05 March 2019

Kawika Solidum has just joined London Youth as our new Director of Engagement and will lead our work supporting our membership of 450+ youth organisations and communicating the great work that they do. He has a wealth of experience in the private and charity sectors, most recently at Step Up To Serve, BeyondMe, and Impetus PEF.

When you start a new job, it feels like

the first day of school. And just as with school, there is always a lesson if you listen.

My goal for week one – and indeed for much much longer than that – is to listen eagerly. Listening to my team, my colleagues across London Youth, my peers at other organisations working to serve young people in myriad ways, and as many youth clubs as possible will be key to doing my job well.

Who’s the most energising and inspiring? That’s easy: hearing directly from young people.

Dare London is the youth advisory board for London Youth and it is an important part of how we as an organisation are responsive to young people across the capital. It was special – and serendipitous – that their most recent monthly meeting coincided with my first week. It was a privilege to get to listen to them say what their vision was for young people in London:

“We want easier access to participate in the right decision-making forums”, said one. Another went on to ask for “more community centres to learn about more opportunities for employment and for personal growth”.

I’m sure all this is so familiar to the youth workers who are on the frontline, but this statement resonated with me the most: “I want to have a good relationship with the adults who can help support me”.

This was my lesson for week one. This will be my source of motivation. My job will be to ensure London Youth provides its 450+ members, who work tirelessly with young people across London, the support to be the partners young people need and trust as they grow.

Is there someone you know I should hear from? Get in touch and let me know.