I wrote about my concerns regarding MyVoice in Croydon, which is not being adequately advertised to the youth, resulting in poor take up, in my previous post . The Croydon MyVoice youth have been dis-empowered by Croydon Council who have denied them the right to set up an official twitter and facebook account, like so many other local authorities have done, to empower their youth and to promote their library service.
My Voice should be promoted to the youth in Croydon, not just because Croydon receives funding to deliver it but because it is such a brilliant scheme. MyVoice is a Reading Agency project aimed at 11 - 19 year olds. It offers youth new skills and experiences, helps to build confidence, improves communication skills, teaches how to manage a project, allows youth to offer up their own thoughts and ideas, to negotiate, to make decisions, manage a budget and so much more. It is aimed at getting youth into libraries and empowering them to lead and take decisions. That is, where it works well, but not in Croydon.
I thought it was bad enough that Croydon were putting barriers in the way of advertising MyVoice and that they would not promote the work of Teens4Libraries, who are youth involved in the project, trying to advertise what is going on, but being ignored by the council twitter accounts....BUT IT GETS WORSE...
An invitation to the first planning meeting is detailed here by the youth involved and another post gives further details of what was discussed by the few who attended and forward plans. Croydon Radio Arts Programme host, Janet Smith, picked up on it too, as a result of Teens4Libraries, and read from their blog, discussing it with author Diane Messidoro. You can read the post here, which includes an audioboo of the programme.
The Council will not promote this blog, or retweet their tweets or information, promoting Croydon libraries. Instead the council accounts @yourcroydon and most ironic of all @CROYdemocracy tweet misleading information, and all the while knowing that work has gone on, behind the scenes, again without the input of youth involved in the project. After meeting on 7th August the following has silently appeared...
|Yes folks...it really does say funky!|
I'd also like to see how they explain away the twitter account set up without any input from the youth. And yes, you guessed it. It is also called @CroydonWordFest, even before the grown ups have convinced the youth they chose it!
And it will be a laugh to see how the grown ups convince the youth involved that they had some hand in setting up the Eventbrite booking system, already advertised without their knowledge, on facebook .
So we have a Facebook page and a Twitter account set up, not only without youth involvement but without even informing the youth involved and those naughty grown ups have also started to take bookings. To add insult to injury the grown ups have use cringe-worthy terms like funky. It seems the programme is now advertised too so what real input can the youth have?
And who or what is Journeys, I hear you ask, as I did.
Well they made their debut appearance on Twitter as @CroydonJourneys on 23rd August, just a day after the silent placing of Croydon Word Fest on Facebook and on Twitter. This twitter account seems to be a replacement for @JourneysCroydon which last tweeted in May, but the new account has a lovely added twist...check out the bio for the account.
|Loving the grocer's apostrophe Croydon!|
And if you follow the link you'll find that this links to the Croydon Young People's Services website; a council run site for the benefit of Croydon youth, which failed to advertise the first planning meeting on the7th, which realised only 4 youth, but posted quickly after to advertise the meeting this Saturday, 8th September
The team behind it including the Head of Croydon Youth Services who, you'll see if you read my last post, claimed to still be trying to track down information on the MyVoice project in Croydon Libraries after I raised it in a public meeting on 19th July, some SEVEN weeks ago. It really beggars belief.
But there is more...
The @CroydonJourneys account has not tweeted about the MyVoice Word Fest event advertised on their site but some of their posts have been retweeted by @CROYdemocracy and @yourcroydon council accounts so all are aware of each other yet still ignoring the youth. Nice!
But at least the council is being a little more proactive about advertising the event, unfortunately though, with little clue how to do this. Just how many 11 - 19 year olds would think to look on the Do It volunteering site (with credit given to Volunteer Centre Croydon)?
And, no, it really is an afternoon event from 2.30pm, unless there is something else the grown ups aren't telling the youth involved!
So, where from here?
We owe it to our youth to promote this event, to get them involved. Spread the news and help to empower youth as this project intended, despite the grown ups within Croydon Council who apparently have no faith in the capabilities and potential of our youth and no clue how to promote things on social media. The funding is provided so make use of it. It is a brilliant project and the library staff are keen to make it a success, as are the youth involved.
- Spread the word
- Follow Teens4Libraries blog and twitter accounts (and @SaveCroydonLibs if you wish, who try to promote anything to do with Croydon libraries)
- Get your 11 to 19 year olds involved
We owe it to our youth not to give up and accept this shambles.
And don't forget the events will be funky, so well worth the effort..... White fringed ankle-length cowboy boots, disco moves and 100% synthetic fibre jumpsuits optional..... We'll leave that for the grown ups, shall we?