At Fight for Peace, our community is at the heart of what we do. We understand the importance of working together to become stronger, and that’s exactly what the ACT-AS-1 programme sets out to do.
An acronym of All Communities Together Are Strong, ACT-AS-1 brings together organisations in the borough of Newham to improve the safety, wellbeing and future prospects of young people.
We sat down with our ACT-AS-1 Project Lead, Richard Roach, to find out more about the aims of the programme and its impact so far.
What is ACT-AS-1?
Richard: ACT-AS-1 is a project created by the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) with its main aim and objective being to improve youth safety within Canning Town, Custom House, and Plaistow South.
The ACT-AS-1 team is spread amongst four consortium partners which include AAA (Ambition, Aspire, Achieve), Exit Foundation, REIN (Rights and Equalities in Newham), and ourselves, Fight for Peace – who are the lead organisation.
The two-year project began last March, and has three outcomes – to create stronger community networks, to adopt a more fostering inclusive decision-making process, and to have greater capacity within community led networks and grassroots organisations. This means bringing the community together more in order to create an ecosystem that can help us make decisions that include everybody’s voices, and will positively impact the community as a whole.
We also have access to funding to grant among grassroots organisations to help them grow their capacity, working with them on a one-to-one basis to upskill them and enable them to deliver more activities.
A year into the programme, what would you say the ACT-AS-1 team are most proud of?
We’re proud of the relationships we’ve managed to build, and improve within the community, including with the Police Safer Neighbourhood teams, local community members, the Youth Offending Service, and schools.
We’re also proud of the collaborative working with our consortium partners in the London Borough of Newham, with good partnership working allowing us to communicate openly in order to deliver as much support to our young people and community as possible. We are particularly proud of how we’ve all come together to bring the detached outreach team to areas where they can engage with young people who may need support.
All of the consortium partners have worked really hard since the programme started, going above and beyond to support the needs of young people and the wider community. Exit Foundation mentored more young people than they had initially planned, and REIN and AAA joined forces, managing to reach a lot more young people than anticipated. 47 young people have been engaged via mentoring in this quarter of the project alone, which we are really happy about.
REIN have also hosted a number of Community Conversations, and a Community Roundtable event discussing youth safety, and was led by Councillor Carleene Lee-Phakoe.
What are your hopes for the future of ACT-AS-1?
One thing we’re all looking forward to is supporting grassroots organisations in the community to access the funding they need to develop and deliver even more impact.
We’re glad that Liona is working with us now as the new ACT-AS-1 Community Development Coordinator, providing a crucial role in developing the network – building relationships and identifying key areas for capacity and development within grassroots organisations in Newham.
We’re looking forward to using our community link ups (starting in March) being an informal way for the community to come out and meet together in a relaxed space where we can build relationships together and increase our partnerships.
We are looking forward to working closer with the community at a grassroots level to support each other to provide the tools, resources and activities young people need to progress and develop their careers, interests and talents as well as working as a collective to improve the safety of the neighbourhoods in the south of Newham.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the Youth Leadership programme?
The Youth Leadership group is a group of young people whose work focuses on social action. So far, they’ve had personal development debates and discussions around topics such as relationships, community, mental health, trauma, and talking about lived experiences while prioritising health and self-care.
They’ve had some social action workshops which discuss issues in the community around race, sexual assault, serious youth violence, mental health and have looked at a solutions-focused approach.
They also took the lead in developing the ACT-AS-1 branding and online presence, working with Tottenham Textiles to create our brand logo. They recorded a podcast about youth safety, comparing and contrasting their experiences, including interactions with gender and geography. They discussed whether music is an influence for young people when it comes to youth safety and looked at safety measures and possible solutions.
They’ve also recently done interviews with Volunteering Matters about what it’s like to be a young person of colour, with some recording themselves speaking about what makes them proud to be Black as a way of empowering themselves and others.
To find out more about the ACT-AS-1 programme, you can contact Richard via email firstname.lastname@example.org.