To the heart of our work in London: A visit to Peckham

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Posted 08 November 2011, 0 comments

Heidi Aho writes about the many ways in which our London Hub is a dynamic, inspiring programme.

Approximately 15 staff members from the London Hub

Paul Martin, Valery Lawrence and I from The Children’s Society’s media team walked through the bustling streets of Peckham in October, hungry to learn more about the work of The London Hub (as well as a quick lunch in a café next door). Having started in September, this was my first project visit.

The Hub's walls were purple and stars of achievements were roped around the banisters. My time there left me inspired to work and thirsty to know more.

The London Hub may seem like an elusive name, but really it is what it says on the tin. As varied as the colourful market stalls and shops we walked past to get there, it is a rich mix of projects reaching London’s young people.

Work at the Hub ranges from Greenwich Missing, one of our nine projects across the country that support runaways, to the Greenwich Intergenerational Community Cohesion project. The latter bridges the chasm between generations – young and old people join together in discussions and share their fears, prejudices and even baking tips.

Speed dating the projects

A handful of us from the media, campaigns, fundraising and regional fundraising teams came to meet the people running the Hub’s projects. We six visitors ‘speed dated’ the four project workers, grilling them in five-minute time slots, eager to hear about their work and to talk about potential collaboration.

Paul Crozier, head of the London Hub, spoke about the challenges the projects face, which included working with local authorities and charities in an increasingly unstable economic environment.

Nevertheless this was by no means the reigning atmosphere – instead, project workers Lorna Jacques, Geraldine Boyles and Lloyd Mitchell were bursting with tales to tell. They shared stories of the young people they worked with, including seemingly impossible difficulties and great victories.

Indeed we were inspired by the London Hub, and were reminded of how many stories there are to be told – stories the public should hear. We promised to work to get stories out there, and we meant it.

Working with more young people

Many more ideas were born of the visit. The Children’s Society’s Campaign for Childhood division is on the brink of an increased emphasis on participation of young people who have been through our projects and who want work experience. They have skills we can use and their presence will help us keep motivated and on track.

Lloyd, project worker on Greenwich Children and Young People’s Participation Service, asked for a synopsis of what the Campaign for Childhood and its various departments do – it could be a map of possibilities for the passionate, politicised young people with whom he works.

The campaigns team, too, discussed the involvement of young people in our petition efforts – they may not be able to vote but we should still give them a voice.

We left the London Hub determined to feed back into the projects the hope and inspiration they so readily gave to us.

By Heidi Aho, Media and Campaigns Assistant 

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