Goodmayes teenager aiming to change image of young people by promoting ‘21st century youth’

Young Citizen Award nominee Serour Benbouza

Young Citizen Award nominee Serour Benbouza - Credit: Archant

A 16-year-old is hoping to change the image of young people by encouraging community ties and cohesion.

Serour Benbouza, 16, of Fenman Gardens, Goodmayes, is aiming to “promote 21st-century youth”.

She said: “There’s an image of us that I want to change. I want to show people what we’re actually like, that we want to change our community and help others.”

She has now been nominated for the Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award, sponsored by the Exchange Ilford shopping centre, for her work.

In August, Serour organised an open-air tea party in her street to encourage her neighbours to get to know one another.

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Not only would this help people to socialise, Serour said, but it could also help improve security after a recent spate of burglaries.

She added: “I’ve only lived here for three years and it was hard to fit in, as our community doesn’t really socialise together. Before, we used to say ‘hi’ to people and they would be cautious as they didn’t know you.

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“If there is a time of need, you can help more if you know each other.”

Serour has encouraged others to participate and now leads a team of more than 50 young volunteers on various projects.

Another project she hopes to have up and running soon is a breakfast club at Goodmayes Primary School, Castleton Road, Goodmayes, for children who would otherwise miss the meal.

She hopes to enlist the help of Tesco and Redbridge Council with the scheme.

Serour’s overall goal is to alter people’s perception of the youth of today.

The pupil at Mayfield School, Pedley Road, Goodmayes, said: “Being a young person, you hear all the things that are said about you and you feel determined to show that that is not what we’re really like.

“Personally, if I ask someone if they need help with their bags, I would carry their bags all the way to their house.”

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