Midlands Hope Hack empowers young people to reimagine a fairer, safer society

Earlier this month, young people from our intensive development programme Teenvine Plus joined dozens of other Coventry teenagers for Midlands Hope Hack 2022.

The Belgrade Theatre event on 14 July was the Coventry leg of a 22-date national youth engagement tour asking young people for their ideas on creating a fairer, safer society.

A large group of Coventry young people cheer and raise their hands up on stage at The Belgrade Theatre in front of a presentation screen which says 'Midlands Hope Hack'. They have been part of a special workshop seeking solutions directly from young people on a safer and fairer society.
Midlands Hope Hack in Coventry, July 2022.

Hosted and facilitated by The Hope Collective and violence reduction partnerships across England and Wales (in our case, West Midlands), the outcomes of the events will feed back into the government’s policy unit of the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities at 10 Downing Street.

Representing Coventry Youth Partnership were Creative Optimistic Visions, Coventry Boys and Girls Club, Aptitude Youth, Positive Youth Foundation and us, Teenvine Plus.

In seeking the widest possible input from young people, it was especially important for our Teenviners to join their peers and offer specific perspectives from young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) – arguably among those given the rawest of deals when it comes to equity and safety in today’s world.

Teenviner Joshua even got to meet Patrick Hutchinson at the event, receiving a free signed copy of his book. Patrick’s decision to carry a far-right protester to safety became the defining image of summer 2020’s anti-racist movement.

A young black teenager wearing glasses and a checked shirt holds a copy of a book to the camera. Next to him is an older black manwearing a baseball cap. He is the author of the book, Joshua Hutchinson.

Thoughts from the day

Teenvine Plus project worker Sarah Grove said: “For me it was a chance to see a vision for the future in action, with SEND not tagged on as an after-thought or a box ticked. That’s not inclusion.

“Inclusion is when you can’t find Teenviners at an event because they are fully immersed in group workshops with their peers. That’s inclusion. That’s the world we want to see. That’s hope.”

Grapevine Director of Projects, Naomi Madden said: “It’s amazing to see our young people celebrated and accepted so well by other young people.

“You can’t see our young people grouped together on the edge because they are fully included and spread out amongst everyone. That’s exactly what we want.”

Violence Reduction Network on Twitter: “The #MidlandsHopeHack was THE most amazing day and we are still buzzing from the energy and solutions these young people generated!”

The driving force behind the Hope Hacks, The Hope Collective, was formed by UK Youth and NCS in 2020 to support the 20th anniversary legacy campaign for Damilola Taylor, killed on a Peckham housing estate in 2000 aged just 10 by two young brothers. Before his death, Damilola had expressed his wish to make the world a better place.

The Hope Collective’s vision is working together in a spirit of unity to create real change for young people and communities across the UK, enabling people to break free from poverty, violence and discrimination.

We look forward to hearing back on how our young people’s amplified voices and hopes for the future will be reflected in national policy, treating root causes not just symptoms.

#ChangingTheConversation #ChangingTheNarrative #ShiftingPower

Teenvine Plus is part of Grapevine’s Strengthening People action strand.

Please visit the dedicated young person’s charity www.fearless.org for information on crime and safety and to give information about crime anonymously.