Future Changemakers: where’s the funding going?

We talk to three of the lucky charities receiving a valuable cash injection

Future Changemakers: FYA


arlier this year, a passionate bunch of sixteen to twenty-five year-old Camdenites were tasked with a weighty decision: which youth services would they like to give a grant to, so that they can work towards tackling knife crime and improving safety for young people in the wider borough?

Dubbed the Future Changemakers, and managed by Camden Giving (with Euston Town and Camden Town Unlimited allocating £20k towards the project between them), they announced their nine chosen social enterprises in June. We reach out to a trio to find out what the money means to them.

Performing Production

Maria Rosa Sapienza, Chairperson

Maria Rosa Sapienza
Maria Rosa Sapienza. Photo: Laura Evans

Tell us about your project.
We are a not-for-profit that aims to develop a creative community by encouraging self-awareness, confidence and well-being. Through workshops, we give opportunities for people to develop professional, social and artistic skills, using performing arts and cultural activities as alternative forms of education and recreation.

What are the goals of the enterprise?
We provide mentors and guidance, and put the participants on an equal footing with others. Through this, we believe they are deterred from becoming involved in crime.

What will the funding help to achieve?
‘The Music’: a series of forty-eight sessions for sixteen-to-twenty-fives that explore the relationship between young people and violence. It supports hard-to-reach groups such as youths who are disengaged with education, ex-offenders, and those from disadvantaged environments. Our framework offers a wide range of music therapy-based activities intended to strengthen the emotional stability of students, and encourage career advancement.

What type of change are you aiming for?
A positive mentoring scheme and an innovative programme that inspires. We want them to be mindful of the pieces they make, have an understanding of its social-emotional effects, be aware of the language used to promote criminal activity, and deterred from becoming involved. We’re also keen for schools to address gang issues, and to work in partnership with the local neighbourhood to provide holistic support.

How will the community be impacted?
We try to combat alienation, disengagement, drug misuse, feelings of hopelessness about the future, and reinforce belief in what can be achieved. All of this can only benefit the area it takes place in.

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Case study: Rosie and Shauna

Future Changemakers: Rosie & Shauna
Rosie & Shauna. Photo: Laura Evans
Rosie and Shauna are prime examples of how vital the organisation’s work is. Last April they embarked on a six-week production course consisting of weekly two hour sessions. “It was a really good thing to look forward to,” says Rosie. “We met producer Johan Ohlström, who helped us use Logic software and create a couple of our own songs.

I made one called Summertime: a funky summery bop.” Rosie went on to sing at an open-mic night in Notting Hill. “It was nice to get a good reaction from something that I’d worked on for so long,” she says. “I learnt so much. It’s opened a massive door for me.”

Similarly, Shauna found the time equally useful. “There’s not a lot of stuff like that out there, especially when you’re younger,” she says. “It gave me so many skills. Now I can work on my music by myself.”

Listen to Rosie here.

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More info here, 54-56 Phoenix Road NW1

Fitzrovia Youth In Action

Mike Ward, Fundraising Manager

Mike Ward
Mike Ward. Photo: Laura Evans

Tell us about your project.
We bring young people through our system and train them up as mentors; they then tend to lead our programmes. A very strong part of it is looking at their resilience and mental health.

What are the goals of the enterprise?
The whole premise is empowering them, giving them a voice, and getting them to take control

What will the funding help to achieve?
The model gives troubled fourteen-to-sixteens who’ve had a pretty rough trot a chance to become role models. They’re referred to workshops that will take place over a ten to sixteen week period. It’s about getting them chatting to each other about what’s bothering them in a safe and secure environment. Why do they behave like they do? What are the negative impacts in their life? There’s a huge amount of evidence to say that they’ll sooner talk to each other than experts. Anger management techniques will be taught to them, giving them alternatives. They’ll also explore how certain behaviour by others affects them. During the sessions they’ll look at an area that’s a real concern and build campaigns that will be delivered to places like schools.

What type of change are you aiming for?
So many times I’ve seen youngsters with a stamp on their forehead saying they’ve got learning difficulties. You very soon realise that the only problem they have is that they pick things up differently. Let’s face it, if you call a kid an idiot for long enough, they’re going to start believing it. We want to focus on what they can do rather than what they can’t. In that way it builds up their confidence and self-esteem, and they stop feeling useless.

How will the community be impacted?
I’m inspired on a daily basis. We had a girl singing
at one of our events who was just so good. A year ago she was really nervous and wouldn’t open up. Now, she’s standing on stage. My particular favourite is a video we’ve just released for a funding application. The story was so open and honest, it actually fills me up. It was about the way she got groomed in the drugs world and was used and abused. She’s really into media and has completely turned her life around and is now studying at university.

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More here, 66-68 Warren Street W1

H Foundation

Serina Gordon, Manager

Serina Gordon
Serina Gordon. Photo: Laura Evans

Tell us about your project.
We’re an independent charity with a team of two; it was founded by the H Club and has been running for six years. The purpose is to support young people from underrepresented backgrounds into the creative industry. We know it’s really difficult for them to do so: we want to level the playing field, and introduce them to all the exciting opportunities they don’t think are for them or are hard to access. We’re not looking for a degree or A-Levels, just a passion.

What are the goals of the enterprise?
To provide opportunities for youths to have mentors who are relatable role models. A big part of what we do is inspiring confidence. Connect, collaborate, create: they’re our three core values.

What will the funding help to achieve?
Head Start: the sixth cohort of our employability programme that we run three times a year for eighteen to twenty-fives. It starts in the autumn and will intensively support ten to fifteen of them over six weeks by giving them an aspirational placement at one of the local employers we work with. We also assist with interview technique, CVs, covering letters and online presence.

What type of change are you aiming for?
I dug out a quote from a participant: “My biggest challenge in finding jobs has been that I haven’t got experience or previous internships. This has made it very difficult for me to get an initial foot in the door, particularly as the competition is very high. It’s hard when you’re willing to learn but have limited skills in that field.” We want to make sure hard outcomes are achieved, improving accessibility in the process, so that we can see our participants flourish.

How will the community be impacted?
During the current programme we’ve already had one person who is getting paid, and they’ve recommended her to another company as well. We’ve got someone else who’s successfully got a job with the BBC as a Production Assistant. Our progression rate is really high. We’ve signed up to Camden’s STEAM Pledge – through that we hope to connect with a lot more local businesses.

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More info, 24 Endell Street WC2

Main image: FYA

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