When people learn about or get involved with Young People Insight, the question I am most commonly asked is: “Why did you decide to start something like this?” No matter how many times I am asked this question, it still throws me a little, as I know that I will take a full story to explain.
I started YPI, because I wanted to empower the voices of young people and ensure they knew their voices mattered, as I often felt that mine didn’t. I started YPI, because I wanted all young people to feel they belonged somewhere and never feel as lonely as I felt. I started YPI, because I wanted to create a space where young people expanded their mindset by stepping out of their comfort zones, which was the case for me.
All in all, I started YPI, because I knew young people and young adults needed it. Leaving the teenage years and entering into adulthood can be an awkward time, which we are left to navigate on our own. I set up YPI to be a bridge that eases the transition, which is why it is aimed at 16-26 year olds.
However, if I was going to answer with one sentence, I would say that I started YPI because I wanted to be the change I wanted to see.
Before starting the YPI blog in 2014, making change was something I regularly spoke about, but not really doing anything about. Once I started the blog and spent more time interacting with young people at a charity in Croydon, I knew that I wanted to create a platform for young people to make their raw, authentic voices heard, come together from behind a screen in the process.
I had ideas upon ideas written down in notebooks from 2014, but if you knew me at that time, you would know that my confidence was basically shot and I continuously doubted my abilities. Once I finally developed that confidence and began believing I could do more than I thought, YPI was ready to be launched as the physical platform you know in 2016.
Since launching YPI in 2016, I believe that I have been the change I want to see, despite always wanting to be a greater change in society as a whole. I especially want to reach more young people, because I know there are more out there who will benefit greatly from being part of the YP Insight family and building the confidence they need to be the change themselves.
It has been a struggle to keep YPI going over the past three years, but it is the young people involved in the platform who keep me going (partnered with the resilience and will God gives me). They inspire and uplift me at events, especially with the bravery shown when sharing their poetry. I want to continue sustaining and developing this platform not only for them, but for every young person who is yet to be a part of our family.
I cannot stress how much I have learnt and grown, through building up YPI and the various events that have been put on. I’ve developed skills as a host, facilitator, events manager, poet and so much more. I’ve also gained knowledge on a variety of topics – which I can honestly say rarely crossed my mind before – including modern slavery, young carers and psychosis. The more I know, the more I want to know.
Starting YPI has made me a better, stronger and even more understanding person. It’s taken me out of my comfort zone, and continues to do so, which is not so terrifying anymore. I’ve come to embrace it, which is why I finally got it registered as a Community Interest Company this year.
Making YPI official was something I have wrestled with continuously, especially when there were so many moments when I wanted to walk away and put an end to it altogether. I’m so glad I persevered though, as I can finally say that I’m the Director of my own company, which is something I always wanted.
Three years is a short space of time in the grand scheme of things, but to keep YPI going for this long feels like a great achievement to me, especially when I have seen a number of initiatives in Croydon come to an end during this time.
So to everyone who has supported Young People Insight over the past three years, and to everyone who supported my journey even before that, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I could not have kept this platform standing without you. And to every member of the YP Insight family, I love you all so much.
Here’s to many years more.