Newham Council plan to use social media to get youth off streets

Newham Council plan to launch an online social media campaign to get disaffected youth off the streets.

A report entitled “Engaging the Disengaged” by the Children and Young People Scrutiny Commission, chaired by Cllr Freda Bourne, was set up to address concerns such as gang activity, support to young victims of crime, employment and training opportunities, absence rates, substance misuse, and the availability of activities and community events.

Presented to the council on July 2 at Newham Town Hall, the Commission said the council “provide a wide but different range of options for young people to participate in” but it was “concerned about the inadequate advertising of these offers for young people.”

Recommendations in the report included an online youth forum on an upcoming Youth Offer section of the Newham Council website while Communications and ICT may commission a web app for Apple and Android smartphones.

Social media is another medium the council may develop to reach disaffected youth, utilising Facebook, Twitter, and Blackberry Messenger - apparently the most popular form of instant messaging in Newham - as well as listings in the fortnightly Newham Mag to advertise council-funded and non-council funded youth programmes.

Youth Offer, at the web address, is due to appear on a revised, re-launched Newham Council website in March and research will be carried out into how young people interact with the council’s presence online.

The communications team have also drafted a social media strategy and are currently trialling Facebook and Twitter.