Second Big Conversation gets underway


Twenty new members of the Sussex Youth Commission (SYC) recently held a workshop in Brighton, the aim of which was to develop their consultation and interviewing skills in preparation for 2015’s Big Conversation.

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, has challenged the new cohort to exceed last year’s 2000 conversations with young people across the county about their ideas and concerns on policing and crime.

Mrs Bourne said: “The new group were joined by members from the 2014 Youth Commission. Despite their own work and study commitments, Nadine, Connor, Chiz, Tanya and Doug are still giving up their time to mentor the new team. They provide a valuable link with the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) which is working with a dedicated team of Sussex Police officers on implementing last year’s recommendations. I’m delighted that they still have an appetite to make a difference, and it very rewarding to see them helping the new group widen the Big Conversation over the coming months.”

During the workshop experienced facilitators from the SHM Foundation demonstrated key interviewing skills and tips. For example, how to be more aware of positive body language; respecting personal space and why an open question can result in a more engaging and interesting answer. They also showed members how to use visual prompts such as the Youth Commission feedback card to encourage their peers to talk about their own experiences and thoughts about cyber bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, hate crime and perceptions of the police.

Members also developed imaginative presentation proposals that they might use in the Big Conversation. These included interactive sessions to help young people understand the harmfulness of drugs and so called legal highs and developing a package of advice and help in order to prevent young offenders from re-offending. One of the more imaginative suggestions from the group looking at youth perceptions of the police was designing role-play sessions where police officers would effectively swap places with the youths they were questioning.

Commenting on the workshop, Rose Dowling, Director of Learning and Citizenship, the SHM Foundation said: “The Youth Commission members set themselves clear targets for this year’s Big Conversation, which will unlock new insights from some really important hard to reach groups, such as those in Young Offenders’ Institutions and Pupil Referral Units. We are excited to see what they uncover through these critical conversations.”

Subscribe to our newsletter
Keep up to date with our latest news and information