What’s Coming Up This February?

We’re now in the month when many people think about love and romance, although we’re always about love at YP Insight.  We’ve got some positive and love-related events coming up though, which I’m excited about.

The Kickback on February 20th will be the first YP Insight event I will unfortunately be unable to attend, as I will be on a youth trip to Brussels, which I hope will enable me to create some change.  I’m admittedly a little anxious about not being at a YP Insight event, because this platform is my baby, but I am excited to leave it in the capable hands of Stephen.

Stephen led out on The Kickback in November, when we discussed his chosen topic of ‘Online Dating’, but this month he’s back to lead out on the conversation that will be asking the question, ‘What is Happiness?’

It’s set to be another enjoyable evening filled with captivating conversation, from 6.30-8.30pm in Project B.  Register for the event here: bit.ly/letstalkhappiness

We’re bringing ‘Love & Hate’ back to Poetic Insight on February 27th, since love and hate are two sides of the same coin.  Even though it’s Valentines month, you don’t have to talk about loving or hating in a romantic way – you can interpret the theme as you will.

If you’re a young poet or spoken word artist wanting to perform, please email youngpeopleinsight@gmail.com or send a message to 07910092565.  Remember to save the date, be at Project B between 7-9pm and register for your free tickets here: bit.ly/loveandhate-poeticinsight

I hope that you will come to support Stephen at The Kickback and I hope to see some of you at Poetic Insight, so I can spread the love with you beautiful people.  Enjoy the rest of February.

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.

Celebrating Two Years at Poetic Insight

One thing that remains constant about Young People Insight is that I never know what to expect – apart from being sure of dynamic conversation at The Kickback and being inspired at Poetic Insight.

Any thoughts or notions I had about Poetic Insight on January 30th completely went out the window once the event finally came around, which was a little hard for me to take at first, but it was a reminder to never have expectations because it means you can never be disappointed.

Celebrating two years of YP Insight made it a special night, especially with the presence of cake and singing ‘Happy Birthday’ at the end with some amazing people, but it was tough having over half of the artists on the set list drop out.  Attendance numbers were also vastly lower than the first birthday celebrations, but as I have to keep reminding myself, I cannot focus on the numbers and I need to remember why I started this platform in the first place.

YP Insight is about young people having an outlet to make themselves heard and be listened to by others in return.  It is giving young poets an opportunity to develop their confidence on a stage and share their work for the first time.  It is about creating a caring community of individuals that supports, motivates and respects each other.  It is about changing the life of even just one person; numbers should not be a priority.

As I said earlier, it was a special night and the poetry was stellar as usual.  There is so much young talent around, it’s unfair that they are consistently overlooked.

DanielWrites returned to the Poetic Insight stage for the first time since performing at the celebrations for our first birthday last January.  He went back to the “classics” and shared two beautiful poems.

Taking to the Poetic Insight stage for the first time was Mia, who shared her compelling spoken word poem, Questions, inspired by regular questioning.  Mia was also the first poet on our stage asked to repeat her poem in its entirety – Questions definitely went down well.

Stephen also came onstage for the first time and shared work that he wanted to get feedback on.  His deep words provided us with a greater insight into who he is, which was very special.

Laurence was the final individual to jump onstage, wowing us with David Clapton, a powerful political piece that forces you to consider the broken benefits system.

I also performed, getting political with some spoken word poems of my own, focusing on various American sports leagues and the issues prevalent in them.

A huge thank you has to go out to Daniel, Mia, Stephen and Laurence for sharing their work on the night, and a huge thank you also has to go out to everyone who came on the night.  I appreciate all of you.

Poetic Insight returns February 27th and the theme will be ‘Love & Hate’, as it’s Valentine’s month and all.  If you would like to perform, email youngpeopleinsight@gmail.com.  Looking forward to seeing you again 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.

Celebrating Two Years at The Kickback

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.

Looking Back at Two Years of Young People Insight

I can’t believe it has been two years already; time has flown by ridiculously fast.  Thinking back to my first forum (as it was known then) in January 2016, when I had finally thrown myself into the deep end and was getting an idea of what people wanted for the platform, I never imagined how far it would come.

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to start a platform that genuinely impact the lives of young people not just for a season, but for years to come.  Too often, initiatives start and then disappear into the ether – I did not want Young People Insight to be one of them.

This has required a great level of commitment and strength over the past two years, as it is easy to become inconsistent and not take a voluntary role seriously.  However, I am deeply serious about YP Insight, which I hope shines through, and I determined to make a real difference in my community through this platform.

Nevertheless, there have been countless occasions when I have wanted to give up entirely.  Some times it was due to getting caught up in the numbers game, believing that there was no point of carrying on if barely anyone was there.  On other occasions, I questioned if I was making any difference at all.  And then there were the times when life had gotten too much, as I battled with grief, believing in myself and being burnt out.

Through it all, I prayed though and was continuously reminded of why I was doing this in the first place.  I wanted to reach out to young people, empower them and gave them a space to not only make their voices heard, but actually feel that they were being heard in a safe environment where they would be welcomed, loved and accepted.

