A group of young talented mini journalists in Manchester are attempting to get their voices heard in the ‘Raise Your Hand’ campaign.
The journalists involved are looking to ask Boris Johnson and the Government questions about a variety of issues, including the ongoing pandemic.
The campaign is all about giving children and young people the opportunity to influence how things will look for them post lockdown. They have felt ignored and silenced by the Government and their aim is to challenge the misconception that children lack the knowledge to be involved in politics.
They want to show how passionate they are about their education, climate change and other pressing social issues.
Those taking part have been inspired by fellow young people taking charge, especially activists like Greta Thunberg, someone who has proven just how influential a young person can be.
Sam, Aisya, and Jack are the mini reporters leading the campaign and have already virtually interviewed Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham. He listened to their queries and attempted to understand why now is such a crucial time to be taking into consideration the perspectives of young people. The group also had the opportunity to speak with the Child Commissioner of England.
‘Raise Your Hand’ was an idea born in Manchester, but it has gained national attention with children submitting their questions for Boris Johnson to answer from around the country.
They have over a hundred queries ready to send to Downing Street, with the hope that Boris will acknowledge them.
The group of youngsters have been offered the opportunity to take the place of supportive journalists who want to give the children a chance, but they were turned down by the regulators.
In countries like New Zealand and Norway, children have been afforded the opportunity to speak about their experiences during the pandemic and about what changes they want to see going forward.
The children leading the campaign are all part of the after school group Media Cubs. This Mancunian team is led by former journalist Kirsty Day, who is trying to fight for more diversity in the newsroom.
Speaking to The Manc, Kirsty expressed her happiness of this campaign being led by Manchester children.
“I am really chuffed that this campaign has started in Manchester – a city I am proud and passionate about – we are always the leaders of change,” she said.
“I am constantly blown away by the range of views and opinions our mini reporters have.”
Kirsty began Media Cubs after recognising the lack of after-school clubs which celebrated the views, creativity and individuality of her own children, whilst also acknowledging the prestige of those already working in the newsroom.
As it stands, 51% of journalists are privately educated.
Kirsty hopes that by working with children from all different demographics and backgrounds she can change the face of the newsroom.
Already the club has had an impact on some of the 7 – 11 year olds taking part. Even at this early stage in life, some have expressed aspirations to be the next news anchor, write comics or be in charge of filming interviews or significant events.
Aisya is one of these people who was inspired when she met BBC camera woman Emma Bentley at this year’s Women In Media Conference. Whilst running the campaign, Aisya has also started her own blog!
Even those that don’t fancy a career in the media have gained valuable skills by being part of the group. Kirsty believes that learning the skills of journalism can give children more confidence to speak their mind and have the belief that they can talk to anybody.
Kirsty hasn’t stopped there, however.
She is also at the helm of ‘‘Talking About My Generation’, where she works with a group of journalists aged over 50. Together, they write about topics they find pressing or fascinating in order to break age stereotypes and diversify the media at the other end of the scale.
Yellow Jigsaw is the social enterprise run by Kirsty and her team. They are all striving for systematic change within the media where more voices from a larger variety of lifestyles are heard and they hope that this change can start in Manchester.
Rio Ferdinand is helping change young lives with community programmes in Oldham and Salford
Ex-Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand and his foundation’s wonderful work is helping better the lives of young people in Oldham, Salford and across Manchester as a whole.
Over the past year, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and The Guinness Partnership have been putting together a vital social initiative aimed at providing opportunities and resources to young people across Greater Manchester, helping them develop their skills and aspirations for future working life.
Now, after a hugely successful 12-month campaign, their skills and progression community programme, participants are well and truly starting to feel the impact, with 90% of those taking part now stating that they are enjoying a clear idea and focus on what they want to do for a career.
It may have be thriving in Salford and Oldham at the moment, but given the benefit the scheme has already had — not to mention the ambition the Rio Ferdinand Foundation has shown around various areas of the UK since being set up in 2012 — we can only see this spreading further across the region.
The skills-based initiative engages young people aged under 25 years old and living in Guinness homes in a six-month skills-based programme which has been up and running in the two Manc boroughs, as well as the London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth, since March 2022.
Young people from both Oldham and Salford take part in a weekly schedule of activities designed to tackle youth unemployment, including digital media training (photography, product design, filmmaking, podcasting), building and construction, CV workshops, mock interviews and more.
Not only do these shadowing opportunities garner confidence and raise aspirations among other young people in the local community, but they also help directly develop their employability skills via mentoring.
For instance, Matthew, 19 from Royton in Oldham, completed the programme and then was supported to apply to the Guinness Aspire Awards to request funding to purchase camera and lighting equipment to help him start a small local photography business. Quality stuff.
Matt says that the scheme “has been an amazing opportunity and has given [him] a chance to get back on the right path… I know what I want to do now and can’t wait to start… I would recommend that other people in my position get involved with it in the future.”
As well as markedly increasing participants health and well-being, all 100% of those involved across Salford and Oldham reported feeling more confident, with many now enjoying opportunities with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s partners such as Warner Music, Kiss FM, The Jockey Club and the Gym Group.
Speaking on the programme’s success, Rio himself said in a statement: “The Foundation is committed to working with young people at the heart of their communities to offer support, training, and opportunities to those that need it… engaging with the Guinness Partnership has provided a great boost to our reach and our work”.
Well in, Rio. Thankfully, he isn’t the only ex-Manchester-based footballer still trying to make a difference in the local community either:
Campbell, 38, was found dead in his home in Mossley, Tameside, on Saturday 3 July. He had been fatally assaulted and died of the injuries he sustained in the attack.
Belfield was arrested on 23 March 2023 by Suriname authorities on suspicion of drug-related offences – he’ll likely remain in the South American nation’s jurisdiction to face these charges.
Then GMP want to bring him back to Manchester to face questioning from GMP’s Major Incident Team.
Detective Chief Inspector Liz Hopkinson from GMP’s Major Incident team said: “The news of Belfield’s arrest is an important development in our investigation, we will be working with international law enforcement agencies to bring Belfield back to Manchester and continue in our pursuit to find answers for Thomas’ family.
“Through vigilance shown by our colleagues in South America, Belfield was recognised by Suriname’s law enforcement upon his arrest and information regarding his whereabouts was shared with our Force Critical Wanted Unit.
“We have previously released numerous appeals to ask for help in finding him and we thank the public for their continued support in this case.
“This is an excellent result which shows once again, that UK law enforcement does not give up on finding those abroad who are wanted for offences in the UK.”