fbpx Celebrating youth social action: Young People and Communities Conference, HeadStart Action - London Youth

18 July 2023

A group of young people standing in the lobby at the conference.


“To hear first-hand from the young people about their social action programmes and the difference it makes to them, and their communities was inspiring. So, it’s important that space is made for young people’s voices to be heard.”

— Pauline Daniyan, Director of Engagement at London Youth



The first ever Young People Communities Conference, brought together over 200 young Londoners alongside influential people, such as business leaders, youth sector leaders and political representatives. The event was held on Friday 16 June 2023 at City Hall and run by The Mayor of London’s Civil Society & Sport team.

The London Youth’s HeadStart Action team and our programme partners, Family Action, were really excited and proud to attend the conference. We were also joined by eight of London Youth’s member organisations who are delivering the HeadStart Action programme. A big shout out to Leaders in Community, Project Zero, The Wickers, London Tigers, Streets of Growth, Newark Youth, 2-3 Degrees, and Oxygen who brought their wonderful youth practitioners and young people along to the event to lead and drive conversations.


How does positive local community action make a stronger city?

A group of young people standing in front of a tv screen in the lobby.We delighted in the interactive group discussions to tackle this question, covering several topical issues like social justice, mental health and wellbeing, and community safety. Different perspectives from HeadStart Action, My London and the Young Ambassadors programmes stimulated and inspired us.

Some exciting guest speakers lead the way, including the Executive Director of Communities and Skills at the Greater London Authority, and the Deputy Mayor. We celebrated truly tear-jerking and inspiring performances from young people from Streets of Growth and Project Zero. They shared their incredible story on how participating in youth social action has impacted them, along with a musical performance that represented the growth and shaping of their journey of who they are today.

After a fantastic evening of great conversations, we caught up with Mohamed Elmessiah (Marketing Insights Manager at Leaders in Community), and Kulsama (a young person and participant of the HeadStart Action programme run by Leaders). They both shared their thoughts and experiences of the Young People and Communities event:

“Attending the Young People & Communities Conference was an incredibly inspiring experience that left me with valuable insights and a renewed sense of motivation. I was amazed by the power of young people when given the opportunity to make a difference in their communities, and the event showcased numerous successful social action campaigns led by passionate individuals. It emphasized the importance of empowering youth, fostering collaboration, and ensuring their voices are heard. Overall, the conference was well-organised, engaging, and provided practical strategies for supporting young people’s initiatives, leaving me with a profound appreciation for the impact they can create.”

— Mohamed Elmessiah – Marketing & Insights Manager at Leaders in Community


“HeadStart Action encourages us to partake in issues that affect our communities and environments and helps us learn and educate ourselves, as well as others. HeadStart Action prepares you for the real world when certain education systems do not.”  

— Kulsuma – Young person, Leaders in Community


The role of youth organisations

HeadStart Action partners posing for a photo in front of a banner from the conference.The event felt like a huge success! It was a valiant example of how programmes like HeadStart Action have been bringing young people and their communities together by encouraging youth social action. They have been also bringing youth organisations together, in sharing best practice, collaborating in their neighbouring postcodes and exchanging ideas, inspirations and learnings on social action initiatives that were being created within the organisations. Delivery organisations shared their thoughts on: how social action projects help make London a stronger city?

“Social action projects in the community are instrumental in making London a stronger city by fostering unity, promoting social justice, and empowering young people. These projects cultivate a sense of belonging and collaboration, breaking down barriers and promoting inclusivity. Through the HeadStart Action programme, we have contributed to these efforts by raising awareness, encouraging civic engagement, and providing opportunities for young people to actively participate in creating positive change. By instilling a sense of agency and promoting youth voices, we have played a part in building a more resilient and inclusive London, where communities are empowered to shape a brighter future together.”

— Mohamed Elmessiah – Marketing & Insights Manager at Leaders in Community


These views were being shared across Leaders in Community as one of their young persons added:

“Programmes like HeadStart Action help in terms of teamwork and creating resilience. Getting to know your community especially on raising awareness on social issues. My social action campaign at Leaders in community was about equality, and it makes London stronger as it helps educate certain issues that many may not know of.”   

— Kulsuma – Young person, Leaders in Community


Pauline and two member representatives posing for a photo after attendin the conference.We’re very excited to continue to drive conversations around the value and impact that youth social action has within London. The Young People and Communities Conference was a celebration and a reminder of the collaboration, support and development for young people across London that really is working.

We’d like to thank the Greater London Authority for hosting such a fantastic event and for providing an inclusive space that provided exceptional opportunities for young people and youth practitioners to share their views and champion the work that they do, both inside and outside of the HeadStart Action programme.


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