THE Oldham Times has linked up with The Student View, a media literacy charity engaging young people through journalism.

Volunteers from the charity have been working in Oldham schools and across the country to help pupils tackled the issues they care about most - from poor bus services to knife crime and drugs.

The pupils set the agenda, and then work in collaboration with professional journalists to turn their personal experiences into something of which their communities can be proud: quality local journalism.

The identities of the students involved and their schools have been disguised for safeguarding reasons.

Find out more about The Student View at 

By Amy, 15, and Jasmine, 15, Oldham

CRIMES of racially or religiously aggravated public fear, alarm or distress in Oldham have been higher in the last four years than during the town's race riots in 2001, according data received following a freedom of information request.

There were 186 cases in 2001 and 128 in 2002, while the five-year average from 2014 to 2018 was 268, hitting a peak of 357 in 2017.

The Oldham race riots happened in 2001, with the year seeing 797 racially or religiously motivated crimes. In comparison, 2017 and 2018 saw 647 and 543 crimes of a similar nature respectively.

Serious crimes like assaults have diminished over time, with 104 racially or religiously aggravated assaults with injury in 2001, to just 10 in 2018.

Racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage hit a high of 296 cases in 2001. Despite a spike in 2016 of 38 cases, the number has steadily dropped: In 2018 it was just eight.

In 2016, Oldham Council told the BBC that “a lot of work has been done to tackle the problem”.

Tariq Rafiq, then head of Waterhead Academy, set up to break down barriers between Asian and White communities in Oldham, also told the BBC: "I definitely think we are moving forward.

"When you see some of the sport activities young people are involved in it is heart-warming to see them coming together because of their school and not the colour of their skin.

"You used to see the two groups going into town separately on Saturdays and there would be antagonism and points of friction between them. This no longer happens.

"If anything the pace of change for adults needs to improve."

Jasmine and Amy wrote this article because, “We see the division between groups everyday and wanted to bring attention to it. We want schools and communities to realize the issue we have and ask for cooperation to help make it better.”