Back for its second year, the Brum Youth Trends Survey has returned and is hoping to be even bigger than before. Created and collated by the Beatfreeks Collective, the survey gathers views from Birmingham’s young people on life in the second city: with topics ranging from health and mental wellbeing, arts and culture, and personal identity, all the way through to the digital age, housing and transport, and employability skills, the survey is a national pioneer in throwing power into the hands of the younger generation.

The 2018 survey is currently live, with young people aged 14-25 eligible to have their voices heard until 16 April. With the aim to collect over 1500 responses, the purpose of the survey is to produce a research report that provides authentic insight into the collective wants and needs of the city’s young people. Once created, the report will be launched at a summit event, bringing together young people and policy-makers into one space to comment on and debate the results with each other, with the aim of driving policy changes and moulding the city into a better fit for its youth.

Young people aged 14-25 make up 40% of Birmingham’s population, leading to it gaining the moniker of ‘Europe’s youngest city’. However, the consensus amongst this group is that they feel they aren’t asked to give their opinions, and when they do, they aren’t listened to anyway. In addition, the policies that are implemented – be that social, political or educational – don’t necessarily reflect their wants and needs. Brum Youth Trends, a product of the Beatfreeks Collective, is handing the megaphone to the youth, believing that it’s about time almost half of the city’s population is heard.

Born from Beatfreeks, the spoken word poetry sensation that has paved the way for young people to express themselves through verse (often of a political nature), Brum Youth Trends is an extension of the Beatfreeks ‘philosofreek’, which stresses using creativity for good and crafting a new world whilst working to improve the one we have. The lack of young people currently being included in shaping policies and movements in the city was a major driving factor in the birth of Brum Youth Trends.

Anisa Haghdadi, founder and CEO of the Beatfreeks Collective, said:

“I’m proud to be from Birmingham and I believe wholeheartedly in the potential of its young people. Looking around, it’s clear to see that this city has changed over the last 5 years – but before any of these major decisions happen there are discussions, panels and talks, and very few young people are involved. We created Brum Youth Trends to challenge this, and give young people the power to make a difference.

“With our huge population of young people, it seems like an opportunity missed to not include them in the conversations that will shape and alter their futures far longer than those building policy. Last year’s report revealed that 38.5% of young people felt there weren’t enough opportunities in Birmingham for them. We want to change this.”

Last year’s survey revealed some striking, and divisive, statements from young individuals regarding Birmingham; from “Brum is underrated and unfairly judged” to “I’ll be leaving Birmingham as soon as possible.” Additionally, the results gave insight into common trends between young people today, such as 33% agree with the statement “I’m up all night on my phone”; 53% go to events “to socialise and for the experience,” 18% agree that “There’s nothing I’d change about Brum, we’re flying” and 39% think they give back to their community with ideas and time.

There are already a number of influential people backing Brum Youth Trends, from entrepreneur Jack Parsons and Mayor Andy Street, to comedian Sideman Allday and other ambassadors to Brum who understand the need to elevate the voices of the youth.

“The importance of enabling young people to fully succeed as they begin to enter and command the city’s workforce is paramount, as listening to, and implementing, the ways in which they want to shape their city, will keep their passion for Birmingham alive and kicking. The Brum Youth Trends 2018 Survey is expected to pave the way for change, with the voice of the collective youth elevated more than ever before. I can’t wait to see what the results are!” concluded Anisa.

To enter the Brum Youth Trends 2018 Survey, go to the survey will close on 16 April. The Brum Youth Trends Summit will be held on 10 October, where attendees will hear from key decision makers and from young leaders about how the report will influence the way they think work and interact with the city.

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