Kebba Ansumana Manneh, Director of Our Roots in the Community, tells us why this project is so important to young people in Wakefield – and why young people are central to the development of the organisation.

“The idea for this project came from the young people themselves, who told us that it was important for them to have the opportunity to work together with other young people from migrant backgrounds – ‘people like them’. Having the support of their peers allows them to develop skills and gain the confidence to navigate their way to other groups and to access other opportunities in the area.

Almost two thirds (66.3%) of Wakefield residents voted to leave the EU and over the last couple of years, there has been a significant increase in racially motivated hate crime. This project aims to help break down a ‘them and us’ mentality and create spaces for more positive dialogues.

The young people are at the heart of this project and this is incredibly important as they are the future of the organisation. They are enthusiastic and keen to try new things and develop new skills. A core group of young people are already actively involved in designing and co-producing the project and have volunteered to become peer mentors and are helping to develop the training programme. In time, three will become young directors of the organisation.

Young people from migrant backgrounds often do not have the social capital to access opportunities that would allow them to build the kind of CVs that lead to better career opportunities. This project supports children and young people from those communities to build that social capital.”

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