This year, through our Transition project, in partnership with the Caspari Foundation, we've been supporting six young people as they make the move to Secondary School. Earlier in the year, we heard an educational psychotherapist’s view on why transition to secondary school is harder for some young people that others. This time, we asked some Hopefuls in year 7 about their experiences over the few months:

How did you feel before you started?

M: “I was scared because I didn’t know what was going to happen or who was going to be there.”

D: “You don’t really know what’s coming, you don’t know what your friend groups are going to be, you don’t know how the school is and if you’re going to like it. It’s a big change in your life.

What was it like on the first day?

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Summer at Urban Hope

20 July 2017

On Monday we're launching our 2017 Summer Programme of activities to keep young people busy and active over the summer. From 24th July, our weekly timetable looks like this:

Monday 6pm-8pm – Tennis at Rosemary Gardens

Tuesday afternoon – Trip

Wednesday 6.30-8pm – Junior Club (8-12s)

Thursday 3-5pm - Sports taster sessions (11-18s)

. . . read more


Girls Giving Back

17 March 2017

The thing we most want for Urban Hopefuls is that they grow up to fulfilled adults who have good relationships, and are able to play a positive role in their own community. So we are especially proud of our Girls' Club who are organising a Nearly New Sale at Urban Hope to raise money for some community events they'd like to make happen in the coming year.

This is their poster for the sale - we'd love it if lots of people came along to support them. And if you're not able to come on the day but have some clothes you would like to donate, please email

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Matthew (above, centre) is 15 and has been coming regularly to Urban Hope since January, after a friend brought him along to try it out. He came on his first residential trip with us a couple of weeks ago. This is what he said about it:

"I heard about the residential, and I didn’t have anything else to do so I thought I’d try it. I was expecting it to be a bit boring; I thought it would rain and that would mess things up, and that the activities wouldn’t be that much fun. But it was actually really fun. The best bit was having space away from home, and it was all stuff I could do. I enjoyed walking in the woods and exploring. Banana boating was something new, I’d like to do more of that. I played sardines for the first time, and that was fun too. The house was old and a bit creepy, and that made it exciting.

I’d been to the countryside once before but to a different part. You get experiences that you don’t get round here, like being out in the quiet and dark and exploring places you haven’t been before. We haven’t got woods round here, and it was so quiet and so dark at night, and it made you notice how busy and noisy life is here.

I’d never been stayed away somewhere with friends, so that was good too. There was lots of jokes. It was better without wifi because if there’d been more wifi, we’d all have been in and playing on our phones and when it was time for the activities we’d have been sighing and stuff. I had data on my phone so I could have been on it the whole time but I didn’t want to be because there was experiences to have.

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We will be taking a break from 19th December to 3rd January.

It's been a great year: thank you all for the part you've played in it, whether you've come to sessions, volunteered, donated money or equipment, or just cared about what we are doing.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years.

Look forward to catching up with you in January.

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On Saturday, Urban Hope hosted Community Day at the Almorah Road Community Centre. It’s a free annual fun day that we run for families living in the local area. The weather was gloomy, the ground was a bit soggy and it was unusually cold for the start of September. But, more than 150 people turned up to play games, jump about on the bouncy castle, eat burgers and sausages, play bingo, get their nails or face painted, make things or just have a cup of tea and a chat with neighbours. The youngest was just a few days old, and the oldest over 90, but everyone who came contributed in some way: some brought sausages or a home-made cake, some served tea or helped to clear up, others played with small children, and some simply turned up, smiling, and made an effort to talk to everyone there.

It’s at events like this that connections are made. We love having a chance to meet the families of the young people we work with, and also giving local people of all ages an opportunity to have fun with those who they might not otherwise encounter in their daily lives. Each new conversation or interaction forms a valuable little link in our community.

Our thanks go out to everyone who played a part in what was a great celebration of our local area and the people who live there, and a fine way to mark the end of summer.

