Let’s Talk About Life Goals

Life Goals was the theme of our forum on June 20th, with the aim of inspiring young people and getting them thinking about the direction they want to take in life.

We started by revealing some of the goals we had, which included travelling the word, starting a business, keeping a job, embarking on a PhD, owning a house and starting a mental health charity for ethnic individuals.

Then it was time to hear from our first guest speaker, Daniel from Talk 2 Dan, which is an initiative that helps young people believe in themselves and develop the key skills they need to get into media.  He started Talk 2 Dan in January 2017, after being made redundant by Sky in December 2016 – “Everyone has a talent,” he says.

Daniel started out studying Personal Training at college, but then moved on to studying film and media – he won an award for a short film, which he says was “a big achievement for me.”  He then went on to study Broadcast Journalism at university, where his documentary, ‘Is Fast Food Killing Britain’s Youth?’ was singled out by an external examiner and he was asked to speak to the news.

He also had to deal with his mum dying, which “made me stronger.  More of a man.”  Daniel told us that “The best way for me to come to terms with this is speaking to people.”  Despite struggling with public speaking, Daniel overcame it by speaking to young people in schools.

As well as sharing his journey with us, Daniel laid out some steps for us to apply to our lives.  They included:

  • Not talking ourselves out of things
  • Having a positive mindset and visualising our future
  • Overcoming rejection
  • Digging deep
  • Remembering why you started.

Daniel believes that if you dream it, you can do it, and he told us that doing a lot of versatile things has helped him to figure out what he wants to do, which is make documentaries.  However, his main aim is to get young people to believe in themselves.

Our second set of guest speakers were Tatiana and Diego, the marketing manager and platform manager of Toptask.  Toptask is an app that links students to jobs around them, which was launched by a company called Student UK Ltd and I believe is a game-changer.

Not every student will want to commit to part-time work, so Toptask allows them to earn money when they have the time and also build their skills, providing them with experience that will benefit them when applying for jobs in the future.  “What really connected with me was originally looking for a job and remembering how hard it was to get a job without the initial experience,” said Diego.

Toptask is for young people and run by young people – all those hired to run the company are university students and recent graduates.  “We use the app ourselves and bring students in,” says Tatiana.

The app is exclusively for university students and those in further education college, as students applying for the jobs have to be over 18.  Tatiana also hopes that the company will be able to spread, as they are currently based in London.

There also seems to be a great personal element involved in Toptask, with Tatiana mentioning that she hears a number of incredible stories from the students she gets to know through the app.  Diego also told us, “I got to know an amazing group of young people from this job.”

We also had some more impromptu speakers on the day.  First, we heard from Don, who tried to become an MP in this month’s General Election.  Describing himself as being “political for quite a long time” and a former member of the Liberal Democrats – before becoming “quite disillusioned” after the 2010 General Election when the Tories came into power – Don was an estate agent for a year and a half.

He started in mid 2015 and saw how the house prices rose, and how difficult it was for young people to get on the property ladder, which he really didn’t like.  “Things are getting worse.  Property prices are getting higher… Things are getting harder and harder for people,” Don said.  He also touched on the generational divide and the fact that people are spending 50% on their rent.

“The problem I had in Croydon Central, which is the constituency I ran in, is that we didn’t have much chose… I think that’s unfair and that’s not what democracy is about,” Don explained to us about his reason to run in the election.  He wanted to do something now, rather than wait another five years – “If I can advocate for people… [and]… use the platform that I have, I consider it an obligation.”

Finally, we heard from Jamal, who recently got selected to take part in a 12-week performing arts programme called Amy’s Yard, which was set up by Amy Winehouse’s parents.  Jamal takes part in masterclasses, meets professionals in the industry and at end of the 12 weeks, those on the programme will be putting on a showcase in front of industry professionals.

Jamal is also planning to release a book, which is a compilation of short stories and poetry, which he started when he was in prison.  The book is based on everything he’s been through and everything he’s seen, but he first had to overcome his fear of sharing hat he’s been through.

As someone who tries to make a difference when he can, one of Jamal’s final points was, “I believe that if everyone actively gets involved in their community, we can make a big change.”

The ‘Influence of Music’ will be the topic of our forum on July 18th, so come ready for an interesting conversation.  I think this is going to be a lively one.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

It’s Time for Young People to Rise Up & Make Change

Last week, it was reported that 72% of 18-24 year olds came out to vote in the General Election.  The youth voice appeared to play a huge hand in the results, in which the Conservative Party lost their majority and culminated in a hung Parliament.

Young people were more engaged in this election and its results than I’d ever seen them before, having their say on politics and who they wanted to run the country.  This probably had a lot to do with Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, doing a great job in relating to young people and grime doing a stellar job of engaging young people.

However, young people began to find their own voice along the way and they were calling out for change on issues that effected them, because there are numerous factors effecting our lives that are intertwined with politics, even if we may not be interested in politics directly.  This includes getting on the housing ladder, benefits, mental health services, policies to address violent crime, education and a whole lot more.  We were stating that we want change.

