Friday, 26 August 2011



August 2011, we saw devastating youth riots in England, with some children as young as 7 taking to the streets to take part in looting, vandalism, arson and violence. Burning buildings, homes and businesses destroyed with people injured and left homeless all arose as copycat riots, originally deriving from the shooting, by police, of a young man (Mark Duggan) in Tottenham, North London.

We know many teens during these riots just jumped on the thieves and rioting bandwagon and as some of them have said “It was a buzz, an emotional high, better than sex man!”  These kids are now being named and shamed and have ruined lives accompanied by a criminal record or prison that will take years to erase and all for making seriously wrong decisions and acting in a herdlike lawless fashion.  But are their lives ruined, it seems to me that many of them do not think too highly of their lives or the future, “What future”, I hear them say, these kids do not have respect for their lives or their liberty so really what can you take away from them, if they are not bothered about losing their own lives, they certainly won’t be worried about yours either.   

Public outrage and a smell of fear pervaded our streets. Why!? Personally, I think there is a generation of young people who have been left behind and forgotten, so when teenagers join gangs it really is as Prince Charles said ‘A cry for help’. I could not agree more, some of these lawless teenagers do not have role models in their disadvantaged lives, a gang becomes family and gives those young people relations and something more important, a sense of belonging. Lack of parental care, a lack of father figures, loss of power and discipline by parents and schools, where good behaviour is expected, unfortunately is not happening. 

Children and Teenagers threaten authority and parents with the state, leaving them with a fear of prosecution. Drugs, Drink, Poverty and Peer Pressure also play a role in this unruly behaviour, exaggerating situations and turning up the temperature of the violence and criminality which erupted. These are key areas that need to be worked on, even targeted by the government and authorities, to rule out such inhumane and violent activities. 

There are 120,000 disadvantaged families at this moment who urgently need support with their children and young people, the government are addressing this as a priority with Louise Casey at the helm!  But now we need a cure, healing, re-education and effective engagement programmes, unity with communities, schools and families working together and we as educators will keep trying and working with these young people, who have been let down by us the adults, responsible for them, they have lost their way somewhere in the world of the UK’s economic fragility and cuts. Unfortunately for these disadvantages children and young people it does not help for them to see fat cat bankers or celebrity cultured footballers earning zillions with fast cars and fashion styles, that is where they want to be but in a poverty stricken world that is never really going to happen so dreams of that are crushed pretty quickly! 

A collective failure of inequality must be addressed with teachers and parents taking charge to discipline, advise and guide the young people struggling with lives, schools must exert powers to do this otherwise these kids are literally dragging themselves up without role models, love, nurturing advice or guidance, it's children raising children; not a good idea in their already powerless lives.  Lack of parental care, drugs, drink, peer pressure and no sense of belonging or respect create a total lack of self esteem, values and morals in these lives that are already full of trauma, poverty and without fear! 

The tension from this pressure point, extends to the lid blowing off and then we begin to notice, why, because we are made to notice that all is not good, who could fail to notice what has just exploded in our faces, possibly because we really turned a blind eye, especially local government and the cabinet, to the services and support that were cut over 20 years ago and still not reinstated at all, leaving vulnerable kids to raise themselves in gangs, better to be in a gang and belong somewhere, than nowhere at all! Investment in children's lives is clearly the best intention for all concerned in this country.

A study of 500 grandparents has been carried out by market researcher which quizzed them on their quality of parenting compared to their offspring's.  It found four in ten grandparents believe their grandchildren are far less disciplined than their own children were at the same age and three in ten said their children are worse parents than they were. A hands off approach without boundaries and limits are not set for them or not carried through with 50% of grandchildren not feeling fear about being told off by parents, teachers or another adult.  Some grandparents even blamed themselves and wished they had disciplained their own children more, which in turn, would help them instil very necessary values in their grandchildren.

There are 65,000 children in care at this moment in time!!!  I have worked in children’s homes and saw firsthand children who never knew parents or family, without networks other than staff teams and picture story books of lives cared for by the state, fed and clothed well but with much lacking, don’t we need more than that to survive as human beings, we need love and even more love, that love makes most of us feel good, to be loved is a warm blanket of security, some of us are very lucky and have this love continually in our lives but imagine life without it, that love blanket keeps us evolving, prepares us for the day ahead and gives us hope and well-being everyday of our lives.

Now more than ever, education, effective engagement and 'talking therapies' is key to the cure and the change needed to help these kids take a new approach, start to learn about the better side of life and appreciate and respect it for what it is and what is on offer, they have the potential to be nice, kind and give back to society as well as be a valued member of it, niceness, kindness and goodness is not taught, it is something we learn from our elders, those of us who are lucky enough to have been showered with it.

So I appeal to you all to start supporting the young, yes I understand your anger totally, but now we must start a cure and go forward as soon as possible and by you just giving some time to reach out to the 1 million 10-19 year olds in London alone and the almost 1 million 16-24 year old young people unemployed in the UK; if you can offer a volunteer placement in your work place or business then do so, I have been bombarded with volunteer applications at Egar and there are Volunteer Centres throughout the UK with thousands of young people clamouring to be a volunteer, which is surprising but relished or maybe you can start an apprenticeship, whatever happened to them, even if it is for just one day a week, this will be the start of making these kids feel worthwhile, something they probably have never felt, because no one has ever told them they are great or given them any praise so they grow up totally de-moralised with life.

The conversation, karma road to recovery starts here at Egar.  We have so much expertise in dealing with teenagers by way of supportive resources to help you, help children and teens talk about the social and challenging issues in their lives, Egar conversation card sets help to focus on kid’s mindsets and attitudes and are a great way of assessing where they are with a given issue.  So guys, have a look at our card sets and posters, whether you are working with or raising kids, we can support you every step of the way with our simple to use, loaded and powerful resources that will save you much time, energy and wrangling and bring you a wealth of fulfilment in moving forward with the young people of today and tomorrow.  Do remember the strength of our country lies in its youth, let’s rebuild England and young lives, starting right now!

Sue is available for motivational speaking appointments for more information email

She will be speaking at The Queen's Head Pub 40 Essex Road Islington N1
For tickets see 
Tuesday 20th September 2011 at 7.30 p.m.

Sue will also be speaking at the Charities Buying Group CBG Conference
at The Tower of London
on 4th October 2011.

Thank you for your time.
Sue Scott-Horne
Teenage Champion

August 2011

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