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Each year we take a group of young people away for a weekend of outdoor activities. Urban Hopeful Kihyce, 13, is a big fan of residentials (you can just about see him in this photo reaching the top of ‘Jacob’s Ladder’) and has been on three now. He told us why he likes them so much:

“You can be someone who hates working with everyone else and over the three days you learn about teamwork and interaction, and you can talk to people more. You’re spending time with a group of people that you’ve known at club but have never got to know really well.

This time I did ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ – you have to climb up this ladder made of logs and the gap keeps getting bigger – I kept thinking I was going to fall but the others helped me to get to the top. On my own I don’t think I’d have the courage to do it but I did it because I had people to support me.

I really like doing the activities; I enjoyed archery the most. Every time I do something I haven’t done before I feel like I’ve accomplished something. On the first residential I did, I won the crate stacking activity, and we got certificates. That felt so good, and I just wanted to go again and again. It’s so different to London; it’s like another world. And even though I’ve experienced it before, one trip is never the same as another.”

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The youth work that we do tends to look a bit different in summer. From next week, all the young people we work with will have a lot of free time at their disposal (those who were sitting exams this year will have finished a while ago). And once the novelty of all that free time has worn off, there’s a high risk that they will start to get bored. If and when that happens, we want to help them channel their energy into positive activities; things that will develop their skills, introduce them to different people, get them outside and running around, give them new perspectives on life, and be fun.

There is a huge amount to do in London but, for many young people, there are barriers to accessing much of it. Part of our job is to help them make the most of all that their city has to offer them by taking them to museums, for walks along the South Bank, and to see street performers in Covent Garden.

Alongside that, we organise our own programme of activities. Funding from Islington Council and from FreeSport has enabled us to put some great summer sports activities again this year. We try to make sure these activities include sports that the young people we work with wouldn’t usually have the chance to try. So this year we’ll be offering free tennis coaching, croquet and rounders among other things.

It’s a great opportunity for them, and a great opportunity for us because the warm weather gets everyone out in the parks and means we can meet young people we might not see at other times of year. We have a window of opportunity over the coming weeks to start forming relationships with a whole new bunch of Urban Hopefuls. And we’re really excited about it.

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Last night was Ben and Gemma's Urban Hope send-off, and the halls were full of people who’d turned up to celebrate all that he and Gemma have done over the years to make Urban Hope the community it is today. Adults (some now in their 30s) talked about how their lives had been changed by the support that Ben had offered; there were tears as one young man told us how Urban Hope had given him a place to belong to, a family… and there was a lot of laughter and eating.

Here's an extract from Ben's speech. It sums up rather nicely what Urban Hope is all about:

“We started small, and as we grew we called it Urban Hope. We sometimes call ourselves a project or a charity but Urban Hope is not this great fancy organisation, really we’re little more than a movement, a community of relationships. And the special thing is that these relationships help bring kids up in this area. They help people find jobs, find hope, go on trips to the countryside and roll around in mud, learn to sing and play football, enjoy each other’s company, and get help with homework.

Urban Hope is about the 1,400 young people who’ve been part of it over the years, who’ve put their names on a piece of paper and said ‘include me’. It is about the 18 members of staff that we’ve had so far, and the hundreds of volunteers and the community of support we have around us. My heart is full of gratitude to all of you for sharing the journey over the past 20 years as we’ve tried to figure out how to do life together.”

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We will be taking a break between 22nd December and 4th January.

We hope you have a very happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year, and we look forward to seeing you in 2015.

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Urban Hope always celebrates bonfire night; it’s one of many seasonal markers we use to punctuate our year. We do this because we like fireworks, we like a party, and we like bringing people together to foster a sense of belonging.

But there is a bigger picture too. By working with the rhythms of the calendar, young people are invited to see themselves within a broader social context: their friends, family and immediate community are part of a larger local community that, in turn, contributes to a wider society of dynamic relationships.

