Newham Council is partnering with the Recorder to celebrate Year of the Young Person, celebrating the achievements of young people and highlighting services and support groups aimed at them.

Five young people with lived experience of gender-based violence took part in a Newham Council residential visit – engaging in a programme of mentoring and intensive support and a range of outdoor activities.

The latest visit, at a coastal outdoors education centre in Essex, coincides with the council highlighting the issue with a campaign.

The 16-day initiative started on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and runs until Human Rights Day on December 10.

Newham Council said all of the young people taking part were appreciative of the support and guidance they received during the trip and grateful not to be judged.

One youngster explained: “This trip has made me think a lot about what I thought was normal and how I have been treated. It has opened my eyes. How I have been treated was not right.”

Organised by Brighter Futures’ youth empowerment service, it was the fourth residential trip run for Newham’s vulnerable young people this year.

Senior manager Gemma Wright said: “At a time of increased vulnerability, these trips provide young people with a sense of security and a safe space to have fun and participate in enriching activities.

“We help them to develop skills for life such as resilience, self-confidence and problem solving.”

Gemma added that this particular trip was designed to help youth workers build relationships of trust with young people, so they could give them the knowledge and skills needed to help keep them safe from gender-based youth violence and exploitation.

Facilitators Rose Akinjiola and Mercy Lwereere said young people were “empowered to design and direct the programme, which included discussions about their own experiences of violence”.

Rose added: “Young people also wanted to talk about some of the tragic cases of violence against women that have been reported in the media this year.

“They told us how these incidents had impacted on them and shared ideas about additional measures that could be put in place to protect women and girls from acts of violence.”

Anyone worried about gender-based youth violence and exploitation or if you are a Newham young person who requires further support or information on what Brighter Futures’ youth empowerment service offers, visit

If you feel unsafe and need help, contact 999, 101 or Childline on 0800 1111 and at