An excited group of FBB participants were delighted to take part in the HeadStart Action Showcase at City Hall at the end of January. The showcase gave young people between the ages of 14-18 the opportunity to speak their minds on various contemporary societal issues.
Two groups of students from Harris Peckham Academy put on performances highlighting a range of topics such as mental health, distortion in the media and racial profiling to name a few. They were also lucky enough to meet Deputy Mayor of London Debbie Weekes-Bernard, who attended the showcase and spoke to the young people directly.
The event was organised as part of the HeadStart Action programme, which provides bespoke support to young people in disadvantaged areas, helping them to gain employability skills, aid in their personal development and introduce them to social action.
FBB’s project leads Ceylon Hickman and Stefan Imeson worked with these students every Thursday after school both in the classroom and on the football pitch, working together to identify the issues that mattered most to them and empowering them to become agents of change in their communities.
On the football pitch, the young people had worked on challenging football drills where certain players were presented with barriers to overcome. Through these, the students learnt about privilege, opportunity and using their skills and abilities to overcome adversity through football-related values such as teamwork, leadership and resilience.
All of this work culminated in a powerful showcase at City Hall. The FBB family watch proudly as their group of year 10’s ripped up copies of The Sun and the Daily Mail that inaccurately portrayed young people through negative stereotypes and narratives. One by one each young person spoke about the unrepresentative picture society paints of them.
“Did you know that the media stigmatizes mental health?” said Leon, a young person representing FBB. “It creates a false narrative of normal people and crazy people. At least one in four people in the UK will suffer from mental health every year.”
At the end of the performance, project lead Ceylon Hickman joined the young people on stage to speak with two of the students about their experience working with FBB and what they learned throughout the process.
“The young people from Harris Peckham were one of the most dynamic and thoughtful groups I’ve had the pleasure of working with. They spoke truth to power as they rejected the narratives that the media perpetuates about them, forcing the audience to interrogate every assumption they had made about different groups of society.”
The immense amount of joy on the young people’s faces was clear as they received their own FBB T-shirts at the end of the showcase. The FBB family is incredibly proud of the performances our young people gave and we are excited to support them as they continue to command their own narratives!
Huge thanks to Team LDN, Deputy Mayor of London, Debbie Weekes-Bernard and everyone else at City Hall for hosting such a wonderful event!