Fight for Peace Alliance organisations from across the UK gathered simultaneously in locations in Wales, England and Northern Ireland earlier in December to share knowledge, strengthen relationships and celebrate the end of a challenging year.

The events took place in six locations in all, namely Belfast, Canterbury, Cardiff, Hull, Liverpool and Tamworth, with Alliance organisations in these towns and cities opening up their spaces and facilities as event hosts.

“The day was a great opportunity to learn from other, similar organisations working with youngsters and how we can develop”, said Faith Attwell, from Hangar Human Performance Centre in Cardiff, one of the organisations hosting an event.

Photo by Lily Bartley.

The aim of the events was exactly this, to create a space for organisations to come together and share the work they are doing while learning from Alliance partners working in the same area and often meeting the same challenges. That’s what the Fight for Peace Alliance is all about, working collaboratively to learn from and support each other to have the greatest impact on young people and our communities.

To this end a number of presentations and workshop style sessions were held across the different events, led by participating organisations and covering a range of topics including youth leadership, education, working with students with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND), inclusive boxing, and nutrition.

“I have big plans for growing our youth membership next year, and learned loads on how [others] work day-to-day with their youngsters, especially when it comes to developing youth Leaders”, explained Faith, referring to her big takeaway from the event in Cardiff. “Overall, the day has given me confidence to proceed and develop, and ideas to grow.” 

Young people and youth leadership were key elements of the events with young people and junior members of staff both leading and participating in a number of the workshops, and taking part in showcases of combat sports training and sparring. This included a team from Fight for Peace that attended the Canterbury event, presenting on combat sports programmes for juniors and participating in boxing sparring. 

Photo by Lily Bartley.

Collaborative events like these are the heartbeat of the Fight for Peace Alliance both in terms of the knowledge and learning gained and the relationships and bonds built between participants, a point made by Marcellus Baz, Founder of long time Fight for Peace Alliance organisation Nottingham School of Boxing and Switch Up:

“I thought the event was a great way of organisations sharing best practices, resources and most importantly trust. Trust to work with each other to provide a diverse range of opportunities and experiences for young people. The young people we took this event came back with a new positive outlook after the experience and knowledge they received.”

Bali Khuman, Alliance Development Officer at Fight for Peace underlined the importance of having these face to face events in one of the most difficult years for all participants. 

“We know that getting together can have tremendous outcomes in terms of us all learning and building the relationships we need to work well together. This is what the Alliance is built on in many ways with the initial training element involving spending a week in each other’s company.” said Bali.

Photo by Lily Bartley.

“These last couple of years have obviously been very difficult and have limited opportunities for this type of in-person interaction and so it was wonderful to see so many events happening at the same time around the country and particularly pleasing to see so many young people from our organisations involved. This was a fantastic showcase of the power of collaboration and what the Fight for Peace Alliance is all about.”

These first of a kind Alliance events were a fitting way to end the year and a springboard into 2022 and towards even closer working, stronger relationships and the very best support for our young people as we grow, evolve and move forward together.

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