Giving back

28 October 2014

One of the things we enjoy most at Urban Hope is watching young people we’ve worked with throughout childhood make really positive contributions to the community as adults. Maddie (pictured above, left) is a terrific example, we first met her when she came here with her friend Louisa (above right) over a decade ago, at the age of 10.

Today, Maddie is a Philosophy student at Kings and runs workshops at the Barbican teaching young people how to do film programming and events management. And just recently she’s found a way to simultaneously reduce food waste and help Urban Hope by encouraging her ex-employer Waitrose to donate unused food to us each week.

Here’s Maddie’s story:

“Louisa and I went along to girls’ club after we got a flyer at school in Year 6. It was just over the road from where we lived. Otherwise I wasn’t doing anything; we just used to play out on the street with people we knew. At Urban Hope we got to meet new people and because it was girls club we didn’t have to worry about yukky boys! We did baking, outdoor stuff, arts and crafts – and sometimes we just used to put music on and dance around.

I’ve been through quite a lot and Urban Hope was the one place I could turn to for help or advice. Or sometimes just a space that I can go, my house can be quite hectic but there I can be separate from all the chaos, no-one minds listening me to moan. I still pop in all the time.

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You might have noticed that we haven't posted much in the way of news on here lately. It’s been a crazy few months. Summer was a whirlwind of tennis lessons, tie-dying, trips away and whole load of cooking and eating. Sadly we had to say goodbye to two fantastic student youth workers, Spencer and Byron, who completed their placements with us at the end of the summer and are graduating today.

The Autumn term is now in full swing; Monday night drop-ins (for years 9 to 11) are proving especially popular with dozens of young people turning up each week. We've recently finished our series of sessions on knife crime, funded by Let's Get Talking, with a workshop looking at grief and bereavement. As part of the course, we took a group of young people to visit the Ben Kinsella Exhibition, an interactive experience looking at the consequences of knife crime. Given the worrying surge in youth violence in our community over the past year, we’ve really appreciated the opportunity to help the young people who come to Urban Hope explore these issues.

And now, we need your help please. What Urban Hope does couldn’t be done without volunteers – and we need more of you. Volunteering with us doesn’t necessarily have to involve forming meaningful long-term relationships with young people – though we love it when you do that too. But we also need people to collect food donations once a week, to help out in the kitchen or lend a hand at one-off events. You can find out more about what it means to be an Urban Hope volunteer here and if you think you might be able to spare some time to get involved please drop us a line at hello@urbanhope.co.uk.

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Growing up with Urban Hope

16 October 2014

Joel writes…

That’s me aged about five or six on the green at the Almorah Road Community Centre where Ben first started bringing together children and young people to play football and hang out together. So I've been coming to Urban Hope since before it was called Urban Hope, and now I'm doing a placement here as a student youth worker.

As a child, it gave me an opportunity to get out of the house, meet other young kids from the area, develop my love of football, and spend time with people I’d never have known otherwise. It was totally different – and a lot more fun than what was on offer at home. My standout memory is a residential I went on when I was 16. I crawled through cold, wet mud, did zip lining, tight rope walking and much more. It was a completely new experience and got me enjoying the outdoors.

Being part of Urban Hope enabled me to find a voice that was often disregarded and oppressed, especially at home. It gave me a family in a place that felt like a home away from home – somewhere I could just be.

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Joy writes....

I’ve always wanted to be a super hero.

Ever since I was a kid swooping through the air in an amazing costume and mask, saving people and solving every problem presented to me with a well-choreographed action scene has really appealed to me.

Which is kind of how I ended up in youth work.

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100 meters from our front door is the local fried chicken shop. Each week we'll pit our meal cooked by the young people against it.

This week we made Spicy Moroccan Chicken with Couscous and chickpeas. A really simple one this week where everything is cooked together, saves on washing up!

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These stunning pizzas weren't cooked in our normal Thursday Cooking session but with our Boy's Club. The one on the left even has a stuffed crust! They tasted as good as they look.

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100 meters from our front door is the local fried chicken shop. Each week we'll pit our meal cooked by the young people against it.

This week we took a risk and cooked a vegetarian dish. Halloumi, Roast Vegetables, Tomatoes and Chickpeas and Couscous. We were all surprised that there wasn't too many complainants although that could have been because it was delicious!

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100 meters from our front door is the local fried chicken shop. Each week we'll pit our meal cooked by the young people against it.

This week we cooked a Spaghetti Bolognese. This was a firm favourite with the young people but everyone had their own opinion on how it should be had, what should be included and what needed to be left out.

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100 meters from our front door is the local fried chicken shop. Each week we'll pit our meal cooked by the young people against it.

This week as it's Easter we cooked a roast lamb dinner. With roast potatoes and gravy and all the trimmings this was a really special meal that brought the group together

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100 meters from our front door is the local fried chicken shop. Each week we'll pit our meal cooked by the young people against it.

This week we made the italian classic Lasagne. This was a real hit with people going back for seconds as well as scraping out the tin!

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