According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly one in ten children and young people are affected by a mental health problem. The young people Hackney CVS works with disagree; growing up in a deprived area in Hackney, they would say it is closer to 50%.
However, they do agree that very few young people get the support they need.
At Hackney CVS we use a peer-to-peer methodology, providing concrete tools to support young people to maintain a positive mental outlook. With The Inside Out Project, funded by People’s Postcode Lottery, we recruited young people aged 18 -24 to co-produce a series of wellbeing workshops about their experiences. They were trained as youth mental health ambassadors, designing workshops that explore the five ways to wellbeing: take notice, learn something, be active, and give and connect using creative arts. The leaders delivered workshops to young people in schools and youth clubs in Hackney over the year.
We spoke to one of the young leaders, Lamide Olusegun, who is a passionate cartoonist and has worked with children at Pembury estate.
How did you realise you want to work with children?
I came to Hackney CVS in February to see how I can get my work shown and very quickly I realised I should start working with young people. I was already trading at the market and got to know a youth club which had a stall there. Sometimes their kids were coming to help me and I was interacting with them. I realised I could teach them how to make sculptures and draw comics and cartoons. I wanted to help them realise different talents they have.
What do you do at Pembury Community Centre?
I teach kids basic model making and we do key rings and magnets. I enjoy seeing them want to do more and more. It’s because creativity gives endless opportunities. They are getting more engaged and better each week.
Why being creative is important to you?
To me being creative is very problem solving and therapeutic. I don’t realise time go when I create things. It’s like mental exercise – you always try to improve.
I can see the same happens to the children in my group. They don’t compete with each other but with themselves, always want to do a better model than the last one.
They have new ideas and become more confident. Also their parents are proud of the works their kids produce and want to have their own key rings. So it builds children’s self-esteem and makes parents support their children’s creativity.
How did you start your artistic practice and what are your plans?
First, as a child, I liked cartoons and I was always drawing. Then I went to university and studied stop motion animation. I am cartoonist skilled in animation and illustration. I left university last year but didn’t have a studio for animation and decided I need to earn money to buy some equipment. That’s why I started selling key rings and magnets.
I want to learn more about animating and improve my art. When art improves then the business side also improves, I make more money! At the moment, I’m trying to find a mentor in animation.
Visit Lamide’s website here.
I enjoy seeing them want to do more and more. It’s because creativity gives endless opportunities.