Empower & Inspire – Lewisham Youth Conference 2017

It was a sunny Goldsmiths University that hosted this year’s Lewisham Youth Conference for 10 – 19 year olds on Saturday 1st April 2017. The event organised by Elevating Success UK who each year provides a different theme. This year the theme was “Empower and Inspire”, and the organiser Andrew Brown made sure it did exactly what it said on the tin.

Young Girl Thrive 2Throughout the morning there was a steady stream of young people mingling with friends and visiting each stall. There were so many impressive organisations sharing information with our young people. Among the MCT 2.JPGorganisation stalls were Young Girl Thrive, Second Wave, 2nd Chances, Youth First, Millwall Community Trust, Working With Men, MADWorkshop and  many more. Each stall had a great response from the young people visiting, it was easy to see this from the engaging conversations taking place.

At 1pm the stalls were cleared away and the space set for the Awards and entertainment section of the day. This was when the floodgates opened and even more of our young people arrived. They were keen to see those performing, but also eager to see and hear the well-known performer and social media comedian, White Yardie, who was hosting the entertainment section. I have to confess was looking forward to him hosting the event.

Love 2 Dance – The Albany

Tekeha.jpg

Tekisha Henry

The performance of Lewisham’s young people was phenomenal. Once again it highlighted the deep pool of talent we have with Lewisham, whether it be in dance, singing or spoken word poetry. What I believe really hit home was the messages and inspirational talks by young people to young people. The torchbearer for this was our own Young Mayor of Lewisham Tekisha Henry with her spoken word poetry which took the audience though all aspects of their lives, challenges and what their priorities should be, from gangs, carrying knives, having concerns for STDs in a time when they should be focusing on ABCs grades. Ultimately she packed a punch and received loud ‘woops’ and claps and journeyed through her poem. Perhaps we need more young people like her talking to their peers in a way that they can more readily receive the information from one of their own. Second Wave also present with their stall that day currently have their production of Shadow Games touring schools, which is a youth led ‘Prevent’ outreach performance illustrating through drama the ease and dangers of grooming and extremism.
I hope many of the young people who attended left feeling as empowered and inspired as I did. For those of us who can help influence or change even one person’s life  not leave any stones unturned in our efforts to engage with young people, and help them to cease the opportunities there are out there so that they can have the best future possible.

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