ACT-AS-1 Programme Specialist Consultant, Taibah Shah Richardson shares some of her experience as a Newham parent, and expresses why the work being delivered by our ACT-AS-1 partners is so important in supporting young people and families in our communities:
“In our lives we wear many ‘hats’ that impact why we do, say or feel as we do. My connection to Newham is the same.
I remember, as a child visiting my Nan, the walk from her flat on Rutland Road to the launderette on Green Street where she worked. Years later, as a Newham teacher, I taught in a school just minutes from where Nan lived.
Partly, I write this ACT-AS-1 column as a practitioner who has supported the AA1 Collective to implement the Mayor’s My Ends funded activities. As the initial two years funding ends, we celebrate that ACT-AS-1 has: provided intensive mentoring to young people at risk of violence and exploitation; funded hundreds of youth activities from martial arts to music production; delivered outreach street youth work supporting thousands of young people; held Community Link Ups enabling local people to have their say; funded projects through our Neighbourhood Wallet including a community shop and youth cafe and; strengthened youth involvement through our Youth Leadership Group.
Yet of all the hats that connect me to Newham, and ACT-AS-1, heaviest is that of being a Newham parent. Recently, I attended a parenting workshop led by Yemisi, our brilliant ACT-AS-1 mentor. I was there with a few of my hats on, as a practitioner but also as a Newham parent. A major take-away for me was the simple but profound reminder to check in with my children. Later that day, when I took this advice, my eldest shared her worry that someone had a knife at school. My response was different to her dad’s. Being a parent is not easy. But that is because being a child isn’t always a walk in the park either.
For every ‘incident’ that happens in our communities, there is a child, parent, a family, a community that feels the ripples. Our Collective sends love and light to one of ours whose family is going through this trauma. It takes a village to raise a child. We mustn’t wait for another child to be impacted by violence before we as a village rise up. ACT-AS-1 stands for All Communities Together Are Strong. We all play our part, whatever hat we wear, to help our young people stay safe and thrive.
We are thrilled that ACT-AS-1 has secured extension funding to build on our successes going forward. We are excited to launch our Youth Event on March 29, a catalyst for a youth movement for peace in Newham.”
ACT-AS-1 is a Newham based Fight for Peace Collective that 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. For more information about ACT-AS-1, our upcoming Youth Event, or to get involved, visit www.actas1newham.co.uk.