Last night saw the second Community Talk event - #haveaword Netherley - take place at Valley Community Theatre. The #haveaword events aim to give communities the opportunity to engage with decision makers on issues around gun, gang and knife crime within their area. Valley Community Theatre opened their doors to their community for a pre-event workshop led by Laura Walsh that helped a group of young people develop questions and comments before the main
community forum began. The panel for the community forum included Valley Community Theatre's Director, Martin Ball and Paul Mitchel from Merseyside Police. There was a fab turnout from the young people of the Netherley area for the event - many of which had never been to Valley Community Theatre before.
The main areas discussed included - youth crime, provision for young people in the area, drugs and emotional well-being, stereotyping and life choices. The event got off to a fabulous start with Laura Walsh performing some of her own poetry that examined some of the key themes of the evening and from this young people in the audience began to raise some key issues and tackled our panel with some difficult questions.
One young man had a good debate with local councillor Janet Kent about the activities and provision for older young people in the Netherley area. Janet Kent explained how the council are currently making difficult decisions about what services to continue to fund and what services will have to see some cuts given the current economic climate.
Martin Ball offered the young man and his friends access to Valley Community Theatre's recording studio and Janet Kent explained that if the young people raised the funds for youth shelter for the area, that the council would okay it to be built. Other discussions of the evening included a woman from the local area addressing how younger and younger
children are now knowing about drugs and how this is going to impact on society, and the panellists and the audience also examined the valuable nature of arts provision for tackling social problems and argued that we need to maintain quality facilities in communities, not just in central locations.
Overall the forum was a success with many voices being heard, points being raised and new connections being forged. The event was organised by Toxteth TV's charitable arm - Splendid Things - and funded by the Home Office CAGGK fund. The #haveaword events are part of the Community Talks programme of work - http://www.communitytalks.co.uk
and #haveaword Toxteth is tonight between 5:30 and 8:00 at Toxteth TV,
Windsor Street, Liverpool, L8 1XE. You can find our more about this
second event here - http://www.communitytalks.co.uk/toxteth or follow the live discussion on Twitter - #haveaword.