Our Founding Director, Shaniqua, speaks on the winding down of YPI, how she came to this decision and the platform’s legacy going forward.
Going Back to the Start
Five years ago, I realised that I wanted to start a platform. A platform for young people to make their voices heard, away from screens. I wanted to give young people a space to speak about what was important to them, without being talked about, talked at or talked over. I wanted young people to branch out from their bubbles to learn from those who weren’t like them. I wanted to create the space I needed when growing up, but didn’t have.
I wrote a ton of lists and ideas. I got feedback, but I was struggling with confidence and the right space to hold my events. But by the end of 2015, that had all changed. By God’s grace and miraculous intervention, I had developed the confidence I needed and found the space where I could bring my events to life. So, on January 2016, Young People Insight launched as a physical platform, making the move from a blog to real life (I started YPI as a blog in 2014).
From January 2016 to December 2019, I put on monthly discussion groups, adding a few online conversations on Instagram Live this year. Then after a little taster in November 2016, I added monthly poetry nights to the YPI umbrella from January 2017 to December 2019, with an online poetry night on Instagram Live this year too. Along the way, there have also been social events, workshops, collaborations and other creative or community related activities. The blog has remained regularly active too.
Time to Wind Down
It has been a beautiful, insightful and educational experience in a lot of ways, but after four and a half years, I have decided to close down YPI as a company and scale down the platform for good. This wasn’t the easiest decision to make, but it was the right one.
I don’t think everyone realises this, but I have been running YPI single-handedly, on a voluntary basis, for the past four and a half years. That’s right, single-handedly – I am the director, events manager, marketing team, social media manager, communications team, editor, and more. There were certain events when I was facilitating the conversation, taking notes and taking photos – it’s not like I didn’t want to find a team, I tried.
As well as being fulfilling, life-changing and wonderful, running YPI has been draining, time-consuming, frustrating and lonely at times. It’s taken a lot out of me over the past four and a half years, with me getting burnt out at least twice. Over the past year, it has begun to weigh down on me while preventing me from pursuing projects I’m more passionate about.
I don’t think I have the capacity within to give my best to YPI anymore and I like to give my best to everything I do. I also have a number of new things coming up, both community and creative focused, which will require a significant amount of my time, so this definitely seemed like the right moment to wind YPI down.
Also, with me about to turn 28, I have literally outgrown YPI. I always set it up to be a purely peer-led organisation, so I am hoping that the young people who have engaged with YPI will build on the foundations I have created with their own ventures. Through them, the legacy of YPI will never die.
The Legacy Will Continue
The legacy will not only continue through the YP Insight Family, but it will continue through a book that I am going to collate with gems from our conversations, beautiful poetry, some of the blog posts, your lovely testimonials and a variety of vibrant photos. YPI will be immortalised forever and your words will go even further in the world.
YPI won’t just disappear immediately either. I’ll be going back to the start, when YPI was solely a blog, by keeping the blog going for at least a year for you to look back on all the content and share your poetry, stories or personal experiences. It is so important that your voices continue to be heard, so please keep contributing.
I’m also planning to have a goodbye party next year, so we can get social and see YPI out properly. I also want the chance to hug you all and hear your voices in person.
Thank You YP Insight Family
This is just the end of a chapter, which is exciting and paves the way for more greatness to come. I’m simply stepping aside so more of you can shine, which I know you will. I’ve been blessed to meet so many amazing individuals through YPI, who have changed me for the better and helped me grow as a leader. You’ve taught me through conversations, inspired me through poetry and supported me along my journey. Without YPI, I wouldn’t know some of the awesome creatives or beautiful friends in my life. I wouldn’t change meeting any of you for the world.
Thank you so much for all you’ve given me over the years and being part of my journey. The YP Insight family will forever have a special place in my heart, so stay in touch and know that I will continue to support you in any way I can.
All that’s left to say is I love you and see you in person next year.