The centre runs a youth service with after-school and weekend clubs for around 100 school and college students, summer youth camps. The youth services are tied in with the services of the centre and meet regularly to discuss issues affecting them, ranging from drugs awareness sessions, to issues identified through advice and education services.
The members of these groups participate in the youth cultural activities such art, camera and cinema workshops and from time to time organise youth events, daily outings, Easter and summer youth camps with themes ranging form anti-racism to employment. The members of the youth groups take an active part in the running and all activities of the centre and provide a permanent pool of volunteers. Added to these are the Turkish Kurdish Football Federation which is run by members of the youth group and is currently one of the only two football institutions existing within the Turkish and Kurdish Community. The federation has been running activity and services for the last 15 years and is currently constituted of 16 football teams, reaching out to over 200 young people every weekend.
Youth Services and Activities
The short but significant history of the Turkish and Kurdish communities’ arrival and settlement in UK have always incorporated issues relating to refugee children and youth. Since the late 80’s when the Turkish and Kurdish population began to migrate to the United Kingdom, a generation of youth which was amongst the first arrivers has grown up and left its place to an emerging generation of youth. As well as similarities about the characteristics and problems of these two generations, there are naturally differences relating especially to the features of the new generation as a relatively more integrated and adapted mass.
The youth of the migrant communities still face daunting problems of unemployment, poor education, racism, alienation and problems associated with street culture in Britain and western Europe. And despite positive steps taken for the inclusion of the disadvantaged refugee youth and children into the mainstream of the society as active participants and for the recognition of ethnically and culturally synthesised traits, it is unfortunate to assert that only a fraction of the minimal possible progress has been actualised.
Culture differences with parents, under achievement in education, unemployment, identity problem, drug misuse, prejudgement and racism and others are some problems which the newly emerging 2nd generation youth are facing today in Britain. The youth are facing these problems without help and they largely feel isolated. This isolation mostly constitutes the root causes of their problems and difficult situation such as those associated with gang and drug’s culture. What’s more, these are not issues faced only by the Turkish and Kurdish communities' children and youth but they are common issues faced by the majority of other migrant communities living in United Kingdom and in rest of Europe. Many of these disadvantaged children and youth desperately want to be an active part of the society they live in, whilst retaining the positive aspects of their own identity and culture.
Day-Mer Youth Commission
Day-Mer Youth Commission is evolving into a 2nd generation entity and has developed close links with Turkish, Kurdish and Cypriot youth in London as well as with other organisations in Europe with whom we collaborate in carrying out activities against racism, along with many other educational and cultural activities for young people. With this perspectives, Day-Mer Youth is organising youth events, annual youth camps and regular meetings which focus on the problems of the youth.
Summer and Easter Youth Camp
Since 1991, Day-Mer Youth has been organising a summer youth camp. From 2000, the youth camp has been organised by the 2nd generation. Nearly 100 youth gather in these youth camps and they have been running cultural activities such as folk dancing, choir, music groups, drama, camp TV and newspaper and discussion meetings as well as sports and outing activities. In the youth camp, apart from these activities, the youth have been making new friends, sharing the atmosphere and working and creating together for an enjoyable time. Our camp has been contributing in this way to the positive development of youth. In Easter 2005, Secondary school youth organised a youth camp in which 51 secondary school youth participated and had a great time; this was sponsored by PAYP.
Day-Mer Youth Commission organises regular informational meetings, cultural and outing activities and events targeting especially the Turkish and Kurdish youth population in schools and colleges of north London and universities in London.
Saz and guitar courses, drama, children and youth folk dancing are the examples of cultural activities provided for the youth. Outings such as sightseeing trips to the Thames River and playing bowling have been organised by youth commission. At the end of the youth camp, there was a performance to show all the activities they had done back in the camp to their parents and friends. Quiz night is another activity where youth are gathering from secondary schools and college in every year. During holidays period, these activities are also sponsored by PAYP.
Day-Mer Youth also organises discussions, meetings and workshops about the problems of the youth. In these meetings, youth have been discussing problems as well as solutions.
A book library with the funding from Jack Petchey Foundation in previous years has been run by the youth themselves. The library has a good catalogue of both Turkish and English classics and is a reference point where research and archives about Turkish and Kurdish communities are kept.