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Seven Kings student helps restore faith in youth after London riots image crisis

Jack Petchley award winner Harveen Judge Jack Petchley award winner Harveen Judge

Monday, December 16, 2013
7:00 AM

A teenager who saw the damage the 2011 London riots had on the image of young people in London was determined to do her bit to restore her community’s faith in youth.

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Harveen, 16, is a member of the youth council at Seven Kings High in Ley Street, and has spent the past two years working hard to improve the image of young people in Ilford, taking part in litter picks, charity fundraising days and acting as a peer mentor for younger students.

Following the riots she even advised police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe on how to make policing more youth friendly and became a dedicated member of the first youth panel devoted to building relations with the Metropolitan Police.

As well as this, Harveen acted as a British Youth Council delegate voter for the London region and spent a year writing for the Guardian Online as a youth reporter.

“It’s been a busy couple of years,” she said.

“After the summer riots I started getting involved with policing policy.

“It was a great opportunity to speak to the commissioner, I helped get the idea off the ground about holding a competition to redesign the police’s youth web page.

“I didn’t think the people rioting were representative of all young people in London and I wanted to do my bit to change that.

“In order to raise the profile of the school’s youth council and to improve the image of young people in the borough, we did loads of things in the community.

“When we were doing our litter pick, people would come up to us to thank us and said what a great job we were doing – which made us feel we were making a difference to people’s attitudes.”

Harveen, along with members of the youth council, organised a fundraising “red accessories” day where students wore an item of red to school to raise money for Haven House Children’s Hospice in Woodford Green.

They also held drama workshops for young people with disabilities.

She was presented with a Jack Petchey Achievement Award during a ceremony on Thursday.

“I don’t know what I want to do when I leave school, but I’m interested in the law and policing, so maybe something in that area,” added Harveen.

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