Downing Street reception held to celebrate the Damilola Taylor Trust and the Hope Collective

Ahead of the annual Day of Hope (7th December) created in memory of Damilola Taylor, No.10 hears from young people on tackling poverty and inequality to level up local communities

The reception, which was attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Richard Taylor OBE, who founded the Damilola Taylor Trust back in 2001 in memory of his son, was a chance to recognise the achievements of the Trust over the past 20 years and its ongoing commitment to changing the lives of young people.

The event also focused on the work still to do, which the Hope Collective has committed to by working with young people to create long term change.

The Hope Collective Youth Management Group, young people from across the UK that have been leading and developing the programme of activity for the Day of Hope 2021, engaged with the No.10 policy team during the event to share their views, diverse experiences and discuss solutions to tackling some of the key issues affecting young people.

This follows a series of youth-led ‘hackathons’ (peer to-peer, day-long workshops) held between July – November 2021 across 5 cities funded by Youth Futures Foundation, in 2022 the Hope Collective will expand this model to deliver the biggest needs assessment of solutions from young people on key issues.

The Hope Collective is a powerful partnership of leading cross-sector organisations with a shared vision to create meaningful change for young people and communities across the UK, which will become constituted in 2022. The Collective works together to enable the country’s most vulnerable communities to be free from poverty, violence, and discrimination.

Charity UK Youth is the secretariat for the Collective, which was formed last year to support the 20th anniversary legacy campaign for Damilola Taylor, and is chaired by Niven Rennie, Director of Scotland Violence Reduction Unit.

Organisations making up the Collective include the Damilola Taylor Trust, Rio Ferdinand Foundation, Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) across the UK, UK Youth, NCS Trust, Co-op, Professional Footballers Association, Onside Youth Zones, Oasis Academies, MRM McCann Global, 2020 Change, Clarion Futures, Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, Housing Association Youth Network, Safer London, Youthlink Scotland Alliance Youth Justice, Spirit of London Awards, and the #iwill Movement.

Day of Hope 2021

10-year-old Damilola Taylor dreamed of being a doctor. Shortly before his untimely death on 27th November 2000, he