You Press is a social enterprise based in London, which is currently run by volunteers and creative artists to support young writers and poets to bring their words and art to a wider audience. Our projects involve empowering young people to find their voice and be heard. This involves challenging stereotypes and stigmas about young people and communities (through creative arts and writing). For more information about our work and projects, please read Our Projects.
Cohesive communities in which young people contribute and are valued.
We believe in the power of words and stories to change lives for the better.
To use creative arts and writing to empower people to find their voice and be heard.
As an organisation, we pride ourselves on being: Pioneering, Specialist and Empowering.
As people, we pride ourselves on being: Passionate, Co-operative and Professional.
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.
In January 2011 You Press became registered as a social enterprise, and we have been growing rapidly since. We are closely linked to Youth in Action (funded by the European Commission) and plan to develop similar projects across the European Union.
In 2012 the You Press founding team graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies with Post Graduate Diplomas in Law and Community Leadership (awarded Distinctions), through a scholarship programme funded by Tower Hamlets Council.
In 2014 after completing many international and national training programs, we started out in a new direction. This focused on giving marginalised and invisible community members a voice through the creative arts. The initial project – ‘One Story: Our Voice‘ involved pairing artists with homeless young people and helping them explore and narrate their stories through performance based artistic pieces (poetry, spoken word and music).
With the success of the pilot project (One Story, Our Voice); we have developed our approach to address various social issues in our society. Our vision with the One Story, Our Voice project model is to have a more empathic society and our mission is to deliver 10 week projects, designed to narrate 10 life stories of marginalised people and turn it into powerful poems, spoken word and music. The aim of our project model is to shed light to the challenges and perceptions of marginalised people and the outcome is to have a more positive community attitude to young people and marginalised people.
This model has now been applied to a range of projects with diverse individuals, including, in 2015 ‘One Story, Our Voice: Voices of Redemption‘, a project with ex-offenders, details of which can be found in Our Projects.