The Story Up 'Til Now


We all know the saying by now "young people aged 14-25 make up 40% of Birmingham’s population" leading to it gaining the moniker of ‘Europe’s youngest city’. However mostly young people tell us they feel they aren’t asked to give their opinions, and when they do, they aren’t listened to anyway. When policies and services are implemented that affect them – be that social, political or educational – they don’t necessarily reflect their wants and needs.

Brum Youth Trends, brainchild of the Beatfreeks Collective, is trying to balance the effort between young people 'raising their voices' but also power being more receptive to listen and change. 

Anisa Haghdadi, Founder and CEO of the Beatfreeks Collective, explains how Brum Youth Trends came to be:

“We'd love to tell you that Brum Youth Trends was the result of a lightbulb moment, resulting in a neatly-wrapped journey to what it has become today, but life doesn't quite work that way. In fact, a bunch of needs, ideas and experiences collided together around the same time, and Brum Youth Trends was one of the outcomes to emerge from that time.

In 2017, we were successfully running a couple of companies improving the lives of young people by unleashing their creativity. Part of this work meant that, a) we needed to access high quality insight into young people to back up our 'gut' and b) that we were constantly asked what young people thought and felt about themselves, each other and the city. In fact, it was kind of our thing. When we were on the hunt for research we were frustrated and frankly a little shocked to not find any research about young people in Birmingham that wasn't issue specific, or sector specific. How can we make a call on housing without understand how young people think about their future living here? How can we take a position on arts investment if we don't look at wider access issues around transport? Conversations began to brew.

This, coupled with our own experiences of being young entrepreneurs and artists meant that we often felt overlooked or dumbfounded when it came to how big decisions were made in the city. If we, seemingly tenacious and incurably curious people, couldn't navigate this big badass city, then how can we truly serve the young people who live and work here? We wanted to upskill and equip ourselves, and empower others in the process. What if we shared our intelligence, and created a new collective source of intelligence, in a way that speaks to both young people and to power, as well as the people who act as brokers and facilitators in the middle like us?

At the time, we were also going through a position of transition ourselves, evolving into a group of companies; Beatfreeks Collective which shared a very strong sense of purpose around using creativity for good.

Let's not even forget the whole post-truth, fake news narrative that was emerging. Who could be trusted? Where do we turn for authentic insight?

A question emerged… 

How can we stir up a new conversation? One that is fuelled by data and stories, that intends to raise the voices of young people but also make policy makers listen. 

Brum Youth Trends was born.

Fast forward hundreds of surveys, sweaty office sprints and a lot of giggles, our pilot was in April 2017 where we launched our inaugural report and our restructure into the Beatfreeks Collective. 643 responses. 500 downloads and counting. And that brings us to now."

Brum Youth Trends 2018 report will be launched with a Summit at the home of civic debate: Town Hall Birmingham. Bringing together hundreds of young people and policy makers it will be a chance to digest the report, hear from under 25s and key leaders, and get your hands on a free report too. Food, artists, and debate in between, the 10th October 2018 is a date that is surely blocked out in your diary for Brum Youth Trends.