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Young Black and Asian People Share their Appreciation of Youth Workers for Authoring Our Own Stories

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Young Leaders from Authoring Our Own Stories, having completed their training to become peer researchers. L to R Yezi Ling, Camron, Natasha,Sandra, Moshood and Zi

Partnership for Young London is proud to usher in Black History Month 2023 with a resounding endorsement from young people about the significance that youth workers and other frontline staff and volunteers play in their lives. Over the summer, Young Leaders from Authoring Our Own Stories, delivered their research projects to young people of Black and Asian heritage who attend youth clubs in Lewisham, Lambeth, and Southwark. The Young Leaders also ventured over to north London for a session with members of Chickenshed Theatre Company too.

Authoring Our Own Stories is a youth voice project exploring young people’s civic identity and how it can influence access to support. When asked by Young Leaders about what factors shape identity, the participants from focus groups pointed to the importance of the communities created in the clubs they attend. They talked about these spaces as helping them to build strong relationships, gain support and, possibly most importantly, allow room to ‘just be me’.

Members of Woodpecker Youth Club used origami to reflect On what factors shape their civic identity. Ethnicity was the strongest factor, closely followed by community.

A member of TNG youth club shared that ‘…the community allows me to feel comfortable with my civic identity’. Another said, ‘I have chosen community because it helps me to feel more comfortable and also build myself as a person’.

The Young Leaders asked the group to use modelling clay to make a quick, abstract shape on how they felt about youth services in their local area. One young man produced a circle and explained that the community within TNG made him feel complete. His friend, ‘D’ also made a circular piece and said‘I made a circle because I feel whole (here). Everything is good. I don’t have any problems’.

The focus groups were delivered amidst busy schedules including boxing, theatre and arts and crafts. We are grateful to the colleagues and young people who hosted us over the summer and for the insights shared on the heightened significance of these spaces for young Black and Asian people.

Young Leaders invited focus group participants at Chickenshed to choose a civic space they go to and reflect on the parts of their identity they notice most whilst in that space.

I’m in a community that empowers me. That’s why I love Chickenshed’

At Chickenshed you can be who you want to be’.

Sandra Vacciana is the National Lead for Authoring Our Own Stories. She will be presenting emerging findings from this youth voice project on the 12th October from 10.30am to 12.00pm as part of London Youth’s Mentoring Network. The link to register can be found here.


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