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When the rioting is over, what practical things can we do to make a difference?

(83 Posts)
CinnabarRed Wed 10-Aug-11 08:04:36

I'm white, middle class and live very comfortably in the home counties. I work in a well paid job in the city, I went to university. I have had every opportunity life has to offer, and I have been incredibly lucky.

I have no idea what it's like to be a young black man growing up in Tottenham, or Peckham, or any of the places affected by the riots. I have no idea how it feels to grow up with no prospects, or role models, or viable alternatives.

I pay my taxes, but it doesn't feel enough. It isn't enough.

What, who and where can I/should I help? Volunteer? Support? Is it best to give of my expertise or to mentor or to help at schools? Financial assistance? Get my city firm involved in a project somewhere?

chicaguapa Wed 10-Aug-11 08:31:19

I can't offer any advice but will watch this thread with interest. I've been playing devil's advocate a lot in the past few days and asking people to consider WHY these people are behaving in such a senseless way. It's all well and good laughing at them for being thick and having an IQ of a ham sandwich, but that's not going to change anything.

woollyideas Wed 10-Aug-11 08:38:24

Me, too. Watching with interest. OP, you might like to contact Kids Company for advice on how help can be targetted. You may have seen their founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh on television in the past...
www.kidsco.org.uk/

Before anyone starts... I do not condone or excuse the action of the rioters in any way, but do think we have a problem with disaffected youth.

JaneBennet Wed 10-Aug-11 08:41:04

I think it's an excellent question and that there is so much more to be done other than the 'be kind to your neighbours' and 'get to know your community' phrases being bandied about (although those things are very worthwhile and important things to do in their own right).

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Wed 10-Aug-11 08:43:13

Getting your firm involved in funding community projects is one of the most useful things that you could do. There are experiences mentors, youth workers, projects with measurable, significant impact and people who know exactly what it feels like, and they are all hugely starved of cash.
Many have lost funding recently.

Nancy66 Wed 10-Aug-11 08:46:29

There are mentoring programmes you can get involved with - although, really, what these young lads need are positive male role models - so worth seeing if your partners can get involved too

twinklypearls Wed 10-Aug-11 08:46:37

I think we all need to be asking ourselves these questions. It is also good to see some sense amongst all the rather short sighted, reactionary , sterilise and shoot them threads .

HoneyPablo Wed 10-Aug-11 08:47:08

woollyideas I agree. I don't condone the violence or looting in any way, but we have a very big problem with disaffected youth. The forgotten generation are making their voices heard. We, as a society, have created this situation.
this BBC article is very good.
"Mr Lightman blames a toxic mixture of dysfunctional parenting and a consumer and celebrity culture which tells youngsters they should have whatever they want"
This needs addressing. Young people need to feel included in society, although they won't have done their cause any good. They need direction, purpose and something to aim for. Cameron et al has a very hard job on his hands.

Whatmeworry Wed 10-Aug-11 08:48:16

Quite a good Guardian article:

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/09/uk-riots-psychology-of-looting

GentleOtter Wed 10-Aug-11 08:48:42

Excellent advice from article written by rosamicula

"If you think you are an idealist, get off twitter, put down your placard, stop gazing at your navel to examine your privilege. Put your money and time where your mouth is.

Go and volunteer in a primary school and sit with those who are struggling to read, go and become a school governor, go and do a bit of training to become an adult advocate so that when one of these kids goes through the judicial system and their parents can't or won't participate in the process, you can be called on to speak to and for them.

If you can't do any of those things, work an extra shift or do some baby-sitting to free up a colleague or friend who can.
Unlike gesture politics, these acts will make a difference."

HarrietJones Wed 10-Aug-11 08:54:05

Become a foster carer . If there was really so many 8/9/10 year olds out there is going to be some child protection work going on.

singforsupper Wed 10-Aug-11 09:13:51

Home-start national organisation that has massive impact on families in need and are about to tip over the edge. They offer a 12 week volunteer course. They don't allow anyone to work for them without doing the course, they are that good.

You will be offering 3 hours per week (no more no less) to a family with young children, in need. Your work with them is a contract that they agree to, and you do too. Nothing is forced. These families are referred by social services, gps, and often self-refer if they want to. It is hugely rewarding work, and offers another view to those who have normalised a cr*p situation.

They work in close contact with social services to ensure correct procedure is always carried out. The work is demanding emotionally but everyone has a co-ordinator to debrief with.

