Young researchers come together in Liverpool to learn how to make change and end violence
- The Peer Action Collective (PAC) is a ground-breaking network led by 120 peer researchers and 1,500 Changemakers, who have reached over 4,500 other young people through their research.
- Young researchers have come together at an event held in Liverpool to share what they’ve learned so far about violence – and about what needs to change to make their communities fairer places.
- A full report will be launched in March 2023.
Today, Peer Action Collective (PAC) members from all over the country are coming together in Liverpool, to share research about young people’s experiences of violence – and what they’re doing to make their communities safer, fairer places.
Through a ground-breaking new youth-led network, which is funded by the Youth Endowment Fund, the #iwill Fund (a joint investment between The National Lottery Community Fund and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and Co-op, over 120 peer researchers have listened to young people, recording their experiences of violence. They’re coming together to share what they’ve learned so far.
But that PAC aren’t just here to understand the problem – they’re here to make change. Together, they’ve been using their research to lead social action in their communities. They’ve been working with the local Police and Crime Commissioners, schools and local authorities to bring about the change. From working to improve police-youth relations, setting up a youth centre or campaigning for changes in the education system – the PAC has been creating opportunities for young people to make their community a safer, fairer place.
They’ll be joined by adults who have the power to help them, by listening to them and acting on what they’ve got to say. Today’s a day to celebrate everything the young people have achieved and make sure that young people are supported to create safer, fairer communities.
“Being a PAC peer researcher was an incredibly rewarding experience that allowed me to pursue my interest in research and passion to tackle social inequalities. As I was interviewing young people, one thing that stuck with me was their concern of not having the chance to express how they feel about topics like youth violence. Not having someone to listen to their worries and concerns, it exposed the reality of some young people not being able to have a voice.“
Victor Agbontean, a Peer Researcher from Birmingham, said: “Being a PAC peer researcher was an incredibly rewarding experience that allowed me to pursue my interest in research and passion to tackle social inequalities. As I was interviewing young people, one thing that stuck with me was their concern of not having the chance to express how they feel about topics like youth violence. Not having someone to listen to their worries and concerns, it exposed the reality of some young people not being able to have a voice.
I look forward to meeting other likeminded people at the conference and celebrate the achievements of the young people that spent the last year working on this project. I hope to learn from the other peer researchers from all over the country, to not just be a better researcher but also a better representative for young people.”
Peter Babudu, Director of Impact at the Youth Endowment Fund said: “The Youth Endowment Fund is here to find out what works to keep children safe from violence. We know that, without the voices of young people, we won’t be able to do that.
PAC has given a platform to young people across the country who want to see change in their community. We’re delighted that more than 5,000 young people have taken part in PAC and that young people have made change happen in their community, from working with young offenders in Yorkshire and Norwich, to powerful campaigning activity from London, to Middlesbrough, to influencing violence reduction strategies in Merseyside and Wales”
Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community and Shared Value at the Co-op said: “All too often, young people’s voices aren’t heard, and this has to change. But change won’t happen if young people aren’t at the heart of it.
That’s why Co-op is hugely proud of the achievements of PAC, empowering young people to not only embrace an innovative way of researching, but giving them the chance to take the lead, shaping the solutions they want to see to create a safer, fairer world for not only themselves, but for future generations.
“Thank you to our members who enable this work through shopping with Co-op.”
Phil Chamberlain, England Director of Strategy, Partnerships and Engagement at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “The work of the #iwill Fund has had an incredible impact on young people, supporting them to speak up and have their voices heard about the things that matter most to them.
By placing young people at the forefront of this initiative we are providing them with a platform to share their experiences to help inspire positive, lasting change in their communities. The National Lottery Community Fund is committed to youth voice and the Peer Action Collective is enabling us to build on our ongoing work with young people to further understand and inform how to best support them now and in the future.”
To find out more about Co-op’s work with young people, please visit their website.