From what others have told me, I have succeeded in creating this type of environment, which makes me feel touched and extremely happy.  I always feel great inside when individuals feel comfortable enough to open up and share their personal stories – that is what YP Insight is all about.

For me, some of the most special moments at our events have been when people have opened up unexpectedly.  One particular occasion was when Angela took to the stage at our Mental Health themed Poetic Insight to share her experience with mental health problems, which had the room entranced and members of the audience in tears.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.

I guess that leads on to some of my favourite memories over the past two years.  I always love having guest speakers at The Kickback, and I especially loved when Stephanie, Matthew, Frances, Kyle and Jason shared their dreams and inspirational stories so far when we focused on the topic of Dreams in May 2015.  Everyone was incredibly engaged and each of their stories was inspiring – that event felt like a real turning point for me.

Stephen leading out on the Online Dating edition of The Kickback was also one of my favourites, as the conversation was so much fun and Stephen did a brilliant job on leading out on a session for the first time.  I’m looking forward to seeing more of that this year.

One of my funniest memories was at our first games night in December 2016.  We were playing charades and Darnell acted out one of the most intense, hilarious sequences I’d ever seen when he was given the song, Hit Me Baby One More Time.  Words cannot describe it, you needed to have been there to see it.

Some of my most stand out YP Insight memories have come from the poetry nights.  There was of course, Poetic Insight: Mental Health in May 2017, which resulted in a level of raw emotion in the room that I had never seen before.  Celebrating our first birthday at Poetic Insight was a truly special occasion, with a full room of support and some ridiculously talented poets.

April’s Poetic Insight will forever be a stand out for me as well, because it was pure fire, which included Annotate’s poem about young people that perfectly sums up YP Insight and our first ever wheel up for first-time performer, Tania.

I’ve loved watching first-time performers take to the stage, sharing a bit of themselves with us and growing in confidence.  One of my proudest moments last year was watching Jack, a first-time performer at Poetic Insight in January, as a feature at Well Versed Ink‘s poetry night.  Occasions like that make YP Insight worth it.

It’s also been a joy to watch young people grow in confidence and feel able to make their voices heard, or lead out on events for the first time.  It’s meant a lot to be able to watch friendships form and new connections develop.  Most of all, I’ve cherished being a part of the journeys of these individuals and observing the great things the continue to do in their lives.

I’ve learnt and gained a lot over the past two years, and I’m continuing to learn more all the time.  There is still a lot of work to do in order for me to take YP Insight to new heights and I intend to get even more happening this year – I wanted to have implemented workshops from last year, but unfortunately that did not happen.

One major factor is that I cannot do all of this all myself, so building the right team is going to be one of the priorities for 2018.  If you’re interested in joining the team, get in touch at youngpeopleinsight@gmail.com

I want to finish by saying a huge thank you to all of you who have supported and been involved in YP Insight over the past two years – none of this would be possible without you.  I hope that this platform continues for many years to come and that it will empower a number of young leaders for our present and future.

January 2018 Means Two Years of Young People Insight

Happy New Year beautiful people!  I hope the start of 2018 has been good for you and that great things will be in store for you this year.  Unfortunately, I’ve started of this year with the flu, combined with feelings of stress and self-doubt, but I’m fighting to believe in myself and put plans in place to make this the best year for Young People Insight yet.

January 2018 means that we have come to two years of YP Insight, which honestly blows my mind.  I cannot believe that YP Insight has been going for two years as a physical platform after the foundations of the blog were set.  We’ve been able to enjoy a whole host of thought-provoking conversations, plenty of powerful poetry and some fun-filled socialising.  I just know that 2018 is going to bring a whole lot more of that.

We’ll be starting off the year with The Kickback on January 16th, when we’ll be celebrating two years of YP Insight.  As this is a special occasion, this will be no ordinary edition of The Kickback.

Not only will the event be longer, running from 6.30-9pm, but we’ll be welcoming a number of special guests who have played a part in my journey of setting up YP Insight and helping it to become what it is now.  They’ll also be telling you a little bit about the work they do, making this an event that you do not want to miss.  You can register for the event here: http://bit.ly/kickback-celebrating2years

The celebrations don’t stop there though.  We’ll be celebrating our second birthday at Poetic Insight as well, which I am especially excited about after the amazing celebration of our first birthday at Poetic Insight in 2017.

This won’t be an ordinary edition of Poetic Insight either, as rappers and singers are invited to take to the stage, as well as poets and spoken word artists.  If you would like to perform, please email youngpeopleinsight@gmail.com or send a message to 07910092565.  But if you would just like to watch or are still thinking about performing, you can get for your free tickets here: http://bit.ly/poeticinsight-celebrating2years

I’m really happy that YP Insight has reached two years and I would love for you all to come and celebrate, so you can share the happiness with me.  I hope to see you at The Kickback, Poetic Insight or both.  Have a great 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.

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.

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.