Before Headliners met Adnan he would have described himself as having ‘low confidence and low self esteem’ as well as ‘not engaging in social issues and ideas’. Although his enthusiasm was there from day one, as well as his clear want to speak up and give his opinion, we’d agree, Adnan’s confidence wasn’t allowing him to share his ideas and opinions with his peers and the adults around him.

This began to rapidly change within the first month of our workshops with each activity with each week he was ‘learning to not be afraid, talking to strangers to ask them different questions and learning how to use different devices to record our stories’.

Adnan’s initial growth in confidence allowed him ‘to be able to raise my voice as a person’ and ‘know what issues are going on around the UK’. The beginning of each workshop we filter through an array of news outlets and each week Adnan engaged more and more in truly thought provoking conversations as well as ideas around how to better our community. Even more excitingly he now knows ‘how to turn that information and ideas on those issues and work as a team with Headliners to turn it into a story’.

In our weekly #HackneyYoungReporters workshops Adnan used his skills to amplify not only his voice but also his peers’ opinions on current affairs and how those affect young people’s lives. He has made multiple podcasts documenting issues such as honest conversations around racism, life in lockdown and what local climate change looks like in Hackney. He’s also led a collection of interviews with his peers, his teachers and young people who attend Headliners workshops in Northern Ireland.

Offering a weekly online workshop meant Adnan didn’t feel isolated from his peers and the wider world even through lockdown. He felt he could still have his voice heard whilst not being able to leave his house and that kept his mental health at a good point throughout those months.

His interviews with other young people have also gave him the tools ‘to be able to work in pairs whilst being able to offer support to everyone with lots of different support needs’ as well as being able ‘to raise awareness about important topics arise in UKs society today’. So what does that mean for Adnan’s future?

Well he continues to create stories in our weekly #HackneyYoungReporters workshops and feeling a lot closer to reaching his goals. He volunteers at his college, he’s moving from his Level 2 to 3 and continues to stun both the youth workers and tutors with his willingness to help, his patience and his ever growing confidence which will excel him to succeed.

Adnan took part in both the #Unfiltered project which is funded by the Young Londoners Fund and the Hackney Young Reporters Club which is made possible by funded from Vanguard. Adnan also won a Jack Petchy Award. Thank you to all three funders for supporting this work to take place.