Young People Insight Presents ‘Poetic Insight’


As we mentioned in our last post on the progression of Young People Insight, we are going to be holding our first poetry and spoken word event for young people in Croydon.

Poetic Insight will give young poets an opportunity to showcase their talent, while speaking their mind and making their voices heard.  This is another avenue for your young people to have their say, rather than simply coming to the forums, as not everyone articulates their thoughts and views in the same way.

Poetic Insight will be taking place on November 1st from 7-9pm in Project B.  So if you want to share your poetry or perform spoken word, email me on or call 07910092565.

You won’t want to miss this inspiring event, so get your tickets for the night on Eventbrite now:

Reflecting on the Progression of Young People Insight

As you’ve probably noticed, there hasn’t been any information about a forum this month, but it’s only because we’re on a break until October 18th comes around.  However, this doesn’t mean that the work has stopped, as this month has given me plenty of time for reflection and allowed me to start putting some ideas in place to take Young People Insight to the next level.

Since holding the first forum in January, each month has continued to generate interesting discussions on a variety of topics, which have grown more dynamic and are always overrun with differing viewpoints.

Young People Insight August Forum

I’ve seen different sides to young people and learnt more about their individual thought processes as we’ve spoken on topics including employment, violent crime and relationships.  They have also provided some useful, tangible solutions that I want us to start to putting into action over the course of the year, as one of the core elements of YP Insight is being the change we want to see.

One of the most effective and exciting forums was when five young people – Stephanie Kane, Matthew Don, Frances Acquaah, Kyle Hylton and Jason Simms-Davis – shared their stories so far and how they were pursuing their dreams at the forum in May.  Everyone who attended was inspired and engaged in what their fellow young people had to say – I am definitely planning to put on more forums with this format in the future.

Young People Insight May Forum

Although the group of young people who attend the forums has been growing slightly and steadily, there are still a whole lot of young people that I would like to reach and involve in YP Insight, as I believe that it is essential for young people to use their voices and feel that they matter.

I’ve finally got some leaflets made, so look out for those, and I’m going to be setting up a YP Insight Instagram account to accompany the Facebook page and Twitter account.  The YouTube channel is also set to go live soon with our first video, created by one of our forum participants, Chinelo.  I’m hoping that future forums will be filmed and for highlight videos to be posted on the channel, giving others an insight into our discussions and what they’re missing.

Young People Insight Leaflets

YP Insight was always supposed to be more than just forums, so there will be additional events coming up that will empower the voices of young people in other ways, as well as social events that will encourage young people to grow their network and develop their communication skills.  Next year, I’m also hoping to hold workshops that will be hosted by other organisations and put on collaborative events, which will create a greater sense of community.

Coming up on November 1st is our first spoken word/poetry event at Project B from 7-9pm, which will allow young people from Croydon to make their voice heard through the art of poetry and showcase their talent.  I want this to become a regular monthly event, sometimes with different themes for the poets and spoken word artists to focus on.

Photo by condesign and used under Creative Commons License.
Photo by condesign and used under Creative Commons License.

However, in order for YP Insight develop and for all these ideas to come to fruition, I need a team around me.  I particularly need individuals with skills and experience in media, marketing, finance and event planning/management, as well as someone to lead out on everything with me. This is a great opportunity to be part of a youth community/organisation in Croydon and it is something that you can put on your CV.

Together, we can make a real difference in our community and be the change we want to see, because if we truly want things to be different, it has to start with us.

For more information on any of the upcoming events or if you would like to join the Young People Insight team, email me at, follow @YPInsight on Twitter and like Young People Insight on Facebook.

How do you think we can make our society more peaceful?

September 21st is The International Day of Peace and it was highlighted on Croydon Radio‘s ‘Inside Story Radio Show’ on September 16th.  I feature on the ‘Inside Story Radio Show’ every month to give updates on Young People Insight and this month, it was requested that I ask young people the question, “How do you think we can make our society more peaceful”, to feed back some their answers on the show.

