Looking Back, Moving Forward at Our Final Event of 2017

On December 19th, The Kickback joined with Poetic Insight for the first time for our final event of 2017, ‘Looking Back, Moving Forward’.  This was the time for us to have a conversation that looked back at another year of Young People Insight and considered how we could move forward, followed by poetry from amazing talent.

I started off by asking regular participants of YPI what their favourite thing about YPI was this year and what topics they most enjoyed talking about.  Alana’s favourite topic was Synthetic Beauty vs Natural Beauty, as she enjoyed listening to people and getting insight from others.  Andrae thought Culture was really important, because it is still going on right now.  Jamal really liked Life Goals, as he enjoyed having the opportunity to give insight and make new connections.

After looking back at what we spoke about this year, I wanted to know what topics individuals would like to see discussed at The Kickback next year.  Ideas included were:

  • Politics
  • What do you think of Donald Trump being president?
  • Travel and culture
  • Healthy relationships, also covering child sexual exploitation and paedophilia
  • How society determines your age
  • Image perception
  • Health, also covering obesity
  • What is poetry, which could be combined with Poetic Insight
  • Youth violence
  • Parallel realities
  • Going to uni does not lead to success in life
  • Purpose/existence

Coming up with topics was great and got me excited for next year, as dynamic and thoughtful discussions were taking place simply as we were choosing particular topics.  When talking about youth violence, Omar made a really great point, expressing that we’re all leaders in our own way and that we should be our own leader.

Another recommendation was a return to the topic of mental health, which was partly raised by representatives from OASIS, a local health service that offers support to young people aged 14-35, who are experiencing psychological distress and also does community work.

We are hoping that Carolyn, Sharon and Isaac from OASIS will be returning to lead out on a Kickback session next year and maybe put on a workshop of some kind, as we can definitely learn from them and they seem to understand how YPI can aid good mental health in young people.  Isaac thinks that the arts are a beautiful way of expressing themselves, while Carolyn believes that writing and performing has a really important impact on people’s well-being.

Beverly also responded to what Carolyn said about writing, telling us, “Writing is beautiful for me.  I can write what I feel inside of me.”

I also wanted to know what themes others wanted covered at Poetic Insight next year.  Recommendations were:

  • Existence
  • The Dark Side/Shadow Side
  • Survival
  • Dreams and Goals

When I asked what other events participants would like to see put on, Alana suggested debate nights and team building, while Jamal strongly put forward networking events.  We also spoke about what other organisations or individuals to approach to speak at future events or run workshops, as well as how others wanted to get involved.

We didn’t touch too much on what could be improved, although conversations were had about boosting the social media presence and maybe adapting the time that The Kickback begins.  However, I still would like to get advice on what improvements can be made and what else you may want to see happen over 2018.

After wrapping up our conversation and getting a little social, it was time to enjoy some poetry to see out YPI in 2017 just as it had begun.  Alana was first on stage with two incredibly open and honest poems that we all appreciated, followed by Jamal who shared two powerful pieces that had everyone entranced.

Lady Poe graced the Poetic Insight stage for the first time, captivating us with her beautiful words and deep imagery.  Diego returned for the second time, going real deep with a raw spoken word performance about family and life in the ends.

Miss Yankey returned to perform two fire spoken word pieces and Annotate finished off the night strong, sharing a beautifully personal poem about a friend who got stabbed.

It was another special night of inspiration and getting to know new faces, paving the way for even bigger things in 2018.  We’ll be back on January 16th, celebrating two years of YPI with a very special edition of The Kickback from 6.30-9pm.  The celebrations will continue on January 30th for a special edition of Poetic Insight, which will bring in music alongside poetry.  If you want to perform, send a message to 07910092565 or email shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk

Thank you to everyone who has been part of the journey and taken time to read the blog this year.  Have a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year.  I’m looking forward to seeing you in 2018.

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.

Participants Share Their 2017 YP Insight Experience Pt. 2

As we approach our final event of 2017, when we’ll be looking back at another year of Young People Insight, some of the individuals who have been involved in the platform this year will be sharing their YP Insight experience in 2017.  Today, some first time participants and regular attendants share what the YP Insight events have been like for them.

The Kickback was an engaging, insightful, honest evening that left me inspired and hopeful. To hear a plethora of voices, both young & old, was a real pleasure. We spoke of culture, identity, oppression and history; however the uniting thread was the human experience. These varying perspectives were offered a platform through ambient setting & fluid conversation; I look forward to going back.

