In 2009 a group of young people aged between 24-26 years old from Newham, East London met on a politics and public leadership programme UpRising run by the Young Foundation. During this time negative coverage of young people was rife in the media (through stories on hoodies, gang violence and teenage pregnancies), particularly in national newspapers in the UK. Their question was how young people from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds could gain more access, be included and contribute to mainstream British society? How could young people have a voice and gain positive attention from the public? These young people decided that it was time to find a solution. And so the You Press story began!
Their answer was to engage young people in media, providing opportunities, training and platforms for them to create their own public image. You Press first media partnership was with The Guardian and on June 2011 we launched a youth focused series called Youth Tell Us, publishing articles written by young people on subjects such as Education, Political Participation, Employment, Sexual Health and Multiculturalism.
The You Press team has interviewed broadcaster Jon Snow, local poet Benjamin Zephaniah, ex-president of Portugal Jorge Sampaio, Mayor Luftar Rahman and Imran Khan and Suresh Grover (The Lawrence human rights lawyers).
Since then our achievements have been recognised by a range of organisations. In September 2011 You Press won 1st place for the International Citizen Media Award held in Germany for the internet category. The award distinguished the commitment of international, European or national producers in reporting on local, regional and globally socially relevant themes. Our dedication to involving citizens and volunteers in developing and setting up an active civil society was key to our success.
We have also been named “Inspiration of the Week” by Urban Pollinators, a think tank working with leading practitioners on issues around regeneration and society. This recognised the You Press team’s work enabling young people to promote positive change through the media. Urban Pollinators also supported us by profiling the Youth Tell Us series on their online features.
More recently we were awarded the “Sustainable Social Action Campaign” by UpRising Leadership programme for our work on You Press and the community.