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Group discussions

Student workshops 

From December 2021 to May 2022, students led small group discussions among their peers and younger students, sometimes with the support of school and/or council staff.

These took place in different settings including school council sessions, form time, ‘Philosophy 4 Children’ (enquiry-based learning) or specially-arranged Let's Talk Islington discussion sessions. We provided students and teachers with a workshop structure and briefed them on Let’s Talk.

Student responses may have been affected by the extent to which they felt comfortable discussing these topics in English with their peers.

Discussion topics and responses

What does inequality mean to you?

Inequality was largely seen by students as the unfair or unkind treatment of others, often related to protected characteristics. When students spoke about specific subgroups, they mentioned race and ethnicity, disability and gender most often.

There was also the understanding that inequality involved different levels of access between groups: resources, opportunities and rights. Inequality was seen by young participants as something beyond people's control, the result of a wider social system.

Can you give an example of when you’ve seen inequality in your area? 

The most common examples of inequality students raised were:

  • unkind treatment of others
  • homelessness
  • gender inequality and stereotypes 
  • lack of access and services for people with disabilities
  • racism.

Other examples included: poverty, lack of affordable housing and overcrowding, antisocial behaviour and inequality in the education system.

What could be done to make Islington a fairer and more equal place?

  • Improving disability access across the borough.
  • Investing in more homeless shelters
  • Creating more work and apprentice opportunities for young people.
  • Educating people about prejudice and discrimination and holding more community events celebrating different cultures
  • Making Islington a safer place by increasing police presence, security cameras, having 'safe zones‘, more knife bins and restrictions on knife sales.
  • Anti-poverty measures such as providing resources for low-income people.
  • Making changes to the education system: more life skills lessons in school and incorporating inclusion into the curriculum.
  • More services, especially activities for young people and support for mental health and social isolation.
  • Investing in the environment such as more solar power, climate change education and more green spaces.

Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisation workshops 

From December to May 2022, council and VCS staff led small group discussions of between two and 14 people online, in person and a mixed approach. The host organisation recruited people to take part.


In workshop discussions, residents spoke most often about:

  • Council and VCS services, including the variety of services on offer and identifying gaps. They felt the council could improve communication about activities and services that are available.
  • Specific identity groups, mentioning people with disabilities most often, followed by ethnic minorities, children and young people, reflecting the demographic of workshop participants.
  • Mental health and wellbeing, including improved support and access to specialist services.
  • Housing affordability, overcrowding, repairs, allocation policy and homelessness.

Most important issues

There was a big difference in what was considered most important across groups as well as among participants in the same workshop, who shared a common characteristic (such as youth, parents, disability type), who lived in the same neighbourhood or who were receiving services from the same organisation.

Of the ten areas people rated as priorities, these were most commonly ranked highest:

  • crime and safety
  • housing
  • mental health and wellbeing.

In half of the discussions, residents spoke about the interconnections across areas – the influence of ASB, homelessness, unemployment, community activities and green space on mental health, effects of overcrowded housing on education, health and family relationships.

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