– Jenniah


Young People Insight is an excellent platform that provides an outlet for young adults to come together and engage in relevant discussions regarding current affairs. In addition to this, it provides a forum for up and coming poets to perform poetry on a wide array of pertinent subjects.

The host and the regular YPI audience are respectful and welcoming, and each performer receives a warm reception, both prior to and after a performance. I hope that 2018 sees the same level of commitment from its founder, Shaniqua Benjamin, as 2017 has been a fantastic year for Young People Insight.

– Liam (Annotate)


YP Insight for me has really been outstanding, the work that has been put in to each event this year is exactly what is missing and definitely needed from local communities and boroughs. Where the government has failed to accommodate for the young people’s voices and opinions, YPI has done more than just pick up the slack. I definitely feel that young people of today haven’t really been given that platform to really speak up on issues that affect their lives and decisions made on their behalf.

Through the monthly forums and poetry nights, YPI is giving people the platform to be heard and feel like someone is listening and taking notice, but not just voice our issues and opinions. YP Insight has also been great for connecting with some great people who you probably might not have met anywhere else. I’ve seen regular guests at the events grow from strength to strength, they have come out of their shell so much and that’s all down to YPI, giving us that stage.

We live in a very social media orientated society so most people usually only post their opinions through online web forums and Facebook/Twitter, so to have that platform where we can all meet face to face has been great.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to attend all the monthly events throughout the year but the ones I have been to have always been fantastic. You can just see the passion and graft that has been put in from the special guests brought in designated to each specific topic. YP Insight has touched on things that this government has failed to deal with or control, such as mental health and cyber bullying – to be able to really get stuck into such discussions has been a breath of fresh air to say the least.

2017 has been a great year in terms of what’s already been done and I can only expect bigger and greater things ahead from the YP Insight project.

– Hakeem


Young People Insight was a great space to express myself and listen to others within the community. The personal and collective struggles we face are vocalised through general conversations, as well as poetic art forms.

The atmosphere is always warm – I wouldn’t consider myself shy, but the space in which YPI operates in makes me feel very eager to participate in the discussions which covered a broad range of topics.

I don’t really perform my poetry often so the chances I had at the poetry nights alleviated that aspect of myself, as well as hearing other talented poets voice their truths.

Above all else, the platform itself is amazing, to all those that contribute and attend there is a unifying aura which allows me to connect with the others very easily. Very well done to Shaniqua for manifesting such a conducive platform, on a personal level, as well as for the community as a whole.

– Gus


I performed my first poetry piece at Poetic Insight some months ago in the month of July. I saw it as an opportunity for me to share my work with others, work that I was proud of and enjoyed writing. Although I was reasonably nervous about performing, I knew I was going to perform that night and believed it would be healthy progression for my self-development.

From what I had seen of the poetry nights on the Poetic Insight Facebook page prior to my performance, it seemed immensely appealing. I wanted to participate in this gathering of young people within the borough I am from. Not only for poetry based reasons, but also for socialising needs.

I was intentional and proactive in my hope of broadening my social circle, and obtaining opportunities to meet a diverse range of people. This setting proved to be ideal for socialising with various people who also appreciate creative outlets such as poetry. The environment and atmosphere was welcoming, pure, relaxing, safe, and worthwhile. I look forward to future times together.

– Jadi-Ann

Participants Share Their 2017 YP Insight Experience

As we approach our final event of 2017, when we’ll be looking back at another year of Young People Insight, some of the individuals who have been involved in the platform this year will be sharing their YP Insight experience in 2017.  Today, a number of the poets who performed at our celebratory Poetic Insight back in January share the impact YP Insight has had on them.

First of all I felt it was a privilege for Shaniqua and the Young People Insight team to grant me the opportunity to celebrate the 1st birthday of YPI, especially as it’s fulfilling a wonderful purpose in so many people’s lives.

But secondly, I am also grateful as it was my first spoken word performance outside of university and it was perfect. The audience was amazing; the team was not also helpful but made me feel welcome to also participate in other projects such as writing a poem for the crowdfunding campaign that raised awareness for young people.

It’s propelled me into believing I can do anything I set my mind upon and made me look back on the year with a sense of accomplishment; ’til this day I still perform that poem.

I wish nothing but the best for Young People Insight .

YPI to the world and back!

– Daniel Johnson (DanielWrites)


My year with YP Insight has been an experience that I’ll never forget. It has allowed me to be a part of a creative community that have been really supportive of and key to my growth. Without their encouragement and advice, I wouldn’t be so confident in myself and my abilities.

