After weeks of planning, the Pioneers hosted local decision-makers at an amazing event on Saturday, co-designing the future of Finsbury Park!
“We enjoyed being the ones ‘workshopping’, rather than being workshopped and we valued being given the responsibility to lead the event. It was great to see so many people attend, and I felt like we were taken seriously. The decision makers left feeling inspired whilst we, the Pioneers, left with confidence there will be a change in the future.” Emily, 14
This was the aim our Pioneers had when planning their very own co-creation event. Following training from our friends over at the University of Westminster, The Quality of Life Foundation and Commonplace, to name but a few, they spent the summer going out into their community and finding out first-hand what change people want to see in Finsbury Park.
Equipped with this local knowledge, we brought our Pioneers face-to-face with local decision-makers, joined by collaborators and other like-minded people, leading them in a series of workshops and presentations with the aim of generating solutions to the issues revealed by their research This ranged prom preserving things that the community values in the face of regeneration, to improving nighttime safety with improved lighting; from ensuring more opportunities for local young people to providing youth clubs. These discussions brought together a room full of knowledge and experience, with the explicit agreement to collaborate on ambitious and exciting ideas for the future of Finsbury Park.
“I felt that the decision makers were engaged in our presentation, and the discussions were deep and highly collaborative, allowing us to fully explore the issues. Our discussions produced practical solutions to issues including youth engagement, safety, and female empowerment.” Julia, 17
With those who attended in resounding agreement, it became clear by the end of the workshop how crucial it is for local communities to have their voices heard early enough in the decision-making process to be able to influence change. Local decision-makers in the room were
challenged to think practically about how young people can work with them in creating meaningful change within the communities they serve.
“It was very powerful to hear the young Pioneers speak of their hopes for the area, vital in ensuring the voice of young people is heard. I really do hope they are able to continue feeding into and being part of the shaping of the place 'Finsbury Park' for the foreseeable future” Cllr Clare Potter, Hackney Council
So what happens next? While the My Place pilot project draws to a close, this is not the end of our story. Our pioneers will continue to work with the Finsbury Park and Stroud Green Neighbourhood Forum on the Neighbourhood Plan so that they can see real change happen as a result of their efforts. . With the resounding support My Place has received, a dialogue has now been initiated with the three host boroughs of Finsbury Park (Hackney, Haringey and Islington). They have seen how children and young people have the skills and the motivation to access and advocate for their own communities so that diverse local voices are heard by those who make decisions about the area’s future. These young pioneers hope and believe this will be a lasting legacy of My Place.
“We were able to make connections with decision-makers and set up future meetings with Councillors. I think this will help us in the future to take further steps to make a change.” Julia, 17