Today sees the launch of BeaconLifeSwap. This is a spin off from LifeSwap where 21 young people from seven Beacon councils were invited to tell us about "my life: my community" through photos and captions using mobile phone cameras kindly supplied by O2.
The eight Beacon Councils are expected to share information about how they engage with young people with other councils and the first stage of that process has been to share experiences between themselves. BeaconLifeSwap starts that process.
The initial results are great and varied. Some of my personal favourites are:
Thorny 21 – "There was me thinking that kids are being told to do more outdoor activities?"
Thorny is a 19 year old from Norfolk showing his witty side.
Is it right to encourage smoking through the provision of smoking areas?
Ferdie is a proud refugee from Rwanda. His photos are delightfully devoid of typical British reserve.
Perhaps not so interesting until you realise that the Carer is 12 year old Lauren.
Ana is 18, but it could have been any 20 or 30 something mother I know.
All of the young people have something to say and none of them have had a straightforward life such as I had or you’d want your own kids to have. None of the pictures are going to win a photography competition and the literacy of the captions is unlikely to get published elsewhere but there is something very powerful about the pictures. People treat mobile phones differently to video cameras or even digital cameras. They are more personal and other people are more comfortable around them. LifeSwap gives us much more personal and intimate insights into young people everyday, hum-drum, ordinary lives than we’d get through any other means.