As a young Londoner who grew up in Brixton, I experienced the rapid development of my area and felt isolated with its change. We were being left out of something and my community was being dismantled. A common tale in many of our inner London communities, however through my introduction to community organising, I realise the power the collective has over the change they want to see in their area.
My first step was starting a Community Engagement Apprenticeship and I made it my mission to launch a youth-led project for my organisation in South London
I met Creative Opportunities at the beginning of this year at a London Youth- Youth Involvement network event where they were planning a residential for European youth workers. An awesome jam-packed 7-day training programme for youth workers to help facilitate young people instigating the change they want to see.
I had loads of questions that day and we discussed a range of topics – from strategy and community building to power mapping and self-care, it illuminated my idea of youth work and little did I know it set me on a path to community organising.
A few months later I joined Creative Opportunities’ mentoring programme, where I was paired with a mentor that helped me set personal goals and supported me with his experience, encouragement and advice. Months after the programme has finished, we still keep in touch.
During the summer I took part in Supporting Youth to Act Local and Be Social, an Erasmus+ programme delivered by Creative Opportunities. I met fellow youth workers from all over Europe and learnt new techniques and tools to empower young people to advocate for change.
While still at my apprenticeship I continued to work on my project, supporting young individuals to come together to improve their community by putting pressure on local institutions to act. We worked to identify local leaders, bring together local groups and developed a campaign to fund more youth activities in our area. I got to share my story at conferences, speak with our local councillors and found a place in my community.
This work has been challenging and time-consuming, but as they say, ‘nothing worth having comes easy’ and this cannot be more relevant to this type of work. While doing this I have learnt a lot about myself and my community as well as empowered young people in my area.
My journey continued and I joined the team at Creative Opportunities as a Social Action Coordinator, working on their Community Organisers programme.
You can find out more about our programme, Supporting Youth to Act Local and Be Social, by clicking here.
If you’d like to find out about our other international programmes and opportunities, click here.