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Jean and David talk to Ricardo and Lisa of Peer Power

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The Interview Video

Representatives of the Peer Power organisation contacted Forest Radio a few days ago telling us that Ricardo, one of their "partners", which is the term they use both for their paid employees and what we might call their service users or clients, had been invited to a reception at the House of Lords where he had delivered a powerful speech about the way the organisation is working to empower young people to represent their own views and influence change in many areas of their lives. After a few little hiccups we managed to arrange to meet Ricardo and Senior Youth Engagement Worker Lisa at their Vauxhall ofices, where we made the short film above. We need to apologise for the occasional bursts of noise on the recording; the allocated room was on an upper floor overlooking a railway line and a road and had a window which we were unable to close.

Unfortunately no sound or video recording was made of Ricardo's address to the Noble Lords, but he explains here how he tried to summarise the work done by the organisation and its somewhat unusual emphasis on values and personal qualities rather than issues and campaigns. In fact if you approach what Peer Power has to say about itself by applying conventional categories like "Youth Club", "Counselling Organisation", "Discussion Group" "Mediation Service", "Creative Arts Cooperative", "Educational Organisation", "Social Reform Pressure Group" or even "SocialClub" you come unstuck fairly quickly. It seems to embody elements of all those and probably of other kinds of organisations as well. To start making sense of Peer Power you need to employ a new and bigger category, and we have tried in our interview and also by including the additional film below to make Peer Power's concept and role a little clearer.

Listening to the interview again I think what we may have slightly neglected are the practicalities, such as how much of the work is concentrated in the Vauxhall office, where the "partners" assemble and how frequently, how the organisation copes with the problems of fitting in with work and educational commitments, or the need to liase with other social services and with parents. There must be a big story whose surface we have barely scratched here to be told about the day-to-day workings of Peer Power, but you will find a great deal more detailed information on their website at:

The video below: Inequalities: An Exchange Of Words

An exchange between young people from 84YOUTH (Manchester) & Peer Power (London). "Our Young Partners teamed up with OddArts and 84Youth to discuss inequalities across London and the North. This film covers topics and experiences of health and justice services, looking in on the reality of navigating them from young people’s perspectives." Film by Courtney Sherives.

Inequalities: An Exchange Of Words
A film made by 84YOUTH (Manchester) & Peer Power (London)

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