I got a number of great responses, most of which couldn’t be read out on the show earlier today, so I thought I’d share some more of them with you on the blog.  Hopefully it will inspire you and you’ll see something you can put into practice to make our society a more peaceful one.

  •  “By finding peace within ourselves first” – Jason, 24
  • “Educating people on issues creates less confusion and assumptions” – Dena
  • “Change your perceptions and beliefs about it; then the universe will mold reality to fit your perception.” – Alana, 21
  • “Within communities, having intentional gatherings and functions that integrate the members.  That can possibly create a care and empathy among community members” – Sh’kira, 22
  • “Have more social activities within a society.  Continue to raise awareness of issues going on.  Help understand and respect differences between individuals within the society.” – Simeon, 18
  • “Society having a good and concrete moral standard which can be supported in all spheres: the home, schools, workplace to create unity.  I believe God gave this to us in His counsel as to how we should live and also in the purpose He has given us in being created to commune with Him and one day be restored into His image.  While we could try to make adjustments to society, it is the hearts and attitudes of men which is the root cause of the issues we face — the fixing of this is what will one day result in true and lasting peace.” – Lauren, 21
  • “I think by engaging more with people, as in when you engage with people through activity or community projects, opportunities are created and people get to do something and feel happy or valued and I think that can bring peace; and acceptance” – Si-Ann, 23
  • “A lot of music artists today portray a negative energy and everybody follows and picks up on the energy.  The UK scene is on a high at the moment so every little thing the artists do is followed.  If our artists can portray how they made it to the millions etc, it would motivate our youth and general society to achieve likewise” – Elliott, 19
  • “Being helpful – when you see someone in trouble, whether they’re lost or confused, don’t act like you didn’t see them.  Speak out against prejudice and discrimination when you see it.  If ever you feel angry – take deep breaths before speaking… For me, the most significant things, which is honestly the simplest, is to smile at people on the street or even better yet, say hello.” – Nahed, 24
  • “As individuals we need to be more aware and considerate of others.  Show empathy.  If we thought of others more and less of ourselves, fewer conflicts and issues would arise, resulting in a more peaceful society.  And if people got to know Jesus through the Bible but most importantly build a relationship with Him and be changed by Him, our world could be transformed.  Not just ‘I got to Church Christians’ but real ‘I’m striving every day to be like Christ Christians’.  He’s the perfect example of peace” – Sophia, 22
  • “I don’t think there is such a thing as peace.  Between violence, politics and domestic abuse and everything in between, I don’t think it’s something that exists.  We need to work on equality.  The sooner everyone learns how to live together equally, the sooner the world becomes a better place.” – Daisy, 24
Photo by Alexas_Fotos and used under Creative Commons License.
Photo by Alexas_Fotos and used under Creative Commons License.


Guest Post: Breaking Barriers Through Dance

Chaz Bonnar, 24, shares his story so far, which has led to him using dance and the creative arts to “educate youth about positive health and wellbeing”.

A lot has changed for me over the last 10 years. Even though I came from a good area of Glasgow and had a good childhood, I still had my own issues to overcome, many of which stemmed from having poor self-esteem and zero confidence as a teenager.

During my formative years I found it difficult to make friends. To go out to places and meet new people proved difficult. On top of that I had no way to express the frustration I was feeling at the time.

That was until I came across Breaking (proper name for Breakdance) and Hip Hop culture at the age of 15. At first I saw it as something cool to do in my spare time – which I had a lot of! Then as the years went by I became attached to it and saw it as a great way to express myself.

Through involvement in Hip Hop culture it became easier to make new friends and embrace the positive lifestyle that came with that. From there, I’ve travelled a lot to attend Breaking events and become friends with people from all over the world.

Photo by Sasha Lee Photography and used with permission

At first dance was a hobby. It wasn’t until early 2015 that I saw myself making my income from it. I left university with an Honours degree in 2014, having no idea about what I wanted to do for work. After I left university, I was awarded a Travelling Fellowship from Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which allowed me to travel around America for 8 weeks – learning about community engagement, organising outreach projects and how Breaking + Hip Hop culture affects young people from deprived backgrounds.

