Monday, 30 May 2011
Working at Fitzrovia Youth in Action has been a vital time in my life. Not only has it allowed me to learn life in an office environment, and accumulate a wide range of skills, it has also allowed me to find myself.
I began work with an enthusiastic outlook on my workload, looking forward to working on some of the video and magazine projects that I knew FYA produced. However, I was undoubtably a little skeptical, on how willing the staff would be on allowing me to do some of these more demanding tasks. Thankfully, the staff were more than willing to let me be an integral part of the team! I very quickly felt comfortable working in an office surrounded by staff and felt less and less of a student on work placement, and more of a genuine worker at Fitzrovia Youth in Action.
Having worked with young people in the past, I was hoping I would get a chance to do so at FYA. I was elated to find that I would have this opportunity 2 weeks in. Working with such a diverse range of kids, has confirmed my passion for working in a mentoring role with young people. I felt the same joy of helping people excel in what they do, that I did whilst working with students in the past. This reassurance, has led to me applying, and getting a job as a playscheme worker leading art based sessions with young people over the Summer.
I cannot be more thankful to the staff at Fitzrovia Youth in Action, and to UCA for allowing me to carry out work placement here. It has been an enjoyable, hard working and rewarding experience for me, driven by my passion for mentoring young people.
I hope to work within this field in the future!
Fitzrovia Youth in Action was set up by teenagers and young adults in 1997 in response to tensions around the Warren play area and 5-a-side football pitch, situated just behind central London’s busy Tottenham Court Road.
Residents living around the Warren had become increasingly worried about vandalism and anti-social behaviour. Small groups of young people met up at night to drink and play loud music from car stereos. A few years earlier, there had been pitched battles taking place at the Warren between White and Asian youths and tensions continued with residents finding weapons hidden inside the bushes around the playground. The benches were smashed up, the walls were covered in graffiti and there were no dustbins. The ground in the play area was strewn with broken glass. Parents did not bring their little children to the playground because they thought it was too dangerous. The fencing around the pitch was regularly broken up with people playing football late at night.
Young people got together themselves, without the involvement of any youth workers or other organisation, and began meeting every week on the broken benches in the playground. Begging or ‘borrowing’ brooms from road sweepers, we swept up the glass and threw away the wrecked benches and other dumped materials in a skip. We decided to re-allocate some bins from Tottenham Court Road and placed them in the Warren ourselves. Each week we met in the Warren and each week we did it again. When people littered the play area or played loud music at night, others put their ‘street cred’ on the line by asking them to turn the volume down and to put bottles in the bin instead of smashing them. We removed the graffiti from the play equipment. No more appeared. After a while we realised we did not need to do so much clearing up.
We had to raise all the resources we needed ourselves. We put together an organising committee of young people and everyone chipped in £5 to open a bank account for the group. We approached local business and planned a football tournament, the ‘ Fitzrovia Cup’, involving youth, resident and business teams. When the tournament was held on 19 July 1997, we used the occasion to launch ourselves formally as a youth organisation with the specific aim of supporting young people in youth-led community action. We became a registered charity in 2000.
Our work began with improving social relations around the Warren football pitch in Fitzrovia (Fitzrovia is the name of the central London district around BT Tower). This work continues through our football programme and we organise a range of local projects aimed at improving relationships between young people and other residents, including the annual Street Party and Residents’ Meal . Since we were established, we have witnessed the many benefits that self directed community action can have for the young people concerned and for the wider community.
Much of our work nowadays is focussed on promoting youth participation throughout the London Borough of Camden. We operate peer education projects, youth media projects (‘OnRoad’ youth magazine and video production), healthy living projects and various projects aimed at bringing together young people from different backgrounds and improving understanding.
Quote from Director Andre Schott on FYA's work during the 2009-2010 period:
"Fitzrovia Youth in Action has become an accreditation centre for the AQA award system and young people involved in our projects completed a total of 265 learning models through their involvement with us during 2009-10.
The highlight of the year was undoubtedly the ‘Camden Youth Action’ showcase we organised in March 2010. It was great to see the Camden Centre filled to capacity with young people, parents, policy makers and practitioners who came to witness the work produced over the year by many different groups of young volunteers."
Fitzrovia Youth in Action partnered with young people from South Camden Youth Access Point to create this short film about Shisha smoking in the London Borough of Camden. The film explores cultural and social aspects of Shisha smoking as well as the health risks involved.
Many partner agencies around Camden have been involved in FYA projects, a full list with details can be seen in the link below:
For the magazine project, I was required to devise an article looking at the subject of Identity. I decided that one of my article's would look at 'social identity'. I got in contact with a young person enthusiastic about writing on this topic. I am responsible for helping her write the article which will look at the differences between how you are represented online and in person. I was also taught by my line manager how to email a corporation in order to get permission to reproduce any copyrighted images, to publish in the magazine, which I did.
Our manager had to attend a corporate event with our sponsors Metro Bank. At that time, no members of staff were available, and I was asked to assist him at this event. I spoke to various members of staff at Metro Bank, and told them about who I am, what I do, and what FYA do. I was also given a tour around the bank and given some freebies!
Having learnt how to update the youth organisation's website, I was given articles to post up. The director would send me images that I had to retouch in photoshop and post on the website with accompanying text. I had to update the layout and formatting of the website at the director's will.
I felt like a true member of staff at FYA, attending team meetings, and having my own opinion considered just as important as other members of staff. I feel privileged to be part of such a supportive team, and it means even more that a leaving do is being arranged! The director felt that I contributed a lot during the last Young Person's day, and I was personally asked to lead 'illustration workshops' with the young people during the next one.
I have found myself working for FYA, and have as a result applied for, and received a job, leading art based sessions with young people during the Summer.
Sunday, 29 May 2011
Monday, 23 May 2011
My third week was a reassuring, productive and enjoyable one!
I managed to create my animation for the Fitzrovia ident. This just needs to be converted from still images into a sequence using video editing software. A still from it can be seen above.
I was also able to help lead an 'events' day for young people at Fitzrovia Youth in Action. We had a turnout of about 20, and ran events including t-shirt printing, bracelet making and video gaming. I was assigned to t-shirt printing, and I helped the kids to be creative in their designs. Some children used the t-shirt as a medium of portraying their favourite tv-shows, and I helped to draw some of their favourite cartoon characters. This went down extremely well, and the director of FYA asked if I could run some 'drawing workshops' during the Summer for the young people.
I continued to research for the magazine articles, and found some interesting statistics accumulated by Sue Fiddler regarding Social Networking and young people.
Working for FYA is helping me find myself. There is something extremely rewarding about helping a person excel in their life.
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
I have just finished my second week of work experience and I am happy to say that the work isn't getting too mundane, and my creativity is constantly being tested!
A residential took place with with around 30 young people, staffed by my line manager and others. Although I didn't go on the residential, I created some content for the trip, including 6 full size flip chart paper drawings of the world's continents (excluding Antartica) for a healthy living activity.
I have also begun modeling the Fitzrovia mascot, Mr. Fitz, and will continue to further model, rig, and animate him.
I have also created some initial ideas and research methods into the content I will produce for the new magazine issue. I have decided to cover Online identity and Art identity, hopefully using some of UCA's very own students as voices for my articles for the latter, publishing Unit 1 Portraiture work in the magazine!
Monday, 9 May 2011
I've just finished the first week of my five week work experience with Fitzrovia Youth in Action. I can honestly say that I am enjoying the experience and am learning more and more everyday! I initially was worried about how much creative input I could actually present to FYA, but was reassured on the first day!
FYA have two media projects simultaneously running, the first a magazine, On Road, which looks at the subject of 'Identity' and the second, a video project highlighting Fitzrovia's youth football team during their season. I was able to provide creative ideas into the various articles that could be used in the latest issue. I was also able to suggest bringing FYA's mascot to life for the first time, through modeling and animation. I am currently working on this in Maya and the final result will be used in the video project.
I have also been able to work alongside my line manager in a group meeting with potential young writers from a company called Jobtrain. Within this, I led the icebreaker session and helped bounce ideas back and forth between the young people.
I have also had some experience helping distribute some of the previous issue of On Road magazine. I phoned up various doctor surgeries, dentists and libraries to offer them some free copies of the magazine.