£100,000 given to Redbridge teens to spend on tackling the issues that matter to them

Young people have been given £100,000 to spend on issues which affect them in what is being hailed the first project of its kind in London.

Following a lively debate as part of Local Democracy Week in October, Redbridge’s Youth Council identified self-harm, unemployment and mental health as priorities which needed to be addressed.

After listening to their concerns, the council’s cabinet agreed on Tuesday to give them the money and ask the Youth Council to come up with a strategy on how to spend it.

Speaking at the meeting at Redbridge Town Hall, Cllr Ian Bond (Liberal Democrat, Roding) said: “I believe this is the first project of this kind in London. If we don’t listen to the young people, who do we listen to?

“They are already working on their plans and I hope they will come up with some ideas.”

The idea of giving the Youth Council the money was raised at a meeting in December and the fund will be set up for 2014/15.

It will be used to improve the experience and well-being of young people facing difficult issues and hopes to help as many people as possible.

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Leader of the council Cllr Keith Prince (Conservative, Barkingside) added: “It’s very much about empowerment.

“This is real money and a real opportunity for those young people to do something that is to their own benefit.”

A report will go to the next cabinet meeting in April which will set out how the Youth Council believes the money should be spent.

Cllr Alan Weinberg (Con, Clayhall), cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for young people to be involved in democracy and to work to identify not only the issues that are pertinent to them, but how we can spend money to support them.”