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Young people release film to get their voices heard

A film made by young people in Leicester has reached international audiences after being picked up by UNICEF. The film, titled “Was Not Heard” is about children’s rights and was created in Leicester with the help of city council youth workers in association with local film-makers Badshoes Film.

The aim of the short film is to “highlight the rights of children to have their voices heard, be listened to by adults and to have their views and opinions considered and respected by decision-makers”. This right is solidified in Article 12 of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, in which it states “I have the right to be listened to, and taken seriously”.

The film saw a virtual premiere in July of this year, after being devised by young people from Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. 17-year-old Yasmin Allen wrote the piece and the roughly 4-minute film was performed and narrated by 12 young actors ranging from the ages of 6 to 17.

Short Film “Was Not Heard” has been picked up by UNICEF – Image Credit: Leicester City Council

Writer of the film, Yasmin Allen said: “By listening to youth voice, adults can become the bridge between our problems and support. Not listening and not acting on what you hear doesn’t just break trust, the consequences are that you leave young people in a vulnerable position. The message of this film is that it’s time to listen more carefully.”

Now, Unicef are encouraging these young people to share their life experiences as blog posts on their Voices of Youth website. These blog posts cover a myriad of topics such as the current Covid-19 crisis, global inequalities, and culture.

Cllr Sarah Russell, deputy city mayor of Leicester responsible for social care, said: “This powerful, thought-provoking and creative film fully deserves the global recognition it is getting. I am so proud of our local young people who came up with the idea for the film and delighted our brilliant participation team could support them to make it happen.

“Now more than ever, we need to listen to children and young people. It’s vital that we understand their needs, emotions and ambitions for the future. This film is important viewing for anyone who cares for or works with children and young people.”

The film was funded by NHS England and the Safeguarding Partnership Boards of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

To view the film, click here.


By Sam Ellison