was that even with the opportunities on offer to children and young people in Tower Hamlets, it was important that they also had the confidence to take advantage of what’s on offer.

Staying true to his motto of ‘educate, empower, elevate’, Jaami Barry, Young Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “There is a lot of pressure on kids in Tower Hamlets to grow up quickly. It’s important that we’re able to push ourselves to be the best and define what success means to us personally.”

The event was a collaboration between Leaders in Community and Spotlight.

Posted on Tuesday 17th March 2020