Young people are too often demonized and stereotyped as hoody wearing anti-social louts. While a few individuals live up to the stereotype, the vast majority are frustrated at being tarred with this brush. In my experience the young people in Sparkbrook are much more active in finding solutions to problems in their area than creating them. One example is the voluntary youth group TYGA, who gave up their time over the weekend to clean up a derelict area near the Highgate Road and bring back into public use. Myself and Cllr Ishtiaq joined them on a sunny but cold morning.
Two trucks of rubbish later, the place looked spotless and children were playing football on the cleared grass. This is not a one–off activity. The TYGA volunteers regularly clean-up eyesores. And at Christmas, Eid and Easter they help put together and deliver hampers to elderly residents. They have even raised money to go to Tanzania and build a football pitch for deprived kids there.
Leader of Birmingham City Council Mike Whitby often likes to repeat the mantra that Birmingham is global city with a local heart. These young people actually live up to it.
Photo: TYGA volunteers, Balsall Heath Warden Abdullah and Cllr Ishtiaq. Abdullah was in the press last week because David Cameron was around at his house for tea on Friday. He took the subsequent teasing, banter and being renamed ‘Dave’ in good humour!