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young people talking

16 December 2019

After a successful three years of delivery, YouthLeads – our social action programme developing leadership skills with young people based in Haringey, Enfield and Waltham Forest – is coming to an end. Over the course of the programme, we’ve directly supported 54 young people from 11 teams to run their own youth-led social action projects. 

The young people in the core teams:

  • Attended a residential, focusing on community mapping and project development
  • Pitched their plans to a panel of judges at a range of venues across London
  • Delivered their project ideas with other young people from their organisation
  • Wrapped the programme up by attending a second residential where they gained a Youth Leadership Level 1 accreditation.

We’ve seen a range of fantastic youth-led projects, including a project encouraging young people to make drill music with positive lyrics, to a project focused on creating a magazine to raise awareness of the experience of young carers. 

We are grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund for supporting YouthLeads, which has demonstrated positive outcomes for the young people and youth organisations involved. 

Along with sharing the impact report from YouthLeads, we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight three things we have learned from delivering YouthLeads, reflecting on its impact on London Youth:    

1. ActiveLeads

The London Youth programme ActiveLeads was developed one year after YouthLeads began. It is based on learning from YouthLeads and uses the same structure as its foundation – supporting young people to in turn engage others to get involved; running two residentials focused on planning and then youth leadership; challenging young people to present their ideas at a pitch event.

ActiveLeads takes the successful model and uses it to focus on helping young women engage others in sport. So far, ActiveLeads has brought together over 120 young people in London with positive results in supporting young people to get active, to volunteer and take part in social action. We are delighted to be able to continue the ActiveLeads programme, building on the legacy of YouthLeads. 

2. Localised Work 

YouthLeads has given us the opportunity to explore the importance of localised work and the positive impact it can have on communities. Based on our experience of delivering YouthLeads in three outer boroughs, we developed our newest social action project, East London Leaders, which draws on the learning of working in specific boroughs and focusing on London Youth members in those areas. We will continue to develop our work, particularly in London’s outer boroughs, to ensure quality youth work is delivered all across the capital. 

3. The value of residentials   

Many of the young people on the programme told us that the residentials and Youth Leadership accreditation were motivating factors in getting involved in YouthLeads. We know that residentials bring groups and youth workers together in a way that helps to accelerate learning and achieve outcomes in a shorter time frame. Plus, all the benefits of being somewhere new and spending time outdoors. With two residential trips the cornerstone of the YouthLeads programme, these were successful in building relationships between teams of young people from different organisations. Some of these connections continued beyond the residentials, with young people supporting each other’s projects, such as young people from Oasis Hub Hadley in Ponders End going to see Chickenshed’s play in Cockfosters. 

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed delivering the YouthLeads programme and want to thank all the members, youth workers and young people that were involved over the three years. 

You can find out more about the impact of YouthLeads in a report written by external evaluators Shepherd and Moyes here

– Kadisha James-Fergus, Youth Action Delivery Officer


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