Young Changemakers is led by a Youth Advisory Group (Co-Producers) to ensure that every element of the programme is designed by young people for young people.
Our group of Co-Producers, aged 16-25, have lived experience and/or a passion for supporting mental health within racialised communities. They are involved in the development of training for youth organisations and schools to help further antiracist work and improve health and wellbeing for young people across the nation. They also support design content for various projects and support the new Changemakers in the programme, alongside receiving pastoral care and upskilling opportunities.
Elliot is a mental health enthusiast, activist, and aspiring practitioner. He has gathered a vast amount of experience in mental health participation, influencing services, research, and policy. Elliot is a Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience undergraduate at the University of Essex and recently completed a placement at The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. As an emerging poet and writer, he uses his creativity tochallenge stigma, raise awareness and spark meaningful conversations. Elliot is especially passionate about revolutionising black male mental health support and engaging black majority churches in creating culturally appropriate mental health services.
Iola is a mental health activist and A-Level student. She is passionate about challenging stigma surrounding mental illness within racialised communities and advocating for services to be more culturally aware when working with individuals from these communities. She hopes to go on to help develop and create resources educating service providers on working alongside individuals from racialised communities by giving insight into various factors specific to their identity and/or heritage that may impact their mental health. Iola is also passionate about challenging mental health inequalities and draws on her experience as both a service user and as a carer for her dad with mental health illnesses. Iola hopes to go on to pursue a Bsc in Infection and Immunity and combine her passion for science with her passion for social justice. Specifically, she wants to ensure education around infection and health is made more accessible especially in marginalised communities.
Naomi (Pleasant) is mental health advocate and an aspiring family and systemic therapist.She currently works as a youth intensive psychological practitioner and has been volunteering with multiple charities in raising awareness about mental health difficulties. This has allowed her to create meaning conversation with other likeminded young people and gain new skills. Naomi is passionate about research and uses her psychology Instagram blog as medium to document her journey. In short, she hopes a role model for other black girls to peruse a career in this field.
Chika is a youth enthusiast who constantly seeks to help improve the lives of young people and incite positive change. She has a range of occupations including youth mentoring, radio presenting and YouTube content creation; all which aim to empower young people. Chika also works as an Occupational Therapist within mental health, helping young people to overcome a range of barriers. Chika has great aspirations and knows some day she will be able to combine her passion for media and young people to make immense and purposeful change.
Lanre is a dedicated mental health activist and a Junior Creative. With a focus on design, advertising, and web development, Lanre uses his skills to help social organisations achieve their goals and have a positive impact on the world.Through the Young Change Makers Programme and having worked with various organisations, Lanre has experience in contributing to key initiatives that promote mental health awareness and support. By using creative strategies to engage and empower young people, Lanre is committed to advocating for mental health and breaking down stigmas surrounding mental illness, especially in the Black community.
Crown is someone who’s passionate about raising mental health awareness in black communities having seen the effects of ignorance first-hand. She became a changemakerto help provide herself with the means to make that change and it’s been a bigger help than she had hoped for. She chose the changing public attitudes and behaviours strand, and her team’s project is called ‘Change: Black Mental Health’. Their main goals are to create a safe space for black youths to talk about mental health issues, to tackle the stigmas surrounding mental health and to improve communication and conversations on mental health within the Black community.
Ivie has a great passion for understanding the complexities of national and international societal issues and the impact policy and the justice system can have on people. This heavily influenced her choice to study a bachelors in Sociology, a master's in international public policy and to be a part of a social organisation in The Netherlands called Black Ladies of Groningen. As a result, her aim is to work within the charity, policy, and justice fields so that she can be involved in positive influence in society. It's this drive that inspired her to be a part of UK Youth.
SJ is part of U.K. Youth Changemakers. He is very happy and proud to be a part of the Changemakers (and now a Co-Producer). Being a part of the Changemakers has changed his life because now he gets to work on a social action project(s) that can help the youth who suffer with mental health issues. Apart from youth work he also loves to do photography, write poetry and creative writing.
Dotun is a Politics & International Relations Graduate, interested in political advocacy and social innovation. As a content creator and entrepreneur, Dotun seeks to inspire, empower, and uplift those around her. She desires to influence policy to enhance the advancement of the under-represented, and vulnerable voices in society. Her experience as a young leader, has propelled her to engage in programmes that shift the trajectory for young people, particularly within marginalised areas. Dotun’ s passion for people inspired her to become a Young Changemaker, she hopes to raise awareness for mental wellbeing, and encourage personal development.
Ibrahim Hirsi is a peer researcher with the Centre for Mental Health. He is also a writer, independent researcher, and editorial assistant at Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal. He is currently working on a series of papers exploring the metrics and prosody of southern Somali poetic forms. Ibrahim has been published in The Poetry Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, PBLJ and in the anthology Before Them, We (Flipped Eye, 2022).
Kwame Osei Owusu is a Ghanaian-British NHS specialty Band 5 trainee pharmacist in mental health and an award-winning social activist, whose work in mental health advocacyhas been recognised by the Black Impact Awards in 2021 and the Diana Awards in 2022. He is a 2021 graduate of Medway School of Pharmacy, University of Kent and University of Greenwich and holds the Master of Pharmacy degree. Previous experience with short-term depression gave him one of the reasons to consider this specialty field to destigmatise the condition within the Black community and continue to educate people on good mental health.
Aaliyah is the founder of VERITY: True or Real, an organisation that aims to provide care, support, education, and media market to all young people. She is 24 years old and is passionate about helping young people realise and achieve their dreams without any limitations, past present or future. Aaliyah works a lot with youth organisations that help her to achieve the goals of her own organisation. She looks forward to seeing the change that is to come in young people.