Young Citizen Action Group

Context

Thames Ward has an incredibly young population with the highest proportion of under 16s in Barking and Dagenham and the youngest average age in the borough. Given the age profile of the ward – and the unprecedented levels of growth expected – it is vital that young people are able to shape and influence the way their neighbourhood changes in the interest of fostering inclusive growth.

The Young Citizen Action Group (or YCAG) is focused on the future, the next generation. It is formed of students from Riverside School who are passionate about making a difference to their local area.

Priorities

At the start of every school year the Young Citizen Action Group receives community organising training, conducts a listening campaign to find out the local issues that young people want to change most and then focuses on taking action on those issues.

In their most recent listening campaign the top three priorities for its strategic work were:

  1. The lack of sufficient youth facilities and activities in the area
  2. The lack of clean, safe and accessible parks and green spaces
  3. Concerns over crime and safety

Overall Objective

YCAG is about young people making a difference in their community while having fun, making friends and building the confidence to engage with decision-makers to shape the way their area is changing.

YCAG Initiatives

Bins Campaign

Garden Keys Campaign

Bus Campaign

Key Achievements

  • The YCAG successfully liaised with BRL to ensure bins were installed at the bus stop outside their school and all along the road to tackle littering.
  • The YCAG successfully campaigned to be given the keys to a large plot of land next to their school to be used as a community garden.
  • The YCAG successfully campaigned for additional buses on the EL1 bus route every hour – worth over £1million.
  • The YCAG won the 2019/2020 TELCO Award for Secondary School of the Year for their social action efforts in their community.
“These young people are the future of local and national politics. It’s great to see Riverside students getting deeply involved in local social issues; having a voice; and being listened to so that they could action change that benefits the whole community. This is a superb achievement - congratulations! – I’m delighted they have been recognised for their outstanding citizenship”
- Andy Roberts, Head of Riverside School.
“YCAG gave us a voice to speak out about issues that affect us and act upon them to make our community better. It forces adults to see us as a part of the community and take us seriously, since we are not just complaining, but actually taking action”
- Year 10 YCAG member, Basmala El-Kadry.
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If you live in Barking Riverside, Scrattons Farm or Thames View and want to get involved in resident-led activity with your neighbours then get in touch!

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