Uzma Bibi; Shanti Wilson; Ayesha Rehman; Sadia Akram; Lorraine Blake; Yassin Usuf – were honoured as named workers as part of the Burngreave Streetworx project. It is unusual to have such a ‘young’ project honoured at the New Year honours but given what has happened in Burngreave with Jonathan Matondo’s tragic shooting, and the aftermath – it felt right that these named workers from Streetworx were duly recognised.
The Streetworx project was set up two years ago by Sheffield Futures as part of New Deal’s priority to have a lively and committed detached team of young youth workers in the area – to try and ensure that young people’s views and contribution became part of the regeneration of this community. It took some time to negotiate the sorting out of the funding, and the sorting out of the paperwork. After Zain was appointed, it took further time to bring in the other staff. But now they have been recruited, there is real feeling that Streetworx is having a huge impact.
The Streetworx staff have been crucial in getting the Youth Council off the ground and supporting its activities. The Area Panel saw and felt the benefits of the Youth Council in the meeting last May at the Furnival project – during the discussion about the future of the Pavilion at Osgathorpe Park. But it was following the shooting of Jonathan that they have risen to the challenge of meeting a wide group of young people in the area – on and off the streets; during the day and into the evening – talking and making sure that these views, worries and arguments are taken back and addressed by the agencies in the area. This is not always easy; and frequently means that they find themselves in awkward and difficult positions – talking to educationalists and school staff and managers through the Council, the Police and others. And then at the beginning of the December, these staff – along with the Youth Council members and their colleagues in Futures – helped put on the Burngreave youth conference which started to look at the wider problems of young people’s lives in areas like Burngreave, the choices that are open, the need for hope and the need to maintain contact with the youth in the area – whether in gangs or in groups, in cafes or in clubs, in schools and colleges or in the community. The recruitment of six young people ‘on the edge’ as part of the HOPE project carries this work into 2008.
As the nominator for them says:
They are a committed group of young local workers representative in many ways of the community in which they work. More than anything lese, they are the hope that we have for a future generation of outstanding youth workers.
Uzma; Shanti; Ayesha; Sadia; Lorraine and Yassin – many thanks!