Assistant Youth Development Co-ordinator Isabel Chapman is nominated for 24 Housing’s 2014 Young Leader award. Here she reflects on the achievements of young people she has supported through Peabody projects across London.

Isabel Chapman (1)

It’s been an exciting few weeks at Peabody, both for me personally, and for young people involved in our projects. We've had some fantastic opportunities to promote the innovative campaigns our young people are leading to educate, inform and influence their peers on a range of social issues.

From award nominations, to events at the Houses of Parliament, it’s great to see the impact and value of this work being recognised by those in the housing sector and beyond.

We're engaging with thousands more young people through visits, workshops and assemblies in schools, and youth groups across London, and are using digital technology as a way of addressing the challenges they are facing.

Community Impact

Our Staying Safe project was one of four regional winners at the National Housing Federation Community Impact Awards and will compete for a national award next month. The project is made up of 10 youth led campaigns aimed at improving the safety of young people in London. These include the award winning Oii my Size, a web campaign demonstrating the legalities of sexting; knife awareness augmented reality campaign, Your Choice, Your Future, and Ask Keely, a mobile optimised website and soon to be released app, providing young people with information around travel, health and what to do in an emergency.

Community Impact Awards                                       Success at the Community Impact Awards

Staying Safe has supported 138 young people to develop the skills to manage a campaign, while 20,388 have been indirectly engaged through a range of other channels including posters, merchandise, events and festivals.  We’re delighted that the project has been recognised for this prestigious award, which acknowledges how our youth projects are empowering young people to take the lead when tackling issues that affect their day-to-day lives.

The Community Impact award was also a proud moment for the three young women behind Oii My Size, which was commended at the UK Sexual Health Awards earlier this year. Two and a half years in, the project has grown in ambition and ability. Campaign leaders Sana, Savannah and Shanice have now presented to over 5,000 young people in schools across London. The Oii My Size app is due to be released this summer, and will signpost young people to guidance and support services around sharing sexual content, abusive relationships and bullying.

Influencing Policy

Sana, Savannah and I recently attended a National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO) event at the House of Commons, exploring the media representation of young women. The girls and I gave a short presentation about the importance of using youth-led campaigns to influence policy, and why issues facing young women need to be a part of the EU political agenda. 

Oii my size House of Commons                                   Sana and Savannah at the House of Commons

I had the opportunity to contribute to a new book by Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, a collection of over 10,000 women's daily experiences of gender inequality. Laura interviewed the Oii My Size girls last year as part of her campaign, and asked me to contribute to a section about current issues faced by young women who are at risk of gang exploitation.

Finally, I was surprised and thrilled to be shortlisted for the 24 Housing Young Leaders Award, which is testament to the great work Peabody is doing with young people across London. I am incredibly grateful to everyone that has voted for me, and am keen to use this platform to promote best practice, and encourage other housing providers to develop similar innovative, youth-led projects that use technology to instigate change.