Rachel Henry is the Head of Community Partnerships at Fight for Peace, and plays an important role in mobilising our community to increase the impact of support to young people and their families. In this piece, she talks about the importance of collaboration within the youth sector, celebrates the recent relaunch of our Newham Youth Partnership, and reflects on a successful event at our North Woolwich Academy.

“We’re really excited to have relaunched the Newham Youth Partnership this June, a Fight for Peace Collective bringing together organisations from across sectors working with young people and families across Newham. We are committed to sharing our learning to strengthen our support for young people affected by violence, and influence policy and positive transformation in the borough.

A key part of the work includes the development of Future Light – a youth leadership group aiming to amplify the voices of young people speaking truth to power to have an influence on the issues affecting young people in our communities. Having a well connected youth sector, and providing young people with the opportunity to be a part of the conversation will improve the opportunities and support that young people and families can access.

We have an incredible group of organisations in Newham with highly skilled practitioners, many of whom see their work as a calling rather than a job – a desire to dedicate their lives to supporting our communities to thrive. I always find it inspiring bringing a group of professionals together and seeing the expertise, the care and the passion with which people work, and it was a real pleasure to host our relaunch event. 

We had 25 partners join us, and the energy was high! We started with some networking which is a valuable time to connect and learn about each other’s work. We then split into two groups – one made up of youth practitioners, and the other grassroots organisations, and each group looked at what partners want to achieve.

Some of the key focus points highlighted by both groups included: being able to identify the gaps and needs between organisations when supporting young people, better promotion of services to young people and residents (and between organisations), and more training, capacity building and sharing of information and resources. As the lead organisation, Fight for Peace is now building a strategy to bring back to our next meeting to discuss the next steps for moving forward towards reaching these goals. 

Moving forward in this rich partnership we will continue to share our skills and expertise through training, resources and peer support, improve promotion of services and activities within the community, collaborate on funding bids to respond to gaps in services, and advocate for the needs of the youth sector.

What I hear time and time again is that it’s easy to feel like you’re alone, wherever in the system you work – in the local authority, or in a small voluntary organisation. When we come together we are often united by the challenges we face, whether it’s a squeeze on budgets, increasing needs within the community, wider issues of growing inequality, or all of the above.

By working in partnership, we benefit from collective learning, problem solving and taking action together. When we invest in strengthening our networks and our relationships, we create stronger communities.”

Thank you to City Bridge for supporting this important work, and all who joined us for the launch event: Ambition, Aspire, Achieve, Be Heard As One, The Brave Project, Crafted Corner, DWP, East London Dance, Exit Foundation, Get Real Youth Services, Kailo, London Borough of Newham, Public Health, Maximus, One Newham, Rights and Equalities in Newham and Vanguard.

For further information about the Newham Youth Partnership and to get involved, please get in touch with

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