Playing a positive role in society is an important part of overall wellbeing, and looking outwards is the first step in that journey.

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Space+place at Urban Hope

30 January 2014

At Urban Hope we're committed to exploring the most relevant ways to connect with and support young people.

On Thursday February 20th we're hosting a seminar led by Bob Mayo, Sam Adofo and Ben Bell, asking how in an increasingly virtual world we connect with young people relevantly.

Click here for more information

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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

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Community Day

12 August 2013

Everyone welcome, lots of fun, brilliant community event, it's Free!

Put it in your diary people.

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Music at Urban Hope

29 January 2013

Byron writes…

The musically gifted young people took the stage at Urban Hope’s music showcase in December. They performed in front of their pears, family members and the wider Urban Hope community. Each singer sang their song and lyricists shared their stories, riding a hard-hitting 808 beat, or were accompanied by young guitarists that tantalised our ears, the audience cheered on each strum, beat, note, and performance.

It was a success but within the time span of one hour and thirty minutes all of their hard work was over. Nobody would truly know the amount of time and effort that these young people had put into this show.

Throughout the weeks leading up to the show it seemed as if there were new obstacles trying to dishearten and prevent our young people from being apart of it. There were disputes about song choices, and young people dropping out of the show all together. There were several different points of the rehearsal process where it appeared as if there wasn’t going to be a show. But, we were privileged enough to have a group of dedicated young people who gave up their free time after school and were at every rehearsal, perfecting their craft and being advised and encouraged by our music tutors.

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Happy Christmas

18 December 2012

Happy Christmas

Urban Hope sessions will be closed from 17th December and starting again from the 5th January.

The office is now closed till 2nd January.

From everyone in the Urban Hope team we hope you have a very happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year, we look forward to whats in store for Urban Hope in 2013!!

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Art at Urban Hope

23 October 2012

Joy writes…

This Friday Urban Hope’s girls club are hosting an Exhibition. It will be a chance to view the art pieces they’ve been working on for the last 3 months. Each girl taking part has worked really hard on creating something that they feel fits in with the theme of peace and vandalism. Now the work is finished they are really looking forward to sharing them with family, friends and the wider community.

At Urban Hope we love seeing young people express themselves, through art, music, poetry, or any other means. We love it because it’s so good for them; it gives them a voice and a chance to be heard. They have got something worth saying to us, another perceptive on life that helps us understand each other and ourselves better.

So while we may not be working with the next Picasso or Professor Green (though some of them are really good!) we are looking forward to hearing what the young women have to say and see their confidence grow in it.

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Things to do

21 October 2012

For young people in Islington ....

click here for a downloadable document with information about:

  • adventure playgrounds
  • after school clubs
  • breakfast clubs
  • fun and youth activities
  • holiday schemes
  • homework help
  • services for disabled children and young people
  • help with costs

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We love this video by Plan UK : International Day of the Girl

They are a brilliant charity supporting children born into a world of poverty, giving them the possibility of a better future through;

  • Clean water and a healthy start.
  • Securing education for both boys and girls.
  • Help countries survive disasters and prepare for them.
  • Inspire them to take a lead in decisions that affect their lives. 
  • Help their families to earn a living and plan for their children's future.

Take a look at their website to find out more...

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Community Day

3 September 2012

Chrissy writes....

We had such a great day on Saturday when we held a fun day for our community at the Almorah Road Community Centre. As well as a BBQ and bouncy castle it was packed with stalls such as a coconut shy made out of cut-up and painted poster tubes, a nurf gun firing range with plastic skittles and beakers as targets, a beautifully painted splat-the-rat and many creative tables. We relished the chance to have fun with and get to know better young people’s parents. What we enjoyed the most turned out not to be the crazy stalls or bouncy castle but seeing so many members of our community coming together to make the day work. The day felt like a real celebration and a beautifully collaborative event. Thank you to all those who came and helped out and also everyone who turned up and joined in.           


