Ex-Paralympian discusses class barriers and discrimination with Luton's Youth Network

Ex-Paralympian and Channel 4 reporter Jordan Jarrett-Bryan discusses class barriers, mental health and discrimination in a panel discussion organised by Youth Network in Luton.

Youth Network organised the panel discussion with Jordan, titled ‘Social Inequalities and The Battle for Our Youth: A conversation with Jordan Jarrett-Bryan’, as part of their work discussing the issues and challenges of Social Inequalities.

Jordan Jarrett-Bryan discussed class barriers, mental health and discrimination

Jordan Jarrett-Bryan discussed class barriers, mental health and discrimination

The Radio LaB 97.1FM broadcast was recorded live from the Beds SU Metro café at the Luton Campus, and filmed by Youth Network with Bedfordshire media students as part of their collaboration, where Jordan Jarrett-Bryan, discussed class barriers as well as poverty, marginalisation, and discrimination relating to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) youth groups.

Youth Network is an independent youth organisation in Luton, who aim to help young minds reach their potential.

Raheed Salam, Director at Youth Network, said: “Over the past decade there has been significant reduction in youth services for young people, they have faced continued challenges in society with increased deprivation, issues of social mobility related to poverty and class and an increase in mental health issues.”

The panel, including Jordan, Raheed and Youth Network Ambassadors Leo, Sumayya, and Callum spoke about how the BME community tackles deprivation, why mental health issues can affect BME more, who should be role models for young people from working class backgrounds and why is it that young people are engaged in youth violence and substance abuse.

Jordan Jarrett-Bryan discussed class barriers, mental health and discrimination

Jordan Jarrett-Bryan discussed class barriers, mental health and discrimination

Raheed added: "We want to explore those social inequalities that directly affect young people and discuss how young people entering adult life can tackle those barriers and become successful."

Jordan says recognising there is a problem is the first step, but then “you have to attach it in many different forms”.

He said: “The main problem I see in young people is making them understand and realise their potential. Every young person has potential to be great at something.

"The problem is they have no confidence. When you have no confidence, you struggle to realise what the thing is you can be good at.

“I can’t force a young person to be great until they understand what it is they can offer – we all have something to contribute.

"When I go to unis, schools, young offenders units, youth clubs, I try to make every young person understand what it is they’re good at, and that starts with listening.

"Listen to young people and understand they like doing and what they’re good at.”

During the panel discussion, Jordan said those young people whose “families aren’t particular rich, or have people in their area who don’t always do what they should do, can use that as a hunger to achieve. Some of the biggest footballers right now are from the poorest areas of South London.

“We all want to achieve, we all want to do well – no one is going to give that to you. I’m not one for excuses. I’m about fighting to achieve something."

Youth Network support young people through training, personal development, mentoring and social campaigns. For more information visit: www.youthnetwork.co.uk.