Wishing You a Happy New Year

We’re in the final days of 2016 and I’m sitting here writing the final Young People Insight post of the year.  I cannot believe how fast this year has gone by and how much has been achieved since the first forum in January.

More young people have got involved, inspiring young individuals have shared their stories so far, we put on our first poetry night and last week we held our first ever social event.


It’s been a lot of work, but a whole lot fun, so I wanted to take this time to say thank you to all of you.  Thank you for your involvement, support and ideas throughout the year – Young People Insight wouldn’t work or exist without you.

I hope that you all have a very happy new year and that your 2017 is full of greatness.  I look forward to interacting with you more, learning more from you and developing Young People Insight so that it will make bigger changes in the community.

Here’s to a special and successful 2017.


Celebrating Live Mag UK: Insight from the Editors

In October, I wrote about the ending of Live Mag UK, the magazine (later online platform) that gave young people the chance to embrace their creativity and have a voice.  Unfortunately, Live came to an end at Christmas, but something that has had a huge impact on the lives of so many young people deserves to be celebrated.

Live Mag UK was all about youth culture, created for young people by the young people.  It provided invaluable journalism experience and opened doors to various avenues in the media industry.

I’m incredibly grateful to Live Mag for all they’ve done for me over the past year.  Through Live, I’ve been able to develop as a writer and more than anything, embrace my love for American sports.  Live gave me the opportunity to write about the trolling antics of Marshawn Lynch, Terry Crews’ response to the issues surrounding Ray Rice and domestic violence in the NFL, and the WNBA not getting the respect it deserves.  I’m going to miss that.

Live Mag UK

What made Live truly special though, was the people — both the contributors or members of the Live team — so it was only right for me to get a little insight from some of them into their time at Live.

Today you’ll be getting some insight from my two editors during my time at Live, Frances and Cherokee.  Both Frances and Cherokee made me feel comfortable, gave me the opportunities to write great stories and encouraged me in everything I do.

FrancesFrances can officially say that she was the last editor of Live Mag UK.  She had been coming to Live “on and off for a while” before starting an internship at Livity (the company that owns Live), and then was made deputy-editor after six months.

And why did Frances come to Live?  “It was quite simple really. I wanted to be a journalist and there was no one else offering journalism experience without having had any experience before (which is a problem that still frustrates me to this very day).  It just seemed like an awesome opportunity to learn and get my CV packed out with experience.”

According to Frances, what makes Live so special is “the fact that you can walk through our doors with no experience and access so many great opportunities.  It really is a great way to get your foot in the door if you’re interested in media…

“It’s also the fact that you can really be yourself.  The fact that young people can use it as a platform to discuss the topics they are passionate about or that I can come in wearing a snapback when I’m having a bad hair day (almost every other day) is also really important. There’s not that many spaces left with that kind of freedom, you know, to play grime on full blast at the same time as doing your work, that’s really rare.”

Frances will most miss “the Live contributors or as I like to call them the squaaaaad”, but she’s got a final message for all of them:  “I expect to hear big things coming from all of you guys in the near future! I expect you to do better than me, if this doesn’t happen I didn’t do my job properly…”

CherokeeBefore Frances, it was Cherokee who was editor of Live.  She joined in January 2014 as part
of the team relaunching the magazine, which had been out of print for over a year with a site that hadn’t been updated for a long time. “The new team and I were tasked with gearing up for the reveal of Live’s digital-only space as well as learn the ropes of working on an online publication.”

Cherokee “stepped into the role of editor in August 2014” and says “there is too much (ironically) I learnt to put into words.  The big thing for me, though, was self-belief. I know, I know, it sounds super cheesy, but when there isn’t anyone or anything else believing in the power of young people, there is Live.”

One of the things Cherokee misses about Live are the editorial meetings.  “The passionate, heated debates that kicked off in editorial meetings, for me, was always a reminder of how wrong the stale opinion that ‘young people don’t care about anything’ is. It was also a space that showed Live at its best – young people, engaging with other young people (who they may not encounter in their day-to-day life) about things that mean a lot to them.”

Cherokee has a final message for Live as well.  “Live is foremost a stepping stone. It was for me, as well as former editors, contributors and any other young person who worked on the magazine. This isn’t the end of your journey, nor should it be. An amazing thing is coming to a sad closure, yes, but you may very well be the person to continue the legacy of Live in a different way. It’s over, but not really – and that’s the exciting part.”

I’m going to miss Live, but it is definitely not the end of my journey.  This was highlighted when Frances and Sonia presented me with the ‘Passion for Youth’ award during the surprise ‘Live Mag Awards’.  I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Live Mag Award

Come back in a few days to get the insight from some of Live’s contributors.





Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you and I hope you enjoy your day, surrounded by people you love or maybe giving time to help those who have less than you.  This season is all about giving and spreading love, so let’s spread the good cheer and keep it going the whole year round.

I also wanted to take this time to say a big thank you for all of the support you’ve shown to me and Young People Insight this year.  It might have been through reading or sharing the posts, taking time to answer my questions or coming out to my short film launch.  It really does mean a lot.

So lots of love to you on Christmas day and I hope it brings you a ton of joy.

Merry Christmas

Launching My Short Film: ‘What Would You Say?’

As you know, last week I launched the short film I made with youth charity, Fixers, in my hometown of Croydon, where the film was also shot back in September.  There was a good turnout, as we enjoyed an intimate gathering in Project B to watch the film and engage in discussions.


The reaction to the film was great, better than I could have hoped for, and it definitely seemed to get people thinking, as a lively discussion followed.  In fact, people got so into the discussion that it was hard to stop it, which was a real positive for me, as I saw that I could definitely go further with this.