Many of the young people I have met have become more than just those who I only meet at YP Insight’s events. Their reoccurring faces at events where I perform has allowed me to realise the importance of YP insight. This journey has been an amazing one and everywhere I go, every time I perform, I remember why I am able to do what I am doing today.

It is because of organisations such has as YP Insight who have enabled me to clearly articulate myself in a creative way, be comfortable with who I am and carry myself courageously whenever I am nervous or in a state of self-doubt. Not only have I been given the opportunity to perform at their open mic nights, but I have also performed at their other events, been a part of their crowdfunding campaign and participated in their forums.

– Jamal


My YPI experience began at the beginning of this year, when I attended a poetry event at Matthews Yard in January. I was unaware that the founder of YPI and the host of the event was Shaniqua Benjamin; and was pleasantly surprised to find it was, as we attended the same secondary school.

It was not planned for me to go, it was pretty much spur of the moment.
I was very nervous, and it was awesome that there was familiar faces there. I was not down on the list to perform that evening, but Shaniqua kindly managed to allow time for me to share, which was greatly appreciated.

My first ever performance was at a Young People Insight event, the audience was warm and receptive and it was a very lovely evening; filled with effortless talent.

Since this YPI has been nothing but supportive and encouraging, during their crowd-funding campaign I contributed a poem titled ‘Blessings’ and I was also involved in the Festive Fantasia projection project, highlighting the positives of Croydon, combining three poems and read beautifully by Shaniqua. I would not have had these opportunities had it not been for YPI, it is a brilliant youth platform which strives to allow freedom of expression.

– Ashan


Young People Insight. The name that means the world to me. And quite literally. The place that birthed me. The people that nurtured me. The movement that exerts itself to me. To you. To everyone.

Young People Insight singlehandedly created the performer that I am today. I’d started writing some pieces and I was honoured and overwhelmed to be invited by the founder of Young People Insight, Shaniqua Benjamin, to perform. I was invited into an environment where I finally felt at home. I finally felt that sense of belonging, the sense of having a family; of people who looked nothing like me, a vast amount of differences, yet we all had something in common. The love for the poetry, the love for the spoken word, the love for the rhymes, the love for the emotions. The love.

We all loved something about what we was hearing, and in a time like this love is all you need. And because of the likes of Young People Insight, we all, especially younger people, get to experience this beautiful sensation of life. Whenever someone asks me about how I got into spoken word, without a split second of hesitation, Young People Insight rolls of my tongue straight away.

The creatives behind the movement are nothing but genuine, caring, supportive and loving and I genuinely cannot thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me. They started my journey and God willing they see me throughout the entirety of my walk.

– Jack

Guest Post: My Review of Young People Insight in 2017

As we approach our final event of 2017, when we’ll be looking back at another year of Young People Insight, some of the individuals who have been involved in the platform this year will be sharing their YP Insight experience in 2017.  First up is regular attendee, Alana Monet-Telfer, who looks back on how much she has grown since getting involved in the platform.

I found being at Young People Insight this year one of the most inspirational, fun, and insightful experiences I have been too for a long time.

What I first like about this group is that you’re not just a person attending and listening – you become involved in the conversations, people want to hear your opinion, and the people do respect your opinion there; even if it does not match up with their own beliefs and opinions.

A difference of opinion or view at Young People Insight does not mean separation, or that people can’t get along. It means we can learn to understand each other, and even learn something new in the process.

It was not only my views that got me involved within the group. It was also being given the opportunity to lead a discussion topic out, with my own questions. For one night I was doing what the founder of the group does every month, which is to lead the conversation (the topic being Synthetic Beauty vs Natural Beauty), ask questions, and take down notes of a variety of answers from the people who attended to discuss this topic.

For me this would have been very difficult to do a few years ago, since I was not confident, and didn’t talk a lot when I first came to the group.  This has all changed since attending this group for nearly two years. My confidence has grown immensely thanks to their natural desire to hear my voice; and what I can offer to the others in that group.

I was encouraged to contribute as well, by writing my own spoken word poetry, to perform at their events. I have written spoken word poetry before, but never performed them, until I was offered to by Young People Insight.  This helped me get out of my comfort zone, improve my performance skills, and share a unique bond with every person who heard my poems, who could also relate to them in some way.

