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One year on with Youth Futures

Alicia Edmund
Saturday 23rd May 2020

Saturday 23 May 2020, marks one year since the Leap’s last Lighting the Fire Awards. The pandemic has significantly changed how local communities and grassroot organisations engage and work with young people.  Nevertheless, many remain committed to supporting young people through and beyond the pandemic and have transferred service provision online." data-share-imageurl="">

Saturday 23 May 2020, marks one year since the Leap’s last Lighting the Fire Awards. The pandemic has significantly changed how local communities and grassroot organisations engage and work with young people.  Nevertheless, many remain committed to supporting young people through and beyond the pandemic and have transferred service provision online.

To remember the evening and celebrate different community organisations doing incredible work during a difficult time, our communications team caught up with Youth Futures – winners of the Best Organisation / Project category for its Ubuntu roundtable project to learn how they are adapting to life in lockdown.

 

Please note, part of the first half of interview with Mark, Joseph and Timon was damaged. So, we have transcribed below.

 

Alicia: For anyone that does not know you and the Ubuntu roundtables, what are you guys about?

 

Mark: Hi I am Mark Murray, founder of the original roundtable, co-founder of the Ubuntu roundtables and one of the lead facilitators for Youth Futures current projects.

 

Joseph Duncan: I project manage the ten-London borough Ubuntu project and I am also on the Board for working with colleagues to develop the programme and expand to other boroughs.

 

Timon Dixon: Apprentice Project Manager and also facilitator on the Ubuntu project.

 

Mark: The project brings two groups together that do not typically see ‘eye to eye’ - young people and the police. By bring them together, it gives an opportunity for both young people and police officers to open up and express themselves, their concerns. It also gives individuals an opportunity to educate and learn from one another. It’s about breaking down barriers and aspires for a world where difference can co-exist together.

 

 Alicia: So, what have you guys been up to since the awards and when I last saw you at your event in October of last year?

 

Joseph: Since June of last year, we have expanded the project to West London and been negotiating with Camden, Croydon and other boroughs. West London police really got behind it and we recruited a new Project Manager to oversee the West London project. They, along with Mark, Timon and Blair have been building relationships with the police and with the community. [This is  to better] understand where the hotspots are and what listening to what the issues are between the police and young people. In doing this, the idea was to establish the roundtables in three different areas – Hillingdon, Hounslow and Ealing.

  

It has been challenging to set this up. First the Extinction Rebellion kicked off just before a roundtable was due to start, which meant the police had to postpone. There was a murder at one the youth clubs where we was working, just before we were due to deliver. Those two events had a massive impact on the communities we were working with.

  

The team have been adapting and eventually managed to deliver a session in Ealing, which is great. The expansion of the project now means we are looking to train young people to facilitate the roundtable sessions once we leave, [so that they can] maintain the police and periodically come back together to discuss issues in the community and work together. We were ready to deliver sessions in Hounslow and Hillingdon but that all changed because of lockdown/covid. So, we have decided to pivot and use the time to develop the programme whilst also supporting young people during this time.

  

Mark: Unfortunately because of the lockdown, the roundtable isn’t a project we can continue because the conversations are quite intimate and deep and cannot really be delivered online, so we have chosen to put [the ubuntu] delivery on hold, keeping up communications with contacts and planning the sessions so we are ready [to deliver] when the lock down ends.

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If you are interested in learning more about the Ubuntu roundtables project or connecting with the podcast, visit Youth Futures or you can find the team on instagram, weareyouthfutures.

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