UEL student Enja Helmes has worked with traumatised young people and youth clubs in deprived areas. Her experience was a perfect fit for the ‘Hub67 Street Team’ - a project aimed at getting young people interested in the life and future of local youth club Hub67, which is a dynamic space in the shadow of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Enja and three other students spent eight weeks in 2015 working with UEL Lecturer and Hub67 Chairperson Tracie Trimmer-Platman to pilot ways of meeting and talking with young people in Hackney.
“For me, civic engagement is about a wide variety of people getting involved in their community,” Enja said.
Dr Trimmer-Platman said the project’s audience was a very specific group of people.
“We wanted to engage local residents who hadn’t made a lifestyle choice to live in the area, but had no choice but to live there. People in social housing, care homes, and so on,” she said.
Twice a week the students went to local open spaces and parks, hoping to share ideas and hear the views of young people.
“We met a lot of young women who were interested, but had to look after very young siblings. So we realised that the centre needed to be friendly to primary school aged children,” Enja said.
Participating in the project added a new dimension to Enja’s Education with Psychology degree. The practical side of the work, the youth club setting, and the views of the young people enriched her academic study, she said.
“This provides a sound and valuable foundation in community action and development,” Dr Trimmer-Platman said. She emphasised that Hub67 is in its infancy, so learning and listening is really important as it takes flight.
A day of celebration hosted this summer by UEL brought together university staff and students, researchers from Oxford University and guests from the University of Cambridge, the Canal and River Trust, East London Dance, London Legacy Development Corporation, and representatives of the Barbican.