Birmingham City teen sensation Layla Banaras Nets Role As Birmingham Housing Week Youth Ambassador

07 February 2024

Blues teenage football sensation Layla Banaras today spoke of her pride after netting the role of youth ambassador at Birmingham Housing Week which started on Monday. 

The Birmingham football star, who at the age of 16, became the first woman from a South Asian background to play for the Birmingham City Football Club, is sharing her experiences and encouraging young people to get involved in the conversation around housing during Next Generation workshops being held at Birmingham Housing Week

Running from February 5th-9th Birmingham Housing Week will inform young people and communities on the scale of public and private investment in existing housing stock and large-scale housing regeneration schemes happening across the City and the vast amount of opportunities on offer to them; invite them to get involved in the conversation and have a voice and inspire them to join the movement. 

The week is a private sector initiative, powered by national housebuilder Lovell Partnerships, with support from Birmingham City Council, STEAMhouse, Howells, Platform Housing Group, Shakespeare Martineau, Marrons and Birmingham Social Housing Partnership, with more set to be announced in due course. 

Today Birmingham Housing Week organisers were thrilled for Layla to be appointed as its youth ambassador to help inspire the next generation to get involved in the week-long event. 

One of the main focuses of the week is to promote inclusivity and collaboration with the younger generation around their expectations of the housing sector and inform them about the job opportunities available to bring their ideas to life. 

Delighted to accept the ambassador role, Layla, now 17, said “I think it’s really important to create opportunities for young people as it gives them a voice and allows them to feel heard.”  

Thanks to sponsors Platform, STEAMhouse and Howells, the Next Generation Workshops are taking place on February 6th and 8th respectively, to bring together local pupils from the following schools: Eden Boys, Lyndon Academy, Cockshut Hill and Nine Styles.  

STEAMhouse has invited Year 9 pupils to its interactive activities focused on raising awareness around the housing sector and the variety of career opportunities they can choose to be more involved.  

The workshop will also feature a Q&A session with both the council and industry professionals, to encourage an open discussion around the future of Birmingham for current and next generations. 

Patrick Bek, Head of Service Innovation and Experimentation at STEAMhouse, added: “A people-centred approach is definitely needed to innovate towards the best future for Birmingham’s housing sector. Listening to and co-creating with the younger generation is a great way to encourage a more collaborative approach and unlock a new regenerative era of the city.”    

Architecture and planning body, Howells, will host its programme of activities aimed at Year 10 & 11 students on the Tuesday and Thursday of housing week, to inform them of the ‘Our Future City’ project, an initiative led by the Birmingham Housing Council setting a strategic 2040 framework to achieve inclusive, sustainable and equal spaces for the city’s communities. This will also involve the pupils sharing their thoughts on what the framework should include and incorporate them into a design project accordingly.  

The students will also have the opportunity to talk to key professionals in the Modelmaking and VR technology sectors and see how the respective tools work and support the variety of job roles in the housing sector. The innovative side of the sector is a key component in involving the younger generation and showcasing its potential to achieve more sustainable infrastructure.  

Dav Bansal, Partner from Howells, commented: “Birmingham Housing Week is a great opportunity to raise awareness on the current initiatives of the council and how students can actively participate in this exchange of opinions thanks to the workshops and the wide array of career opportunities the sector offers. Howells is based in the industrial heart of the city, and we’re excited to meet local young people to get their input into the future of Birmingham.”