VOYAGE has created an inspired leadership academy to provide a powerful framework to encourage educational progression, building skills and confidence whilst responding to the disappearing youth provision and the ongoing spectre of youth-related violence. The SHLA reaches out to its graduate community and offers access to its unique programme to around 45 young people aged 15-17 years.
VOYAGE launched the scheme in the half term of May 2016 after a 2-month recruitment campaign, which started in January 2015 and ends in late April 2016. It takes place at the Hackney Community College as a weekend and holiday programme. The SHLA satisfies an increased demand for high quality, well-run, targeted provision and is aimed at bringing the graduates of each successive YLFSC cohort together with young people from the local area and beyond.
VOYAGE understands that the community urgently needs substantial programmes that can be set up quickly with the following aims:
- Offering unique progression opportunities
- Engaging with professionals to inspire possibilities
- Plugs gaps in local youth provision
- Operates at times when young people are available
This is due to observations that:
- Young people under 18 are not sufficiently engaged in effective youth provision in the area.
- Young people are not discussing issues around the recent levels of violence, death and arrests which mean young people invariably suffer in silence.
- Some young people are taking up arms and joining gangs to plan counter acts of violence.
- Young people maintain a tight wall of silence which we know helps to massage more feelings of isolation.
- Young people affected by severe incidents are being excluded from school and subject to police investigations.
Voyage has a long established network of over 180 graduates that have formed a youth led Alumni called the Young Black Positive Advocates (YBPA) . The YBPA exists as a open network for graduates of Voyage’s Young Leaders for Safer Cities (YLfSC) programme. If you want to know more or sign up why not make contact?
YBPA Case Study
The Journey so far…by Donata Miller
I came into the YLFSC programme at the age of 13 as a shy student. It was my first time completing a BTEC, presenting in front of others and interacting with people from different schools; first-hand experiences in dealing with the real world. Through Voyage I was able to learn about history and culture that I had not learnt about in school or the community volunteering programmes I was involved in. Hence my interest in the history was sparked, and I decided to study Politics and History at University in the hopes of learning even more about different cultures.
I went to China during my second year as part of my University’s exchange programme, and had an amazing experience!! I was able to meet new people, both home students and other exchange students making lifelong friends from various countries. By studying abroad I was able to improve my knowledge of East Asian history, and rapidly increasing my ability to speak and write mandarin. During term time I got involved in university societies, and the various cultural events that my university put on. Whilst the holidays brought opportunities to travel Asia and volunteer in the poorer areas of China. My experience in China was unforgettable, and one of the best decisions I made of my life so far. It is truly valuable to experience a culture outside of your own and to get outside of your own comfort zone. I am so grateful for the foundation that the Voyage programmes gave me, the sense of responsibility and readiness to approach challenges that have proved useful throughout my time at University. I hope that we will all push ourselves to aim high and seek change, to make sure that the work of those who came before us is not in vain.
You may also see me at the SHLA offering my time helping young people prosper and gain the skills to do bigger and even better things. So sign up now.
Towards a youth led manifesto
Voyage has created a youth led Alumni called the Young Black Positive Advocates (Ybpa) which is a network for graduates of the Voyage Young Leaders for Safer Cities (YLfSC) course.
The aspiration and aim for the Ybpa is to build and sustain a solid foundation and network for young graduates and develop them as a collective leadership group whilst creating a powerful voice of young black Londoners.
The essential ambition is to extend the voice of our young leaders and encourage participation in their own communities in structures such as youth forums, councils, Independent advisory Groups and various consultative groups that host young people as part of their governance structures. We also want to assist young peoples engage in consultation on community safety and policing policies, procedures and programmes that effect young people in London.
Outcomes of participation in the Ybpa is to:
Empower young people to use their voice to create change
Transform our communities and make these more responsive to the needs of young people.
Sustain participation to enable progression and professional development whilst creating a platform to build lasting peace and collaboration between inner London postcodes.
The Ybpa will become a sustainable voluntary group within the next three years and is currently acting as BPACTs VOYAGEs youth policy advisors to our board of Trustees with two members occupying board positions from Nov 2014.