The Hackney Wick Youth Voice project empowers young people in Hackney Wick to have their voices heard and to bring about positive change for the local community. It is commissioned by Wick Award, through the National Lottery “Big Local” initiative.

The project is led by Luke alongside local young people, and has been running since 2017. You can find out more about the different phases of the project below.

"Hackney Wick Through Young Eyes" report (2018)

In January 2018, we launched the Hackney Wick Through Young Eyes report, based on six months of intensive research with young people in the local community - in schools, youth centres, community projects and at local events. The report was based on interviews, focus groups, workshops, and surveys. In total we engaged over 400 young people aged between 8 and 20.The work for the report was undertaken by Luke along with two brilliant young people, who were in paid roles co-leading the research – Jordan Isaacs and Renee Oyeleye.

You can download the full report here

As well as providing the impetus for the activities we have undertaken for the Hackney Wick Youth Voice project since its publication, the report has also been influential in a number of other ways –influencing the thinking of many Local Authority services, providing supporting evidence for local youth organisations’ fundraising, and helping to ensure that those leading new initiatives in Hackney Wick pay due attention to the needs and concerns of local young people.

More specifically, the report helped pave the way for the borough-wide Hackney Young Futures Commission, and it also played a key role in the Local Authority’s decision to create a brand new youth facility to Hackney Wick – the new Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) at the Old Baths. The MUGA is run by Young Hackney, and opened in February 2022.

Build Up Hackney Project (2019)

Throughout 2019, we worked alongside youth construction charity Build Up on a project with young people from Berger Primary School, Cardinal Pole Secondary School, and Hackney Quest. As a team, the young people designed and then built a beautiful new public space, on the corner of Wick Road and Morning Lane - local young people were given control and ownership over a significant change to their local neighbourhood.

The Build Up project was motivated by key findings of the Hackney Wick Through Young Eyes report – that young people are rarely involved in how their area is changing; that young people are too often negatively stereotyped; and that there aren’t enough opportunities for Secondary and Primary-aged young people to positively interact.

The project was co-led with two brilliant local young adults, Daniel and Shenique, and won a Mayor of London award. You can read Daniel and Shenique's thoughts on the project here, and you can see a video and photos of the project here

The Fuse Project (2020-1)

Over eight months in 2020 and 2021, we co-led the Fuse Project, a collaboration between us at Hackney Quest, UCL’s Institute for Global Prosperity, the London Legacy Development Corporation, and youth innovation agency The Plug (run by two local young adults from Hackney). The project provided paid roles for six local young people, who undertook research and service design work, designing a new service to support youth employment (mostly during the pandemic!). The findings of their research help feed into the development of the Good Growth Hub, a new youth employment centre on the Olympic Park.

Improving safety for local young people (2022)

In 2022, we supported two local young adults – Alvin and Kyarna – to undertake research with young people in the local neighbourhood, to understand the factors affecting their safety in the area. This involved engagement with over 50 local young people aged 11 to 21 from five local youth organisations.

Based on this, we produced a short report called The Drivers of Safety and Violence for Young People in Hackney Wick and Homerton, which can be found here. This report fed into the work of Rise Up East, a consortium of local youth organisations (including Hackney Quest) funded by the Violence Reduction Unit to build safety with young people in the local community.

Enhancing MUGA (“cage”) provision for local young people (2022-4)

From the two reports mentioned above, as well as from our experience working with local young people over decades, we recognised the value that Multi-Use Games Areas (colloquially known as “cages”) have for young people. Many young people told us that their local cage is their favourite part of the local neighbourhood.

Inspired by this, in 2022 we undertook a research project focused specifically on the value of cages to local young people. We worked with Young Hackney Sports Ambassadors (who were paid for their work) to design and undertake research with local young people and parents, as well as speaking with 13 youth workers from 7 local sports organisations.

As a result, we produced The Difference a MUGA can make report, which you can read more about and download here. We are pursuing the recommendations with the council and other relevant stakeholders, seeking to maximise the benefits that these important facilities bring to local young people and communities.

Red Path project (2023-4)

The Red Path Project is a collaboration between urban design collective Space Black, youth construction and design specialists Build Up, and us at Hackney Quest. The Red Path Project aims to set a new benchmark for community co-design – handing over power to local young people and residents to decide how Red Path should be transformed, with the help of relevant experts. Red Path is an important pedestrian and cycling path in Hackney Wick which has been neglected and under-maintained for decades. By putting local young people at the centre of planning its improvement, the Red Path project aims to show what community-led urban transformation can achieve.

You can read about the project in blogs written by two of the young adults working with us as Project Leads: Faith’s blog is here, and Freddie’s is here.