They struggle for funding (even through the Labour years of plenty) and so will happily take donations, although volunteers are more important to them.

www.home-start.org.uk/support_tools/get_involved/volunteer

Pootles2010 Wed 10-Aug-11 09:16:54

Just about to say Homestart! They are really struggling at the moment, and do such good work.

Also I think volunteering to help any groups for teenagers is great - scouts, or a local skate park, or a sports group for young people.

sausagesandmarmelade Wed 10-Aug-11 09:18:48

It's not about colour....

There are plenty of law abiding black people who live in areas affected by the riots.

It's about lawlessness!

What we can do is to impose stronger penalties...and not let these thugs/scum whatever destroy their own communities.

Their behaviour should not be condoned....what are the parents doing? are they disciplining these kids? where are the thousands of looted goods being carted off to? Perhaps make parents more responsibible for the behaviour of their kids...........britain needs to get tougher on criminals...not reward them!

Pootles2010 Wed 10-Aug-11 09:20:41

I think the OP was asking what we as individuals can do. The best long term solution is to help the families in the first place, which is what others have been discussing.

sprogger Wed 10-Aug-11 09:22:17

One of our local youth workers here in SE London has requested that people volunteer for child/teen mentoring programmes.

Pootles2010 Wed 10-Aug-11 09:24:48

If only all those spouting about hanging/bringing in the army would actually commit to helping their community long term!

All too easy to get het up about protecting your community for one night, then forget all about it a week later.

ballstoit Wed 10-Aug-11 09:27:18

Would recommend Sue Palmer's 'Toxic Childhood' as a read for getting ideas... tbh I think that politicians have little clue about the reality of life for many children and teenagers. If they did I think that the cuts wouldnt have been made that have been.

sausagesandmarmalade...what penalties would you impose? Prison is not frightening for those with no prospects. A quick cost/benefit analysis shows that the chance of making some money and sticking 2 fingers up to those, such as yourself, who look down your noses at these 'scum', is still worth a prison sentence. That's not my opinion, but I can have some empathy with those who do think that way.

sausagesandmarmelade Wed 10-Aug-11 09:27:22

I'm sick of hearing that it's a lack of youth centres, mentoring etc that cause these problems.

What a load of cobblers.

There are plenty of people from deprived backgrounds who do exceptionally well against all the odds.

sausagesandmarmelade Wed 10-Aug-11 09:29:29

balls do you also have empathy for those who have now lost their livelihoods and their homes because of the mindless violence that has gone on?

singforsupper Wed 10-Aug-11 09:30:36

In addition, the Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities Programme is a high impact organisation, training volunteers to run parenting training.

All volunteers have to do the course themselves as a parent, or as a worker even if they haven't got children, so they know what they are doing when they start. Then they get the full training.

When I did the course there were police officers, child protection workers and allsorts doing the course. This training works by re-bonding parents with their children, ensuring that a close bond is connected before going into a reward programme. It aims to end the cycle of abuse that many of the parents have been through and helps parents to examine their parenting. Then it works on parents to encourage children to make contact with extended families or elders in their community. Finally it works parents are shown a list of community groups that they can get help from or connect with.

This programme was started in Chicago by the late Dr Marilyn Steele, it was hugely successful in reducing crime and is rolling out here. It doesn't matter whether you are white and middle class because it works on the premise that all children need a strong family and a strong community.

www.raceequalityfoundation.org.uk/our-work/strengthening-families-strengthening-communities

sausagesandmarmelade Wed 10-Aug-11 09:34:52

I have to add that there is a LOT of help and support in deprived areas for the young people that live there.

I'm pretty sure that a lot of people joining the riots came from privileged backgrounds...

But either way, there is no excuse for what has happened....and my sympathies lie with all the innocent people whose lives have been destroyed as a result.

sprogger Wed 10-Aug-11 09:37:52

That's a great link, singforsupper. Thanks.

twinklypearls Wed 10-Aug-11 09:38:17

A lot of that help is being cut.

wonkylegs Wed 10-Aug-11 09:39:05

I have been volunteering for industry mentor programmes in the NE for many years but Unfortunately many of the programmes have had funding withdrawn, problems with the CRB checks (I think it's more over zealous implementation of procedures) and actually our industry is struggling to stay afloat so sending key staff off to mentor for a few afternoons is make or break in terms of resources sad

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