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Ambitious programme to improve opportunities for black men

PICTURED: Hackney CVS Chief Executive Jake Ferguson at the YBM research symposium

THE INITIAL success of a ground-breaking programme to tackle inequalities for young Black men in Hackney, was unveiled at a public event this month and the initial results could be used to tackle inequalities in other areas across the Borough.

The Deputy Mayor of Hackney, Cllr Anntoinette Bramble has been leading a cross sector partnership in Hackney for the last two years to develop the ambitious programme to improve life chances for young Black men in the Borough.

The Improving Outcomes for Young Black Men (YBM) programme was set up in 2015 to look at how persistent inequalities for young Black men can be improved using a holistic approach and by doing things differently in partnership with young Black men themselves, placing them in leadership roles.

Deputy Mayor of Hackney, Cllr Anntoinette Bramble who is the Cabinet Member for the YBM Programme said: “Education, unemployment and health are still major areas of inequality for young Black men in Hackney, which is why when the Mayor asked me to lead on this two years ago we set out a bold vision with ambitious goals to achieve over the next 10 to 15 years. The learning from previous programmes shows that racial inequality is still a major factor that can have a major impact on the life chances for young Black men.

Audience at YBM research symposium Hackney House

“We are at a time now when enough is enough; we no longer accept the pay gap and gender disparities between men and women in employment, similarly we are now at a point in time to say that we no longer accept negative media portrayals of young Black men and the inequality they have faced for years.”

The YBM Programme is a joint initiative with Hackney Council for Voluntary Services (Hackney CVS), different sector organisations, community and voluntary sector groups and parents. An Inspirational Leaders group has also been set up where young Black men carry out inspirational workshops in youth, school and community places across the Borough.

Jake Ferguson, CEO of Hackney CVS said: “The Inspirational Leaders programme is about challenging negative stereotypes and portrayals in the media and showing positive role models in action to inspire other young Black men and boys across Hackney. The group play a key role within the partnership helping to develop and shape the programme so they are part of the decision making process. We need other young Black men to get involved and help make this change happen for everyone.”

Work has also taken place across the council’s integrated services for young people - Young Hackney – to ensure the service’s practices meet the objectives of the YBM programme and is now being rolled out across other departments within the council.

Head teachers from both primary and secondary schools are also involved, looking at how young Black boys can move on successfully from primary education and mitigate the risk of being excluded in secondary education.

Deputy Mayor Cllr Anntoinnette Bramble

Mayor Philip Glanville said: “Poorer outcomes for young black men in Hackney still exist; they are still more likely to be excluded from schools, still more likely to be unemployed and more likely to go to prison. This is a real area of inequality which we need to tackle and is one of my key priorities as Mayor.

"We want to see a closing of the education gap and we want to see more diversity at all levels within institutions across Hackney and beyond. Part of the programme’s work is also looking at how we place young Black men in leadership roles to bring about changes in institutions and systems.

“Now we need local businesses to get on board to help provide job opportunities and housing providers to think about how their services work with young Black men as tenants and customers.

“Using a holistic approach across different areas and making it everyone’s business - not just the priority for one community group – we can ensure that Hackney’s programme leads the way for others to learn from across the country.”

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