2 December 2013
“Urgh, that’s disgusting” she says peering into to bowl. “What is it?” Every week we come together and cook a meal with the young people, and every week she says the same thing.
The first reaction we receive by young people, be it to; the introduction of a new project, a new game to play or a not seen before ingredient that we are cooking with that week, is not always positive. Changing the status quo, isn’t always agreeable. Sometimes we find that young people exhibit a reflex that tries to push away new opportunities.
At Urban Hope we walk with young people into new experiences that will often challenge their preconceptions. This often challenges them to step out of their comfort zones. It could be; jumping to catch a rope in a high ropes course or jumping into the unknown and being the first in their family to go to university, trying a new food or trying to go a day without a cigarette. We want young people to see the potential that we see in them, we are hopeful that they can do so much more than they thought.
“Urgh, that’s disgusting” she says peering into to bowl. “What is it?”
Every week she says the same thing.
27 November 2013
At Urban Hope HQ we're listening to this cover of Maverick Saber's I Need by spoken word artist George the poet.
We think it's a challenging reflection on the impact of the music industry on youth culture as well as beautiful piece of music.
15 November 2013
As part of this years Children in Need appeal BBC 1Xtra chose Urban Hope as one of the projects they wanted to profile. On Wednesday Joy and a group of young people met 1xtra breakfast presenters Yasmin and Twin B to tell them about the work Children in Need fund at Urban Hope with young women and the interview was played on air this morning.
The money that Children in Need and other funders provide is essential to our work and we're are appreciative of every penny
Thanks for your support
8 November 2013
Ben reflects on the significance of holding stories for young people ...
I spent some time with a remarkable 21 year old young woman the other day. She told me that she was glad I had met her when she was a toddler. Glad because I was able to tell her in the briefest of ways a small story of her childhood. She knows little about her childhood beyond the social services reports. Her mum is no longer alive and when she was didn't do a great job of caring for her child. There aren't many photos and there are few stories of this girl's childhood beyond her own limited memories.
Last week a 20 year old young woman came and spent the evening with us at Urban Hope. She helped cook the communal meal and as she did we reminisced with her about what she was like when she was much younger and coming to Urban Hope regularly. Very naturally we pieced together a narrative of growth, identifying the interweaving of her story with others who were around at the time, and of course with the story of our own community.
Holding stories is one of the gifts that a community can offer individuals. Elders can tell younger members what they were like when they were children. Stories of growth and change can be celebrated, insights and learning gained. Identifying the importance of holding stories for younger people emphasises the role of community in enabling growth and identity formation.
The remarkable young women I began this reflection with is piecing together the fragments of remembered childhood whilst being a wonderfully ‘together’ person. Her later childhood and adolescence is full of stories of happiness, a loving family and of a flourishing individual.
Here at Urban Hope, we hold stories in different ways. Sometimes we are trusted with thoughts, feelings and information. Other times we are simply observers and re-tellers.
4 November 2013
I was reflecting recently about how we use names to identify both others and ourselves.
With the prevalence of the internet in our daily lives we can be asked to sign up to many different applications and pick a username, but what do we choose? Do we choose an email address that uses our name to help people remember it? What do we do if our name, in which our identity is wrapped up in, is already taken? Do see choose a username that hints at or masks our true identity? Do we use the same username for all our accounts or do we change it depending on our audience? What do we do if our account gets hacked or compromised; do we bin the username and it’s associated identity?
Some of the young people we work with have multiple Facebook and Instagram accounts, which can be hard for them to keep track of. As young people explore their identities both on and off-line, how they choose to identity themselves is part of that exploration.
Having worked for Urban Hope for two months now I am finally getting to grip with the all the names of the young people I have to remember. Our names are really important, they are usually the first word we learn to write and will often remain with us all our life and so become an a large part of our identity. Some of the young who we meet for the first time either through coming along to Urban Hope or meeting young people out on detached work, choose to give fake names. It can feel like they are trying to protect themselves from a strange adult showing interest in them.
10 October 2013
I recently read a book called ‘Raising Girls’ by Steve Biddulph, which is explores how parents, aunties, grandparents and other adults in the lives of girls and young women can help them reach their fullest potential.
One of the ideas in the book was the one of everyone having a spark..
Biddulph writes: ‘children and young teenagers almost always have something inside them-an interest, enthusiasm, talent or concern- which,if it is supported, gives them incredible joy, motivation and direction. That thing is theirspark.’
He goes on to say that one of the roles of the adults in the lives of children and young people is to help them find and pursue their spark, whatever it is, because young people who do, are more engaged with education, are more confident, and are less likely to get in trouble with the law.
10 October 2013
I am only five weeks into my new job here at Urban Hope. Starting something new can always feel a bit daunting. Whether it’s a new school or a new job the biggest worry can be building relationships with friends and colleagues rather than the work set before you.
Building relationships with young people is a key part of our work here and it can be hard to come into a place where strong relationships already exist. Urban Hope works with people for a long time some of the workers here have known ‘young’ people for almost twenty years. The relationships that are built with the young people at Urban Hope extend beyond the 11 to 18 brackets. Young people who are eighteen and above continue to come back consistently to share meals and their lives with those who have spent time to get to know them.
Coming as a new face to this established project feels like meeting your girl/boyfriends family for the first time. You want to be open and allow people to know you but also don’t want to be too forward, knowing that you want to build relationships that will develop naturally overtime. It’s important to keep in mind that it will take time; over weeks, months and years relationships build grow and deepen. The long-term approach that Urban Hope has to working people (young and beyond) allows us to be there throughout the highs and lows of life.
We are not just youth work project, we describe ourselves as a youth and community project, but more than that we often look like a large family. And I’m just being welcomed in…
17 September 2013
When I tell people I’m a youth worker they often look at me quite confused. Lots of people aren’t quite sure what I do.
Last week while I was hoovering Urban Hope HQ I was reflecting on the fact that, in the name of youth work that day I had been chef, advisor, cleaner, manicurist and teacher, and I suddenly understood one of the reasons people get so confused!
At Urban Hope youth work takes different forms,: cooking lessons, mentoring, football coaching, and so on, but there are some core values behind every role that may be put on that keeps us youth workers.
Everything we do is focused on the holistic development of young people, and no matter what we do, young people should be empowered and should be learning and reflecting.
At Urban Hope we aim to be intentional about all the stuff we do. Singing, cooking and playing football, watching a film, or just having a chat, are all opportunities to help young people develop...
19 August 2013
Joy writes... People often say you should think twice before you work with your family...
But at Urban Hope, we don’t hesitate. This summer we had the privilege of employing Joel, a 20 year old man who has been part of the Urban Hope family for at least 10 years.
Over this summer Joel has been coach, role model and friend to a number of young people who otherwise wouldn't have had much to do and we couldn't be more proud.
2 years ago Joel left Islington to go to university.It’s always bittersweet to see young people move on, but no matter where they go on to, they remain part of our community, and people often come back, to check in with us and to help us out.
One of the core values of Urban Hope is a commitment to long term working and we use an extended family model.
12 August 2013