At the start of 2020 Headliners (UK) received one years funding from Vanguard to create safe spaces for young people in east London to take part in after school activity and support them to avoid getting drawn into youth violence.

The aim of the work is to draw young people whom we have already worked with into a local, safe space in which they can explore current affairs and how that affects their day to day life alongside embedded mentoring activities to build the tools to deal with those issues. Headliners (UK) currently runs this programme from two main hubs, in partnership with the local community: one in Hackney and one in Tower Hamlets.

Our #HackneyYoungReporters is in partnership with ELATT, a college that Headliners has worked with for over two years. The project began by having weekly workshops in their media room where the group explore what's going in the world, discuss their ideas around change and then produce a piece of media to explore the story within those issues. The group have produced films, podcasts and even photography exhibitions. The mentoring stream of this project is embedded within sessions with the aim to continue to build tools around mental health, anger, and particularly now as we operate around COVID, isolation.  

In March 2020 the sessions all moved online, using Google Meet and Google Jamboards but have continued in the same format. The team have introduced a monthly meet up with young people in Northern Ireland where they take it in turns to interview each other about the similarities and differences of growing up in different cities within the UK. Sessions at the Hackney Hub continue to operate face to face as COVID restrictions allow. Please see here for how we are operating during COVID lockdown and the tiered system.

The #TowerHamletsYoungReporters runs in partnership with Spotlight's youth club Eastside. That too began with a weekly workshop at their Eastside site however from March it has been run online. Through lockdown these workshops became more informal with small numbers of young people in order to support the young people dealing with the challenges of living through COVID lockdown and tiered restrictions however some interesting pieces of media being produced. 

As of November 2020 the #TowerHamletsYoungReporters group will operate on a blended model of both online and face to face delivery where COVID restrictions allow. The #FirstThursdays model aims to give the young people as much hands on experience with our professional equipment as possible, even through these challenging times: The main workshops will stay online for now, but on the first Thursday of each month the all get to meet up face to face in a social distanced environment to use the cameras and film the stories that they have been planning through the online sessions. 

All of these sessions have mentoring and industry expertise throughout with online Q&As with BBC journalists from an array of journalistic backgrounds as well as animation masterclasses with industry professionals. 

If you are interested in this project please contact [email protected]

To see some of the content from the Vanguard project take a look here.

This project has been made possible by generous funding from Vanguard.