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The Izzy Cup Experience

28 August 2012

Last week our boys club took part in the Izzycup, which is a football tournament where teams from all the youth clubs in Islington are invited.

Byron writes

‘Disaster hit us as we began, we had underestimated our opponents. Presuming victory because of their height we said, “they don’t stand a chance!”

As our opponents made contact with the ball the score said other wise- repeatedly! Our hope began to be tested the once confident team began to waver.

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Urban Hope and Street Space have teamed up to create a new post working to promote people's personal, social and spiritual development in line with the core youth work principles of empowerment, education, participation and equality of opportunity.
We are so excited about this opportunity and we can't wait to meet people interested in this new role.
Interested? know anyone who might be?  read the job description and please contact Ben Bell.

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Thrift Sale Thank you

21 May 2012

Drum roll please....... 

We're delighted to tell you all that we have raised over £6,000 which will be spent on the young people in our community, giving them opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have, we can now pack in loads of activities, giving them a fun filled summer. It was a really great day, so many people came through the doors, there was a great buzz and sense of a community coming together. 

Thank you to all who came and supported us and donated loads of great stuff and especially thank you to the 30+ people who volunteered their time to make this happen... 

We feel privileged to belong to a community like this.

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For over 7 years now Urban Hopefuls have been creating short films about them, and their reactions to the world around them. Some which have been part of the 'London Children's Film Festival'. We have now created an UrbanHopefuls channel on YouTube, which is a great platform to celebrate the young peoples voice's and talent's. it will be a channel for their past cinematic achievements and hopefully many more to come in the future.

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Beautiful Course

17 January 2012

A couple of weeks ago we held the first session of the Beautfiul@urbanhope course this year. We have 10 stunning young women and the amazing Hannah Jean as our resident image consultant.

Hannah, who founded ‘Find myStyle’ image consultancy, also leads ‘Diva-licious’ an image empowerment project.  ‘Diva-licious’ goes to schools and pupil referral units to work with girls around the issues of self-esteem and self-image, using her skills in fashion and styling.

We’re so excited to be working with Hannah, because it is always great to work with people who share your vision.

The aim for Beautiful@urbanhope is to enable young women to recognise that they are beautiful, valuable and have a contribution to make in the world.

. . . read more


It's Christmas!!

16 December 2011

Happy Christmas Everybody.

We are closing sessions for Christmas from 16th December.

Don't worry though, because we are going to back from the 3rd January.

It will be a chance for everyone to have a good Christmassy rest. We hope you have a very happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year, we are looking forward to coming back in 2012.

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Friends, Family & Fireworks

9 November 2011

On Monday we held our Annual Urban Hope Bonfire Night at the Almorah Road Community Centre, and it was a great evening.

Around 80 people of all ages from the local community came together to eat hot dogs and cake around the fire, watch a small fireworks display and light sparklers.

Evenings like this are so special to the life of Urban Hope because it’s at times like this when our best cross-cultural, inter-generational work is done.

Whole families from across the community meet together and share their stories and experiences, serve each other and celebrate being together. They can come and meet in a way which is far more natural and much less clunky or forced, then the way it can be in fabricated sessions of young people mixing with older.

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Last Thursday Urban Hope had the opportunity to celebrate the young people who have been coming to our music session for the last 18 months to work on their vocal techniques, write songs, create beats and record music.

The confidence and talent shown by the young people who participated blew us away!  Around 150 people came out to St Stephen’s Church (which looked stunning!) to watch young people perform tracks that they love, supported by performances from Shelley Nelson, and our vocal tutors.

But the young people performing weren’t the only stars of the show, with young people from all our sessions working alongside our amazing adult volunteers helping to host, compare and steward the evening, as well as baking cakes, decorating the Church and clearing everything away afterwards.

Throughout whole evening there was a real sense of family coming together to celebrate Urban Hope and the young people who make it what it is, and it was that, much more than the music, which made the evening such a huge success.

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