Responding to the commission, which consulted directly with Islington’s young people and professionals who work with them, the council has made a raft of commitments. These include ensuring that all children receive 100 hours of meaningful experience of the world of work by the age of 16 – a UK first.
The council will also undertake a review of signage on its housing estates with residents of all ages, replacing or altering signs such as “No ball games” to encourage more active and healthy lifestyles and foster cohesive communities.
Other key commitments include ensuring children benefit from 11 outstanding cultural experiences by Year 11 for free, and providing affordable workspace with on-site childcare provision. The council will also explore with businesses the potential for providing homework zones for children, and set up a programme of neighbourhood walkabouts with young people to map areas where they feel unsafe, creating a dialogue for suggested solutions.
Cllr Joe Caluori, executive member for children, young people and families, said: “We set up the Islington Fair Futures Commission so we could really listen to, understand and learn from the lived experiences of young people in our borough – and what needed to change to make Islington the best place to grow up for all children.
“I’m delighted that the commissioners could openly discuss and unpick these issues with young people and the professionals who work with them – and that we can put their recommendations into practice or encourage our partners to do so.
“The point of this whole process was to make changes that put children and young people at the very centre of local public services, and the commitments we have outlined will make a real difference to young people for generations to come – from enriching cultural experiences to improving our housing estates and offering meaningful help towards making their mark in the world.”
The council’s broad set of commitments include making changes to its approach in planning, managing and improving housing, parks and green spaces, supporting employment and businesses, education, physical and mental health, community safety and crime.
To help young people gain 100 hours’ experience of the world of work – which could include work experience, seminars by industry figures, and more – the council will create a cohesive framework for employers and schools by March 2019 which maximises these opportunities and provides guidance.
The council will act as a broker between schools and cultural institutions to ensure they benefit from a broad set of outstanding experiences in various fields before they leave school, from music to theatre, sport, architecture, dance, science, history, visual arts, heritage and more.
The council has set up a cross-departmental project team to work with estate residents young and old to review signage on its estates, and encourage housing associations to do the same.
Other commitments made in the council’s response to the commission’s recommendations, which will be formally endorsed by its Executive next week, include:
- exploring the potential for young people without access to quiet study space at home to use business workspaces as “homework zones”;
- extending the council’s existing business mentor project to students in the pupil referral unit and special schools;
- creating affordable workspaces with integrated childcare facilities
- developing a pledge for businesses to sign up to, helping train and equip young people for the world of work;
- developing a forum for involving young people in the planning process for big schemes, parks and open spaces;
- embedding independent living skills training in the Summerversity programme.