On January 16th, it was The Kickback with a twist as we celebrated two years of Young People Insight. There wasn’t a discussion this month; instead we heard from a number of speakers who had supported me along the way.
After I told the story of how YP Insight came into being, we heard from Ian, who provided plenty of advice and support during my time at LNK between 2013 and 2014 – “I’ve got a fantastic admiration for her determination and what she’s achieved.”
Ian told us that he started out running a youth enterprise charity and was later commissioned to work with young people by the council. Ian continues to work with young people (he currently works with refugees) and previously worked with individuals in foster care or young offenders.
Ian gave us plenty of words of encouragement and useful anecdotes, including:
- “If you want to feel good, give a gift to somebody else.”
- “We’ve all got a passion… Try and get out of a comfort zone.”
- “Believe in one another.”
- “Saying thank you is a great gift.”
Ian also introduced us to Mohammed – a young man who met Ian at LNK – who shared his story with us. Mohammed came from a care background and got onto Springboard, which led to him getting on to a hospitality programme and he has now cooked for celebrities and high-profile individuals. “If you have a passion, go for it,” he told us. “Don’t give up on your dreams.”
We later hear from Frances, the final editor of Live Mag UK (which came under the youth-led creative network, Livity), who has also worked at different media organisations. “I think it’s a really amazing project and I hope it grows,” she expressed about YP Insight.
Frances started out as an intern for Live Mag after graduating from university, as she wanted to be a journalist. “Live was really important,” she said. “You could be writing about American Football and then the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Frances’ advice and encouragement during my time at Live Mag played an important part in helping me to become a better writer and develop in confidence. Frances was also one of the young people I had speaking at the forum on Dreams back in May 2016.
Joan from Off The Record was next to speak. Joan is a community development worker, mainly for people from a BME background, who I met through social media. We worked together to create a survey on self-harm, which was a collaboration I enjoyed and gained a lot from.
Joan expressed that YP Insight is young people leading the way and she believes that there should be more of it. She also thinks that there are so many people doing things for young people without young people in the room, which needs to change.
Naomi, who is developing as a music producer and is part of a project that helps young people to put on live music events, called Tun Up, shared the role she has had in my journey. From when I met her on the Creative Futures programme in 2014, to when we solidified out friendship in Bosnia as part of The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT) in August 2015, to being part of my short film with Fixers, What Would You Say, in September 2015.
Andrae – who currently works in finance for the NHS and is a co-founder of the fashion brand, L’S UP Official – was the final speaker of the night. I met Andrae back when I was at LNK and we were later on the Creative Futures programme together. He has been a constant at YP Insight since the first forum in January 2015, regularly contributing to conversations, bringing friends and networking like a pro – YP Insight “gave me confidence to speak out,” he said.
When funding was offered at the end of the Creative Futures programme, Andrae did not get it, because he didn’t really know what he wanted to do at the time. However, being on the programme helped him to figure out what he wanted to do. I remember him telling me that he wanted to design clothes all those years back, so seeing him with his own fashion brand now makes me extremely proud.
I also read out words from my supporters who could not be present on the day. First there was Alison from In Place of War, one of the leads from the Creative Futures programme, who always believed in my abilities and introduced me to TCFT. Teresa from Incredible Brilliant Youth, one of my mentors and former Talent Coach, who has played a major part in helping me to increase my confidence.
Tina, the director of TCFT, another one of my mentors, constantly providing me with advice and guiding me in my growth as a youth leader. And last but not least, Jes of Crowdfund 360, the brilliant individual who trained and enabled me to run a successful crowdfunding campaign last year.
To end, I asked if anyone wanted to share their favourite moments from YP Insight over the past two years. Rebecca said that hers was when Alana was speaking about what she wants in a man during our forum on Dating and Romance.
Jason liked the forum on Violent Crime, because of the dynamic of the different ages coming together with the representatives from JAGS Foundations. He also said, “One thing I like about yours is you always have the best snacks.”
However, my favourite moment of the night was Fez, a YP Insight newcomer, being amazingly open with us. Fez was brave enough to share a bit of his past and speak publicly in a group of this particular size for the first time. Those moments are what Young People Insight is all about and it is individuals like Fez who motivate me to do what I do.
Thank you to everyone who has supported and I hope that you will continue to celebrate with us at Poetic Insight on January 30th, from 7-9.30pm in Project B.
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.