We spoke about the topics of sexual exploitation, various aspects of education and knife crime, amongst other things.  Yet what was interesting was that we regularly came back to the need for all of the community to work together.  It was a common belief that young people need to be supported and called into account for their actions by their parents and other members of their family, teachers, mentors and members of the community as a whole.


However, there was also the point that young people themselves have a lot to answer for.  One individual mentioned that young people aren’t afraid of the consequences when they do wrong, while another brought up the issue of resources — they are there, but young people choose not to use them.

Just like me though, we would all like to understand why some young people do the things they do, as getting to the root of those problems would help us in addressing and solving them.

It was great to hear all of the things that people had to say and I’ve taken a lot from the launch, which will allow me to take discussions further over the course of next year, which is when the really hard work begins.


Now I’ll leave you with some words by two of the participants from the film and one of the young people who attended the launch, followed by the film itself, ‘What Would You Say?’  I hope you enjoy watching it and please share your thoughts.

“It was good to take part… It’s quite an easy procedure and really enjoyable… [I’m] glad that I participated and good to be involved.  The launch was good.  A lot of issues within the younger people was addressed and it was good to hear other people’s opinions about the issues out there.”

– Jemel, 17

“It was an amazing experience and I’m so happy I was able to get the opportunity to be a part of an incredible project.  The words I recited in the video wasn’t a script to me, it was real life.  I was struggling with unemployment and felt so lost.  Those words were coming from my heart, Shaniqua couldn’t have worded it any better…

“The launch was inspiring!  To see something I was a part of come alive on the big screen was a great feeling. The questions Shaniqua threw out that began the discussions were eye-opening! It was such a deep, knowledgeable, and interactive conversation.  Everybody was vibing with each other, bouncing off one another and we all respected one another’s thoughts, even if we didn’t all necessarily agree.

“The launch raised some interesting and valid points.  At the time of filming, I was unemployed and getting nowhere in film, which is the field I studied for.  Two months later I’m now a Production Coordinator for a film company in London.  It was great to have two people come up to me and ask me how I did it.”

– Nahed, 23

“The launch was good, nice small intimate turn out… The short film was inspiring.  I love the monologue/poem everyone said.  But it was a reminder that I think everyone needed of how society is and what we need to do to go about making it a better place.  I learnt that we got work to do in our community and it starts with us wanting to make a change.”

– Giselle, 21

Improving support for young people dealing with self-harm

An increasing number of young people are engaging in self-harm, which is worrying, as it shows that it has become more common.  It’s sad when any young person resorts to self-harm, but sometimes it seems like the only option — I know, because I’ve been there.

However, there seems to be so little that young people know about self-harm — I was unaware that it was mental health problem until I actually started researching into it — and so many of them hide their self-harm that the official numbers are unclear.

There is also the question of why some young individuals feel afraid to tell someone that they’ve been self-harming or if they know where to get the help the need.  Although there is an increase in information and services available, more needs to be done to raise awareness of the information and services, so that young people know where to go for support and/or a helping hand.

Photo from mirror.co.uk.
Photo from mirror.co.uk.

In order to do this though, it is important to hear from the young people themselves, to learn what they understand about self-harm and how they think support available for them can be improved.

Young People Insight has developed a survey on self-harm with the young mental health charity, Off The Record Youth Counselling Agency, for 13-19 year olds who are living, working or studying in the borough of Croydon.  We want to gather knowledge on their experiences with self-harm, so that more detailed information will be available to help young people in Croydon dealing with it.

Self-harm affects a lot of young people and there should be as much support as possible, in order for them to work through it and learn to deal with their emotions in a safe, effective way.  This survey will allow us to help young people dealing with self-harm, so please click the link and share it for us to reach as many young people as possible: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/59LDVYB

Lay Down Your Weapons – Case: Knives

It is interesting to read this young person’s thoughts on knife crime and where she thinks the issues stem from.

Hopefully more young people will take some of these things into consideration and put down their knives.

It is pointless to ruin the lives of yourself and others with one little mistake involving a knife.


First things first, this post is not intended to cause offence to anyone and if you are offended then I do apologise in advance but this is my opinion. In despite of my sarcasm, this post should be taken seriously as the issues described are of a sensitive nature.

Unfortunately we have no choice but to live in a world where crime is inevitable, think about it – if crime did not exist a lot of people would be out of a profession because some occupations only exist due to crime being present. Imagine a world with no law enforcement agents…

So, one can assume that crime exists so that society has a balance, Functionalist thinkers believe that society would collapse and fail without crime. What do you think? Did you ever think of crime as a way for society to function? Probably not.

However, although we are faced with…

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To be young and poor is a criminal act.

Being young and constantly losing support from the government can be difficult, especially when so much seems to be working against us.

This is why it is important for us to be the change and vote in the upcoming elections, as together we can make a difference.


If there’s one group of people that have been repeatedly on the wrong end of the cuts, it’s young people. No more EMA, no more youth service. No more Connexions, no more jobs, no housing benefit and now, you’ll be put on workfare if you can’t find a job that doesn’t exist.

The idea is that 18-21 year olds will have 6 months to find a job. If they don’t manage to do that, they’ll be put on “Youth Allowance” (which, conveniently is the same amount as JSA – £57.35 a week) and be told they have to undertake 30 hours a week of community service. And 10 hours of job searching. £57.35 a week for 30 hours work comes out at just over £1.90 per hour.

According to the first thing that popped up when I typed “unemployment statistics young people” into Google, 740,000 16-24 year olds were unemployed…

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