Leading social issues campaigner and influencer Sandy Idigbe has won the international 2019 Baton awards.
Nominated by anyone from friends and family to teachers and community leaders, The prestigious Baton Awards 2019 nominees are gathered from the BAME female community (in the U.K and globally) and reflect achievements in every area. Nominees were judged by an experienced panel and not based upon votes which distracts from some of communities’ most important ‘unsung heroes’.
Sandy and her achievements demonstrate how minorities can achieve the most extraordinary things despite obstacles and challenges. Sandy has been invited by the UK’s Princes’s Trust over the past few years tackling youth unemployment in London and across the UK. Lending her voice to deliver Employment workshop providing soft skill interview technique and been “work ready”.
The millennial generation currently dominates the workforce, a generation which is more likely to be attracted to employers with clear social or environmental actions.
Fed up with government cuts to youth services that have been blamed for record-breaking levels of youth violence in England, Sandy is fighting to take back control for young people on estates around London.
According to analysis by the Labour party, 750 youth centres have closed in England since 2012, with spending on youth services down by 67% overall in the same period. The party has pledged that it would create a nationwide network of clubs and services for young people as a way of tackling mental ill-health, school exclusions and youth violence. In May, research by the all parliamentary knife crime group and children’s charity Barnado’s revealed that councils which closed the greatest number of youth clubs had seen the biggest local increases in knife crime. Incidents of knife crime are now at the highest level recorded by the Office for National Statistics since 2010-2011, when comparable data began to be compiled.
Local campaigners believe Sandy’s work is essential but that responsibility lies with government. “Austerity has taken away our youth services, which are essential – youth clubs are safe havens for young people,”.
“Good youth clubs allow young people to have a safe space and not be involved in antisocial behaviour. Theresa May announced a national plan for knife crime in May but it was just words; we need actions. Knife crime is a contagious disease spreading across the country, not just London.”
Sandy agrees but remains undaunted by the challenge ahead. “Part of me thinks I have a responsibility as well. You have to give back to the community – that’s a passion of mine. And a lot of young people know me and follow me, so I feel I have a responsibility to them and to show this can be done. If I can do it off my own back, it could make councils stop and think ‘if he’s doing it, what are we doing?’. Hopefully it might inspire some fire in them.”