Headliners originated in the United States in l975 as Children’s Express. The Headliners methodology of giving a voice to young people through journalism was brought to the UK in l994 when a successful pilot programme was held in London at which four teen trainers from New York trained 30 young people from Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Islington to become the first Headliners members (young people) in the UK. Headliners (UK )was registered as a charity in October 1994, and has been operating since May 1995. In that time, we have concentrated our efforts on developing the London operation; our work in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland and in the North East of England. We also run national projects.

Timeline:

  • London bureau started May 1995
  • Opened second bureau in Newcastle in February 1997
  • Convened ‘Kids these Days’, a public seminar on media stereotyping of young people in April 1998
  • Made presentations to the Cabinet Office’s Social Exclusion Unit on estates and teenage pregnancy in 1998/99
  • Visited Tanzania as part of a Cooperative Bank and Christian Aid funded project on third world debt in summer 1999
  • Made presentations to a multi-agency forum in the House of Lords on the safety of children on the internet in conjunction with newspaper, radio and TV reports
  • Opened a new bureau in Belfast in June 2000, serving young people from both communities
  • Conducted interviews with 90 young people for a 3-part Channel 4 program ‘Sex 8-18’ broadcast in June 2000.
  • Produced 4 films on issues concerning young people, featuring in-depth interviews with the 3 main party leaders, for the Sky News General Election coverage in May/June 2001.
  • Produced supplements for the Daily Mirror (July 2002) and The Independent (December 2002)
  • Opened the Foyle bureau in Derry/Londonderry 2003
  • Involved children and young people in reviewing and evaluating children’s services in the London boroughs of Hackney and Islington
  • Set up and ran the Children and Youth Board (2004-2005) which advised the Department for Education and Skills on policy including children’s workforce development. 
  • Received several grants through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland since 2003 producing creative works which have been showcased in a variety of venues around the country and widened participation in the arts, particularly those who are from disadvantaged and marginalised backgrounds
  • Involved children and young people from all over the UK in the appointment of the first Children’s Commissioner in England holding interviews with candidates (2005)
  • Evaluated after-school services funded by the New Opportunities Fund in Northern Ireland as part of the Fund’s own monitoring.
  • Undertook a successful Department for Education funded pilot project to develop the Headliners story archive as an educational resource for the citizenship curriculum.
  • Delivered several Peace III projects across Northern Ireland bringing together young people and communities to tackle dissenting voices and build a shared future 2008-2013
  • Attended and addressed more than 100 conferences, among them a UN Conference on the rights of the child in the Lake District and the launch of the NSPCC’s children’s manifesto in Sheffield.
  • Big Lottery funded project set up more programmes in the North East, Birmingham and Yorkshire (2007)
  • The Department of Education through the Youth Sector Development Fund supported Headliners to expand its work with young offenders, young people in care and those with alcohol and substance misuse issues in 2009 – 2011.
  • The Northern Rock Foundation has funded Headliners in Newcastle to work with refugees and asylum seekers to raise their voices and break down prejudice 2010- 2013.
  • Awarded a grant through the International Fund for Ireland Sharing In Education Programme to bring together pairs of schools, one Protestant and one Catholic to learn together and promote a shared future 2011-2013.
  • Big Lottery Fund is supporting Headliners in London and the North East of England to work with young people in and leaving care to improve their employment prospects and life outcomes (2012 – 2015)
  • In Northern Ireland we are working with young people in and leaving care, young offenders and young people out of school to empower them and improve their outcomes, funded for five years through the Big Lottery Fund starting 2012
  • The Department for Education in England has funded Headliners to raise the voice of children and young people with Special Educational Needs, Disabilities and other health needs and improve and reform services in London and the South East and North East of England.
  • Delivering the National Citizen’s Service (NCS) in the North East of England supporting young people to set up their own social action projects and improve their employment prospects (2013 -2015)
  • Set up Digital Citizens to help young people fill the digital skills employment gap and also help vulnerable young people to stay safe on-line.