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03 December 2015

Thursday 4 December 2015

In October we welcomed our brand new youth advisory board.  19 Dare Londoners – some joining for the first time and others continuing from previous years – motivated to make changes in society and support the development and growth of London Youth. 

When we asked them which local issues really mattered to them a wide range of topics came up, from politics and transport, to the media portrayal of young people and housing. The group had to narrow their choices down to just three to focus on for the next six months whilst on Dare London, which included issues around affordable housing for young people and the NHS. The third, and one of the most important issues to them, was the stigma attached to disability and what more society can do to make the world accessible for everyone.

We spoke with Zak who is also a member of WAC Arts and has been on Dare London since 2014. He explained he feels there are lots of limitations for young people, especially those who have additional needs. He recalls having difficulties with living independently.

Zak explains:

“I had problems with travel when I was young. I had to wait until I was 15 to be able to travel independently as I found it difficult in the beginning when I was a 12 years old.”

He puts this down to lacking the confidence to visit places such as supermarkets which meant using the tube on his own. It wasn’t until he was 15 years old that Zak received support from a teaching assistant at his school, who took time once a week to teach him how to travel independently using tubes and busses in his local area. It’s support like this that our Dare Londoners feel should be focused on to make the capital more accessible for young people. Zak hopes to use his experiences growing up in London to improve services for young people with disabilities so they can feel more confident doing the things he had to overcome sooner.

Zak has enjoyed being a part of Dare London so far and looks toward Dare London Alumni members as role models. These are young people who have been on Dare London for up to 3 years an moved on from the board but still support activities and youth board members.He hopes to gain more training, including in safeguarding and first aid through London Youth which will take him one step further to a career in sports coaching, along with retaining his FA football coaching badges.  Zak also wants to expand his knowledge of all things media. He is always participating in new opportunities which will help his personal development, such as supporting the interviewing panel recruit for vacancies within London Youth or through public speaking by sharing his story at events.

Zak commented:

“I first started going once a week to Wac Arts for general youth activities like music, drama and art with the disability group. It has been six years, one of the main reasons why I keep coming back is because everyone at Wac Arts makes me feel so welcome. Thank you to London Youth and Wac Arts for supporting me.”