Fair Futures Commission: Education chief hails ‘fresh thinking’ as Islington accepts suggestions

Cllr Joe Caluori, Islington Council's children and young people leader, believes 'significant' chang

Cllr Joe Caluori, Islington Council's children and young people leader, believes 'significant' changes to the coucil operates are underway. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A youth-led commission could shake-up work experience inequality, stuffy planning meetings and hostile housing estate signs in Islington.

The independent Fair Futures Commission asked young people what they would change about the borough – and council bosses have agreed to all its recommendations.

These commitments include reviewing “no ball games” signs on estates, boosting access to cultural opportunities and helping kids bank 100 hours of work experience by the age of 16.

Islington’s education chief Cllr Joe Caluori, said: “It’s quite a significant moment for the council because there are big changes in the way it does things – this is about bringing young people on board and getting some fresh thinking.

“The ‘no ball games’ signs makes some young people feel like criminals when they just want to play outside.

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“Space is really important and when we walk around and see those signs it sends the wrong message.”

The commission’s final report suggests: “All major developments in the borough should include consultation with children and young people from the beginning of the project”

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And Cllr Caluori said this is an important pledge, as it could give young people votes in the planning process.

He hopes youngsters can provide “some balance against the architectural vernacular”, as the need for housing clashes with nimbyism.

Islington can’t legally compel schools to facilitate the work experience scheme, but it will work with them to help deliver it.

“This is about the council and the community being a catalyst, said the education chief.

“It’s something that should certainly be available to all young people.

“When it comes to work experience all the middle class kids get all the opportunities because their parents have the social capital to get them all the chances.

“But there are kids from working class families who maybe wont get the huge advantage.”

The commission was established in February and the council will officially commit to its suggestions at a town hall meeting on Thursday evening.

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