Changing the public perception of teenagers

HOODIES, thugs, knife-carriers – the public image of young people seems to be at an all-time low, but youngsters from Barking and Dagenham are looking to transform this. A group of 68 young people aged 11-20 took part in Switch ID on Saturday, where they

HOODIES, thugs, knife-carriers - the public image of young people seems to be at an all-time low, but youngsters from Barking and Dagenham are looking to transform this.

A group of 68 young people aged 11-20 took part in Switch ID on Saturday, where they acted as a litter-pickers and went door-to-door around Bennetts Castle Lane, Dagenham, to speak to residents about their opinions of young people.

The event, which was organised by charity LifeLine, involved small groups dressed in high visibility jackets, led by a youth worker, picking up litter from the pavement and front gardens, while getting residents to answer a questionnaire.

Alex Blyth, 17, said: "The youths doing negative things seem to get 100 per cent of the limelight. I want to see this change - I don't want to be perceived as a problem."


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Switch ID was endorsed by Hazel Blears, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

She said: "We need more projects such as this to show what young people can do and achieve. This will be a great opportunity for young people from east London and I hope many join this great event."

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Nathan Singleton, director of young people and families at LifeLine, said: "This event shows that young people are very keen to change how they are viewed by the community. There will always be bad young people, but hopefully with more events like this, they will be seen as the minority and not the majority.

"Our next step is to evaluate the questionnaires and think about what we can do to meet the needs of the people we spoke to.

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