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All I want for 2014 is…


A NEW year means fresh beginnings and hopefully good things to come. It is time for reflection and hope of what the next 12 months may bring. Voice reporter Mary Isokariari asked some key community players what is on their wish lists for 2014.

Joy Francis, founder of the social enterprise Words of Colour

My wish list would be more national and global digital platforms to showcase the writing talents of Black British writers, as well as more government support for black creatives, financial investment in black small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and more guidance and professional support to set up black-run and inclusive social businesses.

We are keeping this economy afloat in the absence of much-needed enterprise/business support and funding, which is just ridiculous. I’d also like to see more TV and radio programming that reflects the modern experiences of Black British people beyond the drug dealing persona that is still being commissioned. It would be nice to watch something British made that resonates rather than irritates.

Matilda MacAttram, director at Black Mental Health UK

Black Mental Health UK would like to see our campaign against black deaths in custody get a higher profile in government the back of Charles Walker’s historic parliamentary debate supporting our work in this issue in 2013. Also, after my visit to the UN in Geneva this year where I put the issue of the treatment of black people who are detained under the Mental Health Act on the international human rights agenda, I would like to see the use of ‘prone restraint’ against vulnerable mental health patients outlawed, because it is a human rights violation.

Patrick Vernon, founder of Every Generation Media

My wish for 2014 is for our community to develop a clear political, social, health and economic agenda building on the spirit of the Windrush Generation to develop our resilience and vision for a better future for the next generation. My second wish is how we can do more work to provide support and care to our elders who are experiencing increasing health issues like dementia and stroke, which is still not being taken seriously by the government and the NHS.

INSPIRE YOUTH: David Michael

David Michael, former Met police officer/community cohesion advisor

My wish is to see the continued progress in police community relations and improve community safety. Generally I would like to see students continue to excel and achieve, irrespective of the current financial and political climate. I want to encourage young people and children to not fulfill the prophecy that other people have in mind for them and prove them wrong.

Michael Bukola, Southwark councillor and Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PCC) for Lewisham Deptford

I hope 2014 finally recognises the contribution the Liberal Democrats are doing to make a ‘stronger economy in a fairer society’, and the year will continue to show an economy, which is recovering; unemployment, which continues to fall; and a government, which continues to reward hardworking families.

Leanne Higgins, founder of Deal with D.V

In 2014, I want more service provisions and support for young people who are victims of teen abuse and/or violence. I would also like there to be more work done on teaching young people the difference between unhealthy and healthy relationship. I also want Deal with D.V to be everywhere.

SAVING MORE LIVES: Orin Lewis and Beverley De Gale

Orin Lewis and Beverley De Gale, co-founders of the African Cancer Leukaemia Trust (ACLT)

The ACLT is making a massive impact. In 2013, we registered 4,777 people to the UK bone marrow, blood and organ donor registers. However, we know that next year will present new challenges. ACLT needs to reach out further, wider and faster to achieve this goal. We therefore call on our supporters, Voice readers and beyond to introduce the ACLT to new supporters within their wider professional and social circle of family, friends and co-workers, and ask them to provide practical and financial support to this small yet vital charity, so that we can continue to save lives and give hope.

Vernal Scott, gay activist and author

I would like to see the adoption of a plan to tackle homophobia and anti-gay violence in Jamaica and other Commonwealth nations. Right now there are homeless gay teenagers living in fear in Kingston sewers, and this should be unacceptable in a modern, forward-thinking Jamaica.

Gianni O’Connor, founder of social network website Micsu

The team at Micsu is really hoping to move into the live concerts market across Europe and Africa, more specifically creating a world stage for emerging artists.

Aaron Sonson, founder of the Stop & Search App

In terms of the app, by the end of next year I want it to be used enough to truly raise the accountability of officers carrying out ‘stop and search’. We made some big strides this year and we want 2014 to be even more progressive.

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