Practice what’s preached

Since my last post, which was on the riots, I decided to actually get involved. After watching an interview on the BBC, I emailed the CEO of London Youth who put me in touch with one of his excellent team members to discuss ways of collaborating.

 London Youth

London Youth is a “network of 400 youth organisations across the capital who are supported by the London Youth team of over 100 dedicated individuals in London and at our two centres. [They] support and challenge young people, whatever their background and whoever they are, to reach their full potential” (

Nick Wilkie, the CEO, emailed “Currently we are developing our new Youth Action” and “Youth Leadership” programme … [and] the majority of the research models … are based on a deficient model that young people have issues that need to be fixed. We are much more interested in how we can positively measure their capabilities and encourage them to develop and grow these further. … Your knowledge of psychology and leadership strategy could really help us to embed scientific rigour in the programme”.

So, I met up with Natasha and we discussed the kind of measures that London Youth has been reviewing (like SDQs) vs. what they like to be using (more positive measures that capture leadership, self awareness, pro-activity and relationship building). I was very impressed with their approach: It is based on evidence, takes into account the importance of individual experiences and makes sense. Instead of a ‘the system is against us’ tone, their seven principles display values such as agency, humility and intelligence. Moreover, I like their organised approach – to organise Youth Work in such a way that it is evident how much society benefits from it.

They presented a report called ‘Hunch’ at the House of Lords on the 10th of November. I was given a sneak peek and read it with interest: Any question that it raised, it answered it on a subsequent page. It provides evidence for claims made and gives some insightful stats (15% of a young person’s waking time is spent in formal education… what do they do with the rest of it? (Watch the Inbetweeners to get a flavour of the more benign end of teen activity…) and, sadly, England & Wales is No. 2 of having the highest number of young people in custody).

Lord Victor Adebowale, in full support of what London Youth does, stated “you are not paid to be negative”, which is a refreshing take on what approach is necessary to make a change and one amazing example of positive impact can be listened to here, in an interview with Francis: 

The tweet hash tag is  and the full report can be downloaded from here. I was honoured to be invited and in the meantime, I’ll carry on with my work with Natasha – we think that Bandura’s ‘Self Efficacy’ could work. I also just emailed the government’s Big Society to emphasise the need of triangulation: good parenting, great youth work and solid formal education via 

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