The Livity Experience
Jessica Collings, from Legacy Trust UK came to work from the Livity offices for an afternoon and writes about her experiences meeting projects and organisations like somewhereto_ and Livity that Legacy Trust UK have funded.
As communications and marketing assistant at Legacy Trust UK I spend a lot of time sharing the inspiring news of our projects, which means that I am always coming across great stories about the involvement of young people.
Recently, I’ve been able to get out and about and experience this on the ground. In October I visited a somewhereto_ project in the West Midlands that we were filming for a video case study (to be released soon!). There I met Terence, the West Midlands co-ordinator, and Ophee, a young man who had turned his life around thanks to somewhereto_.
Ophee’s story before somewhereto_ involved getting in trouble and having brushes with the law. Now, he is leading regular football coaching sessions with children at his somewhereto _ space (pitches at a leisure centre) and training for a professional qualification. It was a long day, filming outdoors in the wet and cold, but Ophee was happy to oblige. The positive relationship that he had with Terence was clear to see.
We chose Ophee as an example of the work that our programmes are doing with young people of all backgrounds, up and down the UK. I was also able to visit Blaze in the North West, a Legacy Trust UK project that has helped young people to produce their own festivals and gain real life work experience in the creative industries. The young people I have met have developed a confidence and sense of direction that it is impossible not to admire.
One thing I often hear from our youth orientated programmes is how much the participants value the respect and responsibility they are given by the project co-ordinators. Handing ownership of a project to young people shows faith in their ability and it is a powerful tool.
Today I am visiting Livity HQ, where somewhereto_ calls home. It’s clear to see where this youth leadership angle has come from – it is ingrained in everything they do. In a bustling, bright space (“office” would be a misleading noun), young people are coming and going, creating and informing. I realise that I’ve become an unofficial participant: after all, they’ve just given me somewhereto_blog.