Our Founding Director, Shaniqua, shares how YPI will be changing this year and why these changes are taking place.
We’re well into January 2020, which officially means that YPI has been going as a physical platform for four years, and has been a Community Interest Company for one year. I still can’t believe how long YPI has been going for and that I’ve managed to keep it going all this time. With that being said, it’s time for some changes.
I mentioned last month that I would be updating you on the changes that will be taking place with YPI and I’m sticking to my word. I intend to be as transparent with you as possible, because that’s what YPI is all about and the example I’ve tried to set as its leader.
What is Changing?
YPI will be a lot quieter on the events side this year, with The Kickback and Poetic Insight no longer taking place on their monthly basis. It’s not my intention for them to be gone forever – The Kickback in particular – but they are taking a backseat right now in their current format.
However, we are currently engaged in an exciting, new creative programme with the Museum of Croydon, which will get the voices of young people heard and include tailored Kickback sessions, so The Kickback is not disappearing entirely. There is also the opportunity for specific and special Kickback sessions later on in the year.
What is also exciting is that we will be starting a podcast, called you guessed it – the YPI Podcast. I can’t take the credit for this, as it was the brainchild of Elliott, who has written a few posts for the blog in the past few months.
Elliott will be the main lead on the podcast, with me actually in a supporting role, but we are looking to train up a young host, so they can learn skills and take on the role going forward. They are likely to replace me first, as I am older than Elliott and don’t plan to be hosting the podcast forever. Follow us on SoundCloud so you don’t miss the first episode, which we hope will be coming soon. We’ve got some great topics and conversations in store for you.
The blog will continue to operate as well, as I want you to have your voices heard and for your stories to be told. It would be great to get some more poems on here too. I’ll also still be around for you to talk to, to offer advice and pass on opportunities or events, as I would never want you to miss out.
Why is it Changing?
However, I am taking a big step back from YPI this year, which is the reason for these changes. I have been running YPI singlehandedly for the past four years, with a little support and input from others here and there, but it has been me doing the majority of the work and it’s exhausting.
I am trying to develop a company, while still managing all the events, marketing through numerous avenues, doing admin and logistics, maintaining contact and relationships with young people, contacting individuals and organisations, and having meetings. Alongside all of this, I am self-employed and endeavouring to grow as a creative, which is tough. YPI often takes me away from getting into that freeing creative space I need to be in and stifles the energy I want to give to being a spoken word poet. I cannot let that continue, for my own emotional health and state of mind.
YPI has also become quite stale, because I haven’t had the energy, time and young people to bounce ideas off of to revamp it. I need fresh eyes. I also need fresh hands, because as is probably clear, I cannot do it all myself. I need more young people to actively get involved and want to engage off their own back (it also takes a lot of time to personally contact people to undertake tasks), as the point of YPI is for it to be peer led – young people actually running the events and organisation.
I never intended to run YPI forever – it was always my plan to pass it on to a group of young people, who would then pass it on, and so on. However, there seems to be this idea that I would be attached to it forever, and that is not the case. I planted the seed, now I would like to help others to nurture it as it grows.
Originally, I intended to launch a programme that would upskill young people this Spring, but I am going to push that back for now and maybe return to it later in the year. If not for the confirmed programme with the Museum of Croydon and the podcast, I would be taking full time away from YPI for at least six months, not only to allow me to recharge as a creative but also have sufficient time to plan ways to revamp YPI and make it more sustainable.
Will You Contribute to Change?
I don’t want YPI to be another one of those Croydon organisations that’s just disappears, and I don’t want to let any young people down, but it has become too much for me as one person. I also don’t enjoy it as much anymore, which is sad, but that’s my truth.
YPI will still be present, so it’s not gone entirely, but if engagement remains low and I have no one to pass it on to, then unfortunately it will be gone entirely relatively soon. Most people don’t realise, but I’m 28 this year, so I’m continuing to move away from the age group YPI was set up to work with, and I want to emphasise that this organisation is about being peer led. I won’t be leading out forever. However, YPI is here now, so please make the most of it and make your voice heard.