Yet I must ask the question to all my young people out there, if you want change, what are you personally going to do about it?  Yes, you may have made your voice heard by casting a vote in the election, which is great, but what part are you going to play in creating change in community and society?

After the horrific Grenfell Tower fire, which has brought austerity measures to the fore in the most tragic way, young people have not been silenced and the way everyone has united to come together has been amazing.  On Twitter, I have seen numerous posts from young individuals demanding that the government and the “more powerful” individuals in society to be held into account, as austerity seems to have played a major part in this tragedy.

However, if we want to create real, lasting change then we as young people need to unite and do more than posting on Twitter, which some do and has definitely been the case during the Grenfell Tower incident, but it needs to be a much wider number.  Let’s create programmes, initiatives and movements that will allow us to become the change we need to see.  Let’s work together to challenge policies.  Let’s come together to topple the system, because that is definitely at the heart of the problem.

More and more, I’m beginning to realise that wider society and the powers that be want to keep young people down, and keep us silenced.  But if this election has taught me one thing, it is that we can’t, no, we refuse to be silenced anymore.

Young people are intelligent, clued up and full of potential, speaking raw, honest truth that is sometimes difficult for others to hear.  Our elders could learn as much from us as we can from them, but they need to stop putting us down or brushing us off and take the time to listen.

However, we also need to do more to make them hear us and make more movements so that they will genuinely take us seriously.  So keep making your voice heard, but shout louder.  Keep tweeting, but also make movements away from the screen.  Let’s do more to come together, and we can make real change happen.

What’s Coming Up for YPI in June?

Can you believe that we’re already halfway through 2017?  I think the year needs to calm down and slow itself a little bit.  Things aren’t slowing down at YPI though, with a full set of activities coming your way this month.

Next Tuesday is our first social event of the year and I’m excited about chilling with all of you in a more social setting.  We’ve brought back ‘Come Out to Play’, a games night where you can get social.  There will be food, prizes and plenty of good vibes, so don’t miss out, but unlike the forums and poetry nights, this event is strictly 18+.

If you’re planning on coming, why not register at Eventbrite: http://bit.ly/ypicome-out-to-play

The theme for this month’s forum is Life Goals, which I know is already going to be one of my favourites.  We’re going to have some amazing young people sharing their stories so far and answering any questions you might have.  Some have started their own business, while another is in the world of sports.

I’m going to keep the guests a surprise for now, so look out for more information on our social media channels or come down to Project B on June 20th and see who they are for yourself.  We’ll be meeting at the usual time of 6.30-8.30pm and of course, there will be snacks to munch on.  Let me know you’re coming by registering here: http://bit.ly/ypilifegoals

Our final event for June will be our poetry night on June 27th.  This month’s Poetic Insight theme is Life, so if you’re a young poet wanting to make your voice heard on any aspect of life, send an email to shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk or message me at 07910092565.

Make sure you save the date, otherwise you’ll miss a night of inspiring poetry.  Doors open at 7pm with performances starting at about 7.20pm and the event concluding at 9pm.  You can also register for the event at Eventbrite: http://bit.ly/poeticinsight-life

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

Raw Expression Shown at Poetic Insight

As you’ve probably seen us mention before, it was Mental Health Awareness Week earlier in the month of May, but at YPI we carried it all the way through to the end of the month, culminating with a mental health themed Poetic Insight on May 30th.

I had a feeling that it was going to be a special night, but I had no idea just how beautiful it would be.  The poets performed with a stellar rawness and each of them brought something different, sharing a little of themselves with all of us.

You could feel the emotion in the room, as everyone sat engaged with each poem, seemingly unsure of whether they should click or make sounds in agreement with what was being said.  There was a level of respect shown that was so amazing, I wish it could have been shared with an even wider audience.

Laurence was our first act of the night, telling the relevant and well-known story of Sarah Reed through spoken word.  On the other end of the scale, Rozita was our final act, sharing her experience about relationships and depression through spoken word and song.

Rhianna was brave enough to share a poem about her own personal journey with mental health, just as Tania bravely shared a poem about her experience with depression and the conflict it caused with a family member due to their faith.

Miss Yankey shared a piece of spoken word about what her friend went through, due to drug induced schizophrenia and psychosis.  Then there was Fahad, who delivered a powerful spoken word poem about bullying.

As if the night was not special or poignant enough, Angela, a member of the audience, asked to take the stage to share a few words about her experience dealing with mental health issues.  Tears flowed and you could hear a pin drop, as everyone in the room sat taking in her every word.  Young people like Angela being courageous enough to share their stories was why I started this platform in the first place, so I was so glad that she felt comfortable enough to share that with us.

 

All that’s left now is to say thank you to all of my wonderful performers – Laurence, Miss Yankey, Rhianna, Gus, Annotate, Sid, Fahad, Nazarene, Pekz, Authentic Alanie, Tania and Rozita – and of course, the wonderful Angela, for coming on to the Poetic Insight stage.  You make these nights amazing and you make me proud to be a young person.

The next Poetic Insight will be on June 27th and the theme will be Life, following on from our forum’s theme of Life Goals.  If you want to perform, email me at shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk or message me at 07910092565.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.