I learned a lot about myself and gained a better understanding of the importance of continuous learning. The outcome of this Travelling Fellowship was a positive one. Solidifying my lifestyle choice to engage with dance and Hip Hop culture full-time.

All I could think of were the positive attributes of engaging with dance and Hip Hop culture. It gave me confidence and helped me to develop better social skills. In essence it’s made me the person I am today. If I wanted to keep this amazing feeling I get from dance, and Hip Hop culture, I would need to keep it a top priority in my life.

Having this in mind came with its issues. I would have people tell me I need to be more realistic about my career choice. That it’s difficult to make a good income through dance. In ways, they were telling me the truth, because I’ve heard of many people struggling with this. All you heard of were the problems they had. Including the sacrifices they made and the long hours of teaching/performing they needed to do to get by.

Then again, there’s always sacrifices to be made for whatever you do. Especially if you’re going to give 100% to make it work. Plus, there’s always somebody to ask you if it’s worth all the effort. It is – if it’s what makes you feel great. The personal association you have to your work is always a motivating factor.

Photo by Joan Elliot and used with permission

What makes everything even better is having the support of your closest friends and family members too. With their support you can do anything. Luckily I have amazing support from my friends and family. They encourage me to travel as much as I do and live the life I want. It’s how I’ve arrived at the point I’m at right now.

I’m able to educate youth about positive health and wellbeing, through Breaking and Hip Hop culture, and make it my full-time income, as well as making Breaking and Hip Hop culture more accessible through various events and community projects.

From this I personally believe everybody has the capability to live the life they want. It allows you to stay feeling great everyday of your life. Truth be told, it takes a lot of your time and energy to make it work, including long hours and a lot of persistence. However, it feels nothing like work and the rewards you get from it makes it all worthwhile.

We need more people, especially young people, living meaningful lives with their passions; otherwise we have more people complaining about their work. We already have too many people doing that!

It also takes a certain level of belief in yourself. To decide this is what you’re going to do and give 100% conviction to it. There’s always going to be people that challenge what you’re doing. As long as you’re doing what makes you happy and fulfilled, you’re on the right path.

Photo by Stevie Reilly and used with permission

Chaz is a dancer and filmmaker, who also organises international dance events and collaborates with other youth organisations.    You can find Chaz’s report on and follow him on Twitter, @ChazB.

Lost Communication

Inspired by the discussion on relationships in July and the emphasis on communication, this poem draws on our struggle to effectively communicate and how essential effective communication is for healthy relationships.

You talk to me,

I talk to you;



Sharing our thoughts,

Engaging in healthy discussion,

Solving conflict;

That is what communication,

Good communication, should be.

Somehow, we’ve lost it,

Unable to communicate productively

With each other;

Breakdowns leading to problems,

Petty arguments,

Pointless anger,

And worst of all,

Broken friendships,

Unhealthy relationships.

Our inability to communicate

Makes our relationships vulnerable,

Open to shots of assumption,

Bombs of misunderstanding,

And attacks from outsiders

Constantly looking in.

Embracing the technological

Rather than the physical,

Trying to solve domestics through DMs,

Airing dirty laundry on the TL,

When you should be looking into the eyes

Of the other,

Listening to the sound of their voice,

Coming from the movement of their lips,

Communicating the way

Nature intended it to be.

Too much time spent

Communicating with emojis,

Not enough time spent

Communicating with words from a dictionary.

Struggling to hold a conversation

Has become a regular thing,

Lacking substance,

A sense of maturity,

Making interactions boring.

It’s time to step up our communication,

Develop healthier relationships,

Spend more listening,

Less time yapping

And stop being so selfish;

Give more care to each,

Maturely talk through your mess,

But most importantly,

Peel your eyes away from that bright screen

To focus more on your loved one’s face.

Image by meijer and used under Creative Commons License.