Newcastle City Council teams up with local actor and rapper to engage with young people on the city’s Economic Recovery Plan

Newcastle City Council and NewcastleGateshead Initiative are working in collaboration with local actor and rapper, Kema Kay to encourage young people to take part in the consultation process of the city’s ten-year economic recovery plan.

This consultation process aims to ensure the plan is inclusive and representative of as many Newcastle residents as possible, including young people who wouldn’t usually get involved.

The I, Daniel Blake actor, Kema Kay, said: “I didn’t have to think twice about getting involved with something like this. I love this city; Newcastle has been my home since I was three years old. The fact Newcastle City Council is giving a voice to the people and is ready to hear their thoughts on change, is a great opportunity I couldn’t let pass.”

Kema has created three videos and posted across popular social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram, asking youngsters to comment on what they love about Newcastle, what they think is bad and how they would change it, and what the city could do to help them achieve their goals and ambitions.

Newcastle City Council Leader, Cllr Nick Forbes, said: “Consulting with people, businesses and communities across the city, we have set out clear commitments to build forward better and ensure our great city not only recovers from the pandemic, but we accelerate growth, create better jobs and a bright future for the people of Newcastle.

“This plan belongs to everyone in the city, so we need to hear from as many voices as possible to help us shape the future of Newcastle, one that meet the needs, aspirations and ambitions of our people and communities.

“Hearing from young people is crucially important as they don’t often engage with local authorities, so to have Kema Kay help us reach out to them will create a better plan and help us deliver the change they need, meet their goals and ambitions and build an inclusive and fairer city for all.”

North East tech firm, Wordnerds, is supporting the innovative and collaborative approach to compiling a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery plan using the latest research sentiment technology to analyse social media and provide real time insights as to what people think about the city as a place to live, learn, work, visit and invest.

The city’s ten-year plan aims to identify and accelerate the ambitions and vision of the city’s residents to help boost and maintain a healthy economy.

Ian Thomas, Director of Tourism and Research for NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “We have been working on behalf of Newcastle City Council to deliver the consultation process of the city’s economic recovery plan, to help our city move on and grow from the devastating affect the pandemic has had on all aspects of Newcastle and its people.

“We firmly believe the future of a city should be shaped by the opinions of those who live and work in it, which is why we have teamed up with Kema Kay to help us amplify the opportunity for more people to have a say in the recovery strategy.

“Kema grew up in the West End of Newcastle and has a strong online following of young people from the North East, a group that are often not given the opportunity to have their voices heard. We wanted to change that and ensure that the recovery plan has been informed by as many different people with varied experiences of the city as possible.

“Kema has taken to his social media with a series of videos asking important questions about people’s views of Newcastle; what they love about their city as well as what they think could be improved. The responses have been fantastic so far, and vital to informing an inclusive recovery strategy.”

Kema’s videos can be viewed on his Instagram and Facebook social media channels and responses should include the hashtag #toon2030