'Feisty is not the word '-Youngsters set up forum to discuss key issues

Alice-Lily Nnene during the Norfolk Youth Summit online introductory session 

Alice-Lily Nnene during the Norfolk Youth Summit online introductory session - Credit: Submitted

A new event designed to help Norfolk’s young people to find their voices and engage in a project about important issues is connecting pupils across the region.

Alice-Lily Nnene and Dan Possener, Year 13 pupils at Norwich School, formed the Norfolk Youth Summit in response to current events.

Dan Possener and Alice Lily-Nnene who formed the Norfolk Youth Summit 

Dan Possener and Alice-Lily Nnene - Credit: Norwich School

They also had a desire to bring together pupils from different schools, and to offer a forum for young people to express their views, learn about youth activism and to bring about positive change. 

The summit focuses on three issues - equality, diversity and inclusion, the climate crisis and mental health and wellbeing.

Mr Possener said: "With the climate issue and the Extinction Rebellion protests, there has been lots and lots of interest from young people across our school and other schools in the county. There is a real appetite to discuss this.

Dan Possener during the Norfolk Youth Summit online introductory session 

Dan Possener during the Norfolk Youth Summit online introductory session - Credit: Submitted


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"We do not really learn about these issues in the classroom so it is something people have to access through social media and the news. As a movement, Extinction Rebellion does generally have a lot of affinity with young people."

The riders involved in Extinction Rebellion's ‘critical mass’ bicycle ride around Norwich. Marking t

Dan Possener believes Extinction Rebellion have helped to raise awareness of climate change issues - Credit: Archant

Miss Nnene said she is personally most interested in the issue of equality and diversity, having set up a subcommittee at the school for this last year. 

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She added: "There is a lot of passion amongst our generation on these issues. Feisty is not the word, but we are natural activists. It tends to be the younger generation who create the momentum and have found these issues are real." 

Both of the 18-year-olds are involved in youth activism through the Norfolk Human Rights and Equalities Commission and Norwich School’s equality and diversity committee.

"The death of George Floyd was big for garnering momentum," Mr Possener said. "People want to have a forum to discuss these things." 

How is the Norfolk Youth Summit shaping up?

Pupils in Year 10 and Year 12 from Norwich School, Aylsham High School, Wymondham College, Flegg Academy, Ormiston Victory Academy, Langley School, Gresham's School and Norwich High School for Girls have signed up to the summit so far. 

It kicked off in the last week of term with a collective poem written to address young people's views on equality, diversity and inclusion led by author and Norwich School head of creative writing, Eleanor Wasserberg.

Working in small discussion groups, the pupils were tasked with contributing lines to a poem that would act as a statement for Norfolk's Youth.

And the writing has been turned into a collective poem, which is a powerful statement of how pupils view their identity. 

A collaborative poem from members of the Norfolk Youth Summit after the session of equality, diversion and inclusion 

A collaborative poem from members of the Norfolk Youth Summit after the session of equality, diversion and inclusion - Credit: Submitted

The next two discussion sessions are set to take place in the summer term, led by Dr Simon Butler, senior lecturer in biology and ecology at the University of East Anglia and consultant clinical psychologist Nic Yeates.

Registrations for the next summit event on the climate crisis, which takes place on Tuesday, April 27 from 4-5pm are still open for any schools wishing to take part.

For more information, contact partnerships@norwich-school.org.uk

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