My spoken word skills were required also to help with a special project in Croydon called Festive Fantasia.  It felt great to write a poem, which had a huge and positive impact on the town of Croydon. It showed me that my words, the way I write them, and what I can give to the world, is vital and very significant.

I feel happy knowing that with the help of Young People Insight, I can help others find their importance, and share their gifts in their own way.

To conclude, I found Young People Insight a place I needed to be, to gain confidence, express myself as I am, and become the confident, creative, and continually succeeding person I am now.

Thank you, Young People Insight.

What’s Coming Up in December?

The year of 2017 is drawing to a close, which means that another year of YP Insight is coming to a close as well.  After celebrating our first birthday in January with Poetic Insight, crowdfunding during April and May, putting on TCFT Croydon in August and changing the name of our forums to The Kickback in October, we are coming to our final event of the year.

On December 19th, The Kickback will join with Poetic Insight for the first time for ‘Looking Back, Moving Forward’.

This the time of the year when we look back at everything that has taken place and give insight into what we liked, what worked well and what we think could have gone better.  We’ll also be looking into how we will be moving forward next, deciding on topics for The Kickback and Poetic Insight, as well what improvements need to be made.

Poetry and spoken word will also be added into the mix to break up the conversation and get you inspired throughout the night.  Performance slots are filling up fast, so if you would like to share some poetry or spoken word on the day, please email shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk or send a message to 07910092565.

We’ll be at Project B from 6.30-9pm this time, enjoying good conversation, amazing poetry and tasty snacks.  Make sure you’ve got the correct time in your notes or diaries, because you won’t want to miss any of it.  Let us know you’re coming by registering here: http://bit.ly/lookingback-movingforward

Also, if you haven’t managed to see the amazing poem written by Alana, Ashan and Jennelle yet for ‘Croydon’s Festive Fantasia’, don’t miss the chance to see the giant animation on North End or the Croydon High Street before it stops showing on December 23rd.

We’re also making plans for our second birthday celebrations next year, so if you would like to be involved somehow, please please email shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk or get in touch through social media.  YP Insight is all about collaborating and coming together to make change.  I look forward to seeing you soon.

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.

Relationships Formed at Poetic Insight

Relationships was the theme for Poetic Insight on November 28th, aptly following on from the topic of Online Dating at The Kickback a week before.  However, I wanted to emphasise that relationships are more than just romance, which let to a great mixture of poems on different types of relationships.

As you probably know by now, we love welcoming new performers to the Poetic Insight stage and this month was no different, with three individuals coming to the stage for the first time.  Diego was the first person to take to the stage, sharing a really sweet poem based on that elusive phrase, “I miss you.”  On the other hand, Kris closed out the show with a fire piece of spoken word about his relationship with London.

Newcomer, Chantelle, used poetical language to give us a very honest insight into a relationship she had with another poet.  Considering it was her first time at Poetic Insight, it was amazing at how open and honest she was with us.  Mahmoud was also incredibly open with us,  as we welcomed him back for the second time,  sharing a poem about a romantic relationship he had engaged in relatively recently.

Completing the line up for the night were what I would now call Poetic Insight veterans.  Rhianna graced the stage twice, first letting us know that she would always be there and then she got into a situation that a lot of us girls have experienced with guys who are not interested in relationships, but just casual hook ups.

Alana took to the stage twice as well, with two pieces of spoken word that focused on relationships that are often bypassed.  Her initial poem focused on developing the relationship she has with herself and the second one touched on our relationships with each other, as she urged us to integrate and show love to one another.

Annotate only came on stage once, but he shared two moving poems about family relationships.  The first was a beautiful poem about an estranged sister he misses, which he followed up with ‘Gratitude’, a really special poem about his younger brother who has autism and Down’s Syndrome.

We also had Kat from the production company, Electric Ray, present on the night.  Kat took the Poetic Insight stage towards the beginning to tell us about a project she is working on, which is all about estranged family relationships and possibly rebuilding those connections.  If you are interested in learning more, please email kat.airy@electricray.com

It was a really enjoyable night filled with talent and amazing people in the room, which I am continuing to forge and develop relationships with, and I can’t wait to carry these relationships forward.

Poetic Insight will combine with The Kickback on December 19th for our final event of 2017.  We’ll be ‘Looking Back, Moving Forward’ as I continue to develop Young People Insight going into its second year.  However, there is no theme for the poetry, so you can speak out on whatever you want, but you need to get in touch with me ASAP if you would like to perform, because performance slots are limited.  Email me at shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk or send a message to 07910092565 to let me know.

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.