We recently held our first ever virtual event and we asked Power2 Trustee Georgia Hart to share her thoughts:

"This is the first time this has happened… no other generation knows what it’s like for young people right now."

Blessing, 16

How true – and are we really listening to hear the views of young people across the country going through such unprecedented times?

A group of funders, supporters, and thought leaders took time out of their first day of “Lockdown 2” to ‘stand in someone else’s shoes for a while’ and consider just this, at Power2’s brilliant Look Back to the Future virtual panel discussion. Power2 prioritises putting young people front and centre, listening and responding to immediate needs and we’ll keep on giving young people a platform to speak out and build a better future together.

I’ve been part of the Power2 Board of Trustees since 2016 and am consistently struck by the uplifting resilience of the young people we work with. It can be humbling and motivating to get a glimpse of the types of experiences lived through by these young people and that's part of what we were trying to achieve with this event. 

The panel of seven young people plus Kemoy Walker, social worker and Moss Side and Greater Manchester Ambassador, took questions from Rob Powell and Reena Gogna of Weill LLP, as well as Nomura’s Guy Hume, Jamie Johnson author Dan Freedman, and actress, author and entrepreneur Jane Asher. All are great supporters of Power2’s work.  

When the young people on the panel were referred to Power2 they were in a similar boat to the other 25,000 young people that have been supported by the charity since 2001. All disengaged from school in different ways, all living in disadvantaged circumstances, and all with at least one ‘functioning need’, such as anger management, mental health issues, being very withdrawn or isolated, or with extra caring responsibilities. All this before the challenges of 2020 had even begun. 

This year alone, they’ve faced a journey through one lockdown with virtual schooling; a locked-down summer break, returning to socially distanced school, then onto another wave of lockdown. Talk about needing to be resilient, adaptable and accepting of change! This event offered a much-needed opportunity to stop and consider how much is asked of young people, especially those who are already dealing with extra internal and external pressures every day.

"Young people are really creative, especially in lockdown – they should get reassurance instead of a lot of pressure as it makes us shut down rather than go on to do more."

Fatima, 18

"We need role models, people leading with empathy and compassion and an atmosphere where you can question things, like Power2’s programmes which are more like a conversation, a discussion - they make us think."

Amira, 25

"Leaders should be the sort of people who connect to the people they want to lead."

Hafsah, 15

"A good leader needs to be someone that doesn’t judge, someone you can count on and look up to."

Ashanti, 17

"The biggest thing I got from Power2 is confidence. 5 years ago there’s no way I would have done something like this event, speaking publicly."

Rahul, 19

For me, I think we can all benefit from giving greater respect to and taking greater inspiration from younger generations and learning from what they’re able to achieve in such challenging circumstances. I’m excited by the thought of what youth mayors, young influencers, and young trustees can help us to achieve by bringing energy, a fresh perspective, and unique networks to drive much-needed change.

We could all use some positive mutually beneficial relationship building, now more than ever, which makes the great work Power2 does resonate all the more. As Jane Asher said on hearing the young people’s panel discussion, ‘This makes it quite clear that Power2 works’.

I’m so proud to be able to offer my help as a Power2 trustee. Please offer our fantastic young people your support by subscribing to our newsletter here, so we can continue to share their voices with you.