It’s been just over a year since the launch of our ACT-AS-1 project (All Communities Together Are Strong), which aims to bring together organisations in the borough of Newham to improve the safety, wellbeing, and future prospects of young people. Particular focus lies within the Canning Town, Custom House and Plaistow South areas.
The ACT-AS-1 project brings together four partners who have a long-standing history of working in Newham to come together as a consortium. The partnership is made up of the following organisations: Ambition, Aspire, Achieve (AAA), Exit Foundation, Rights and Equalities in Newham (REIN), and ourselves, Fight for Peace.
Last Thursday, we were delighted to host the first of many Community Link Ups. An opportunity for community members, practitioners and professionals, and young people, to come together and share experiences, discuss ideas, and build on a collective vision of improving youth safety in Newham.
The turnout was great! With over 40 from all over Newham attending, the energy was incredible, and we’ve been inspired by the people of Newham who were so open to come together to listen, and have their voices heard.
As well as the ACT-AS-1 team showing out in full force, we were thrilled to welcome members of ACT-AS-1 Youth Leadership group, partners, community representatives, and even some of the Fight for Peace team!
To find out more about how the launch of our monthly Community Link Ups went, we spoke to ACT-AS-1 Project Lead, Richard Roach:
“The great thing about ACT-AS-1 is that it works across Newham. Sure, we’re Fight for Peace, but what’s nice about the Community Link Ups is that we are able to gain more of a sense of how we work in a bigger Newham context,” Richard explained.
“We’ve actually got youth organisations and a range of community members who we work with who are very much making decisions together, which is brilliant!” he continued.
“We really believe in delivering something community-based, and last week really felt like something that was able to do that. We heard opinions and ideas from the community, allowing a wider cross section between them. That felt good as we were getting input back- it feels so important.”
The event was also a chance for community members to gain funding from our Neighbourhood Wallet, a £50,000 grant which aims to help support community-led ideas that work with young people and improve connections locally. ACT-AS-1 Community Development Coordinator, Liona Bravo has played a key role in re-granting these funds, so we checked in to hear how the first round of pitches went!
“We are pleased to have had two community members pitch their ideas for funding. One of them will be setting up a community shop somewhere very close to our Academy, selling products made by young people. She’ll also be offering a couple of internships to young people who could benefit, which is great! She is also a young person herself who started hand making things from a young age, and these are exactly the kind of relationships we are excited about continuing to build and nurture!” Liona told us.
“Another community member will be doing some key work in the community, delivering physical activity days over half term and holiday periods when there isn’t always as many activities for young people to be involved in,” she said.
And it doesn’t stop there! Next week, we’ll be welcoming a number of community members into our Academy to pitch their ideas, and are hoping to fund even more projects in the near future.
It’s been a jam-packed year for ACT-AS-1, and we can’t wait to see what the next year (and beyond) will bring. Well done to the ACT-AS-1 team, our consortium partners, Youth Leadership group, and to all of the community members who came to be a part of our vision for a safer Newham! See you at the next one!
If you missed it, don’t worry! We’ll be back every last Thursday of the month at Community Links in Canning Town. We’re also encouraging community members to be a part of the Neighbourhood Wallet panel for upcoming events. We value everyone’s input, and encourage a panel that represents the needs of Newham as a whole. If you would like to find out more about the Neighbourhood Wallet, or how you can become a panel member, please contact Liona Bravo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photography: Lily Mae (@99CLIQS)