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Engage London: A project helping young people at risk in Islington - Credit: Getty Images Full view

Engage London: A project helping young people at risk in Islington

In today’s society, young people all over Europe are facing a magnitude of issues including, but not limited to, homelessness, loneliness and a lack of employment. In an attempt to alleviate these issues, students from universities in Belgium, Germany, Romania, Spain and London have become part of the Engage Europe project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme. Each university has merged with organisations that help young people at risk to voice problems at hand, with a common goal to educate and engage.

Engage London involves students from City, University of London, who have partnered with the Pilion Trust, a group that helps disadvantaged young people in Islington. Paul Noblet, head of public affairs at Centrepoint, wrote for The Guardian: “Almost a quarter of a million under-25s in London have stayed in an unsafe place because they have nowhere to call home.”

In light of the major issues of homelessness and the general dangers that youngsters face in London, the Pilion Trust has set up a project called Crash Pad, which opens from 1st December through 1st May and “offers young people in crisis and at risk; a safe, friendly and family orientated place that they could come and rest”.

The representatives from City, University of London are creating projects alongside the young people from The Pilion Trust, that will voice challenges experienced living in Islington, through various forms of media such as expanding writing skills and different multimedia practices. The theme for the Islington based project is called ‘Hear Me Speak: respectful practice towards authentic young voices in media’.

Martina Chessa, a 23-year-old participant from The Pilion Trust explains why she became involved: ”We are in an historical period like no other. Thanks to the advancements in technology and in media, we have the power to lift our society to the next level, erasing the discrepancy existing within different ethnic origins and financial levels. Education, information, healthcare: they must come paired with the word “Equality”. Thanks to this project, we have the possibility to tackle those separation walls, step by step. The reason why I accepted to join, is that I care about these subjects.”

With this in mind, the participants have already been hard at work. Three students visited Tübingen, Germany to be involved in a Fake News workshop. The students from City and the young volunteers from The Pilion Trust also created a video introducing themselves — their first opportunity to be behind the camera and an initial step in their engagement in the media project.

Follow the Engage London: Hear Me Speak project via their blog, as well as watching the video for a chance to get to know the members better. You can also find out more about the partner universities across Europe by visiting the Engage Europe website.

Written by Catriona Beck

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