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Hope Exists | Parker Words at Lancashire Hope Hack 2023

Hope Exists

A buzz of uncertainty fills the air,
From adults and young people alike.
A combination of giddiness and apprehension,
As adrenaline levels are about to spike.

Motivations differ for all,
Today is about experience and change,
Within the space emotions range;
Excitement about ping pong and pool,
Or free food and a day off school.

Leading into the session,
The room was packed –
The agenda stacked –
As the future of Lancashire assembled,
And Hope was about to get hacked.

The tone was set,
About you guys being the experts,
Based on your experience.
To be brave and share exerts,
Of a life lived in Lancashire.

John and Yahe opened the space,
Ashley chipped in and spoke of his race,
Towards success.
And how it was filled with challenges,
Until he found his place.
His aspiration grew,
By being prompted to see,
Beyond the environment he currently knew.
A very clear message:
We should place no limit on ourselves,
Regardless of our background.

Messages of Hope blossomed around the building,
As it was time to hear your voice.
Each group taking a topic to discuss frustrations,
And often a lack of choice.
But the infectious chatter of solutions,
Was definitely something to rejoice.

A lot of what was said came down to a cultural shift,
Instead of keeping us held down,
It was time to give each other a lift.
Reduce such regimented authority,
And see individuality and expression as a gift.
And, look, there’s some complexities,
Through which we need to sift,
But how about we start by seeing one another as humans.

Questions about whether systems,
Allow for care and compassion.
Or is it just about how much,
Of the academic curriculum we can fathom.
Where is creativity, music, art, even fashion?
We’ve all got our own lives, needs, wants and passion.

One thing is for certain though,
When it comes down to school,
There’s got to be a place for learning about,
Finances, Mortgages and Taxes.
Because when turning 18 – we want independence,
Instead of we feel like a fool.

Its undeniable,
That there is often tension with the Police.
But maybe instead of constant crisis moments,
They sometimes had a release.
To spend time outside of policing matters,
And maybe positive relationships will increase.
But, it’s a balance between a presence and intimidation,
So maybe neutral spaces are key for this mediation.
And then there’s knife crime,
Media hype that carrying a blade is the new normality.
Is this just an urban myth, or this generation’s reality?
Kids bleeding out in 5 minutes – is that enough clarity?
No punishment, no alternatives,
No street lights, no conversation.
And they wonder why kids walk,
Around their communities with reservation.

Whether out on the streets,
Or social media on our phones.
The narrative feels so negative,
Older people having a whinge and a moan.
We go on social media for the buzz,
But we’re starting to realise,
That its far more negative to us.
Addictive, toxic, fake.
Losing confidence, self-esteem about to break.
We want to see more people like us,
Being shown on the news.
More positive stories and celebrations,
To change society’s views.

But this doom and gloom affects our mental health,
Sometimes its really obvious,
Sometimes its by stealth.
Teacher’s stressing,
Ofsted interfering and messing,
No time for my problems,
Told to put them back on the shelf.

Constantly comparing to others,
They’ve had it much worse.
What have I got to complain about?
I need to break this generational curse.
If I keep bottling it up,
It won’t be long before I burst.

We need good listeners and safe spaces,
Not necessarily always a solution.
A sense of belonging and connection seems simple,
But its at the heart of our revolution.

Lunch came and went and back to work you flew,
To build a vision for your Aya Dias,
2b.Frank about your solutions,
Informed by wisdom beyond your years.
And it was clear, that there was tenacity,
And a huge capacity, for bringing about change.

Like improving transport links,
In towns and villages outside the city.
Because when you’re isolated,
Like can feel pretty sh…
Ok, I’ll rephrase – you feel really down.
I mean, how is it I can navigate,
Somewhere like London in a heartbeat,
Yet I struggle getting to the other side of my own town?

Youth-led campaigns, young people-led radion,
Creating a positive ‘Media Buzz’,
Or youth days in schools,
With speakers and conversations,
About those difficult topics chosen by us.

Research projects, about resources required,
Learning new skills and experiences,
To compliment the ones we’ve already acquired.
Stripping away power,
Removing uniforms at youth clubs,
Even if its just for an hour.
Where young people can connect,
With the police and professionals,
So that relationships can be built,
And bloom into beautiful flowers.

Talk of money and opportunity,
Recognising this is not a level playing field,
Or increasing access to anonymous knife bins,
To reduce the number of blades young people can yield.

Mental Health becoming a priority in our schools,
Promoting empathy, expression, excitement,
Let’s drop the Draconian rules.
Teach us real life skills and knowledge,
That we can add to our box of tools.

The presentations were incredible,
A mixture of voices and suggestions,
We had speeches, rap, drama and song,
Pushing your artistic dimensions,
And offering practical solutions,
To some very challenging questions.
And – as for the shout outs,
There’s far too many to mention!

But I will remember this day…
As I saw ambition shared without fear.
A collective of young people,
With a united message, so clear,
That Hope exists…
And together, towards it we can steer.

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