A guest blog from the Make Shift Foundation…
The last few months at Peckham Levels have been full of promise and progress for Make Shift Foundation. Our ultimate aim is to make Peckham Levels a hive of young activity and enterprise that platforms, supports and encourages talented 16-25 year olds. Paramount to that mission is making Peckham Levels an accessible space that represents the best of youth culture while offering meaningful opportunities.
Creating the kind of change we want to see will take time and commitment. We hope to realise our ambition through the creation of programmes that will provide young people with the skills and qualifications to harness their ambitions. We’ve identify paid work opportunities as a key milestone and, in many respects, the logical conclusion to pathway we’re building. It’s the point at which our relationship to programme participants becomes one of support rather than leadership.
The first step in creating that pathway has been establishing our Inspire programmes that aim to show young people the range of opportunities available to them through a series of talks and workshops. Inspire is based on the power of insight, so that young people may see and seize chances.
Thus its a source of great pride that we we were able to hold our first Inspire event, Breakthrough Stories, at the end of September in the newly minted Peckham Gallery. We worked with Elephant Room co-founder Shannie Mears to put together an exciting panel featuring the founders of DLT Brunch, Levile TV and Roniebond who were able to share stories of their successes (and failures) and offer invaluable insights in an intimate setting with an audience of 30. Our panel generously stayed behind long after the scheduled finish time to keep talking and sharing. Next up we have local collective O’Honey Studio leading an animation workshop.
Not all of the work we’ve undertaken has been highly visible. For months, we’ve worked away in the bowels of Peckham Levels to transform the basement, formerly home to Plonk mini-golf into a space fit for Peckham’s first youth market. This has involved planning, paint and the help of a great many people along the way. On 31st August, the paint barely dry, we opened the doors to the public for the first time for the Made in Peckham Youth Market. Our market showcased 18 young traders, many of whom hadn’t held a market stall before. The excitement amongst the group was palpable and the experience proved invaluable. Putting your product in front of the public and opening yourself up to scrutiny takes courage, especially if your product is something you’ve previously developed in your own time and space. We’re now working to ensure the audience for the market continues to grow alongside our traders and find ourselves on the verge of holding our third market at Levels. The experience to date has been one of learning, adapting and evolving…
Being able to retain a number of traders from the first to the third market and watch them develop has been a source of pride for Make Shift Foundation. We see the Youth Market not only as trading space but also as a programme that supports young entrepreneurs through a peer network that is bolstered with professional advice and training. Alongside our third market we will hold the first of our business basics workshop in partnership with Business Launchpad. 90% of the traders who came to that first market identified business support as an area they would like help with so we’re delighted to be able to meet that need so quickly.
As we close the year, we are focusing on consolidating those early gains with the continued growth of Inspire and the Youth Market. We also have some additional programmes we hope to be able to announce in the near future.
Keep an eye on the Make Shift Foundation on Instagram.