Category Archives: Yusif

My journey with Poached Creative

Pic: Tobias. Yousif Farrah outside the Poached Creative offices at Bootstrap.

Pic: Tobias. Yousif Farrah outside the Poached Creative offices at Bootstrap.

By Yousif Farrah

Poached Creative is a social enterprise communications agency, that puts creative jobs in reach for disadvantaged people. As their Volunteer Press Officer I can speak firsthand of how they make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Two years ago I was made homeless and had to drop out of University. It was at this time that I also experienced the loss of close relatives and life started to spin out of control. I ended up in prison and life seemed so bleak. I could not see any light at the end of the tunnel.

I genuinely believed that it was the end. Fortunately, upon my release from prison I began to receive support from homeless charity St Mungo’s Broadway and they told me about The Big Issue online journalism programme, which trains homeless and marginalised people in journalism and photography. Continue reading

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Big news for the online journalists!

Former trainee Anil Parmar, who has recently launched buzzbikehire.com

Former trainee Anil Parmar, who has recently launched cycle hire company buzzbikehire.com

By Yousif Farah

It is amazing news that the Big Issue online journalists have secured funding for a further two courses, thanks to the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund.

As a former trainee I am pleased the course will carry on opening its doors to more budding journalists like myself, who have been homelessness, marginalised, suffered from depression, or been long term unemployed.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Big Issue online journalism course re-union, that was attended by some of my former classmates and trainees from the other 3 courses. The reunion was aimed at reviewing the progress of the trainees, addressing any obstacles they may be facing and structuring a future plan for each trainee.

Having suffered from both depression and anxiety I understand how difficult it is to turn the tables round and start a new chapter in ones life. It requires willpower and determination and above all it requires the right mentoring and support. That is why for me the meeting was exciting and informative, but also inspirational, as I was exposed to shining examples of personal triumphs. These give me hope for the future and a feeling of relief and reassurance, knowing that I am not embarking on this journey on my own.

At the reunion I learnt that since completing the course Anil has seen his dreams materialise into reality by launching a bike hire business; Danielle has regained her confidence to be a successful journalist once again, Chris is working as a successful freelance filmmaker and Sam has joined the NUJ and interviewed household names such as Russell Brand and Caroline Lucas MP. To name just a few of the great stories.

Personally, since completing the course I feel like a different person, as the depression is fading away and for me the experience was life altering, to say the least! I am currently volunteering as a Press Officer with Poached Creative, freelancing for an art magazine called Homeless Diamonds and feel very optimistic about the future. All Praise to Poached Creative, The Big Issue and everyone involved in this project!

To see how the Big Issue online journalism course has helped transform the lives of other disadvantaged London residents visit the Trainee Case Studies page

The Dispossessed Fund makes a positive impact on the lives of marginalised and disadvantaged people, by providing grants to grass root charities and voluntary groups in London. To find out more about the Dispossessed Fund visit their website

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Generation Hackney, investing in our future

Picture: Ian Aitken - Richard Hearn, Founder of Generation Hackney

Picture: Ian Aitken – Richard Hearn, Founder of Generation Hackney

By Yousif Farah

Youth re-offending is one of many problems we are faced with as a society. Not many realize the gravity of the problem or its ramifications on our generation – or future generations for that matter. Recent re-offending rates are quite alarming; 75% of young people re-offend within two years of being released.

However, the youth are the foundation of the future, and we need to ensure that foundation is solid and durable. Generation Hackney is one of the charities battling to tackle the problem. Continue reading

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Meanwhile Space, making retail space affordable to start-ups

Pic: Sam Hooper: Meantime brings dying an ddead retail spaces back to life.

Pic: Sam Hooper: Meantime brings dead and dying retail spaces back to life.

By Yousif Farah

Meanwhile Space is an award winning social enterprise which is concerned with tackling the empty commercial spaces problem across the capital.

Meanwhile aims to help create and improve the business opportunities of aspiring entrepreneurs by using empty commercial property. The Social Enterprise, which came second in the RBS top 100 social enterprises in London list, provides entrepreneurs with business ideas the space they need at a low cost. Continue reading

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Hackney park to mark 125th anniversary

Pic: Jan Weuterisse: Dog walkers enjoy Clissold Park ahead of the anniversary celebrations

Pic: Jan Weuterisse: Dog walkers enjoy Clissold Park ahead of the anniversary celebrations

By Yousif Farah

A famous Victorian Park is set to celebrate its 125th Anniversary in June. Clissold Park, in Stoke Newington, which has held green flag award since 2006 in recognition of its clean and green spaces, is one of Hackney’s oldest and most cherished parks.

However, despite the Anniversary being less than six months away there is no clear indication as to how the occasion will be marked despite organisers of the event calling on friends and users of the park to suggest ideas.

So the Big Issue Online Journalists team visited the park this week to find out local ideas and opinions on how to commemorate the occasion.

Andy Brown, an 82-year-old who has been coming to the park for a walk for the last 15 years, said: “I knew the anniversary was this year, but have no idea what they’re planning to do. I wish they’d finish building the tennis courts. I’ll probably just celebrate it by having an afternoon walk.”

However, Adam Grice, a technician and radio presenter from Dalston, had plenty. He said: “They should have theatre and sports games from 125 years ago with a modern twist. Actually, find out who was top of the hit parade back then and get a local grime artist to play all the old hits and do cover versions.”

Pic: Jan Weutersisse: How should Clissold Park celebrate its 125th anniversary?

Pic: Jan Weutersisse: How should Clissold Park celebrate its 125th anniversary?

The former country estate was opened to the public on the 24th of July, 1889, and includes the Grade II listed Clissold House, a cafe, paddling pool, tennis courts, a butterfly dome, bird and animal enclosures, and two ponds named: Beckmere and Runtzmere after the co-founders of the park.

The Park is blessed with spectacular views, and thanks to the extensive restoration which took place in 2011 and 2012 Clissold House has been taken off the “ Heritage at Risk” register where it has featured since 1991.

Clissold Park User Group, an independent group that works with Hackney Council to give a voice to park users, is asking for ideas on how to mark the occasion between June 21 and 26.

To submit your ideas, please email clissoldpug@googlemail.com

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Building Lives Celebration

Building Lives, The social enterprise which provides construction apprenticeships for local communities, were awarded the most-innovative-training award In the Annual Housing Innovation Awards. The Awards celebrate unique and creative schemes and services within the UK housing sector.

The Enterprise’s CEO Steve Rowling accepted the award on behalf of the group. He expressed his delight and his gratitude to everyone involved with the enterprise. The awards were held in The Grand Connaught Rooms in London on 06 February 2014, at the annual gala dinner.

 

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