A response to the destruction of youth services in the UK
My name is Raphael Matthews, I am the founder of “Perception2Life Youth of Today and Tomorrow”. Growing up in southeast London, I was confronted with many issues, including: racism, classification, social disparities, gang violence. It sickens me to see this passed down to yet another generation. Last year, according to the Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC), there was a record 4.400 incidents of knife violence. This comes on the back of reports detailing that £959 million (YMCA & Guardian), was taken away from youth services, homeless shelters and small charities helping young people across the UK since 2012. In January, 2018, my friend's cousin Harry Uzoka was violently murdered as he was coming back from London Fashion Week. These events convinced me that something needed to be done, so I started Perception2Life.
We believe it takes a community to raise a child
Perception2Life is a community-driven organisation that tackles knife and gun culture through education, training and free creative programmes for underprivileged youth. We aim to change a young person's perception of their surroundings through training and personal development. We do this by recruiting students of all ages and matching them with programmes that improve wellbeing, increase employment prospects and empower their imagination. Perception2Life develops education programmes with community input; it then collaborates with small businesses, grassroots organisations, community gardens and social enterprises by sharing resources, staff and funding to reach the greatest number of young people. We are a community hub, both digital and physical, that raises awareness through means of marketing and sponsorship, creating a bridge between industry sectors, community and youth. So far we have recruited students from secondary schools, colleges, and university students to work with us and our partners to gain experience and skills to put on their CVs for future employment.
How we got here
We started by sending through a proposal to University of Greenwich & Trinity Laban Conservatory for spaces to start free classical music classes. After bidding in November 2018, we got a building space, 'The Bridge', in Pleasant Park, East Greenwich. We put on 'Reflective Art Programmes', to address social anxiety and depression.
Throughout the summer of 2019, we provided young people aged 11-18 with expressive art classes called 'Reflection Through Art', tackling aspects of anxiety and depression. We joined Robert Levy Foundation to produce three-week classes in ‘Motor Engineering’ & ‘Fashion & Make up’, for groups of 15 young persons, allowing them to learn theoretical and practical skills. These practical skills, such as MOT, Servicing & Maintenance, helped these young people aid and develop their mindset, also providing them with an introduction into the industry.
In February 2020, we were all set to tailor some free first aid courses for youth aged 6-24. Once lockdown set in, we began talking with Google Spaces to provide online sessions, with a view to resuming in person activities post-lockdown. In June, Microsoft contacted us to set up remote web design, app & coding classes for young people. Recently, we spoke to ‘Ahoy’ in Greenwich and will be organising boat engineering classes in September, 20120, alongside more art classes once schools resume. Finally, we are now corresponding with Greenwich University, discussing how best to organise spaces and work work with is musicians to start giving classical music classes to young people for free. Once lockdown has lifted, we plan to resume our community engagement, to fully deliver on these programmes and reach out to more youth and communities than ever.
To date, Perception2Life has:
Partnered with Clothes For Causes & Rhodes Bakery in Greenwich to donate supplies to Brixton Soup Kitchen to support their outreach programmes for the homeless.
Assisted Street Link and The Salvation Army Centre, providing clothes, toiletries and sleeping bags to rough sleepers.
Partnered with Waggy Tails to aid young people with autism at the Emmanuel Centre in Croydon.
First youth training programme: ‘Reflection Through Art’ for fifty 11-18 year olds at ‘The Bridge,’ Pleasant Park. . Five sessions of expressive art classes, tackling aspects of anxiety and depression.
Partnered with Robert Levy Foundation (RLF) at New City College, Hackney to produce a ‘Motor Engineering, Fashion & Make up’ course for fifteen 11-24 year olds. This three week programme taught theoretical and practical skills including MOT Servicing & Maintenance. This programme provided young people the opportunity to develop their mindsets and gain an introduction into the industry.
2020: Covid strikes. With your help, we will deliver on all the programmes that have been planned, both remote and in person, as follows:
Our ask: £10,000 - 25,000
£10,000; will pay for the time of myself, Raphael Matthews, and my team of facilitators to provide the following programmes:
- 10 expressive art classes for fifteen 11-18 year old from deprived and underprivileged backgrounds.
- Three week programme, Monday-Friday, free class for fifteen 11-24 year old in Motor Engineering, Fashion & Make Up, in partnership with Robert Levy Foundation.
- 1 audio and sound engineering workshop per month for fifteen 11-18 year old from deprived and underprivileged backgrounds, in partnership with Nightingale Audio Solutions.
- 3 virtual sessions and 3 walk-in office tour sessions, connecting people from Google with SE London youth, in partnership with Google.
- Rent out build spaces and equipment for projects and insurance
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
For more information please check our Web & social media platforms:
Facebook: Perception2Life Youth Of Today & Tomorrow
Website under construction: www.perception2life.com
"We are all rain drops if we drop together, we will create a tidal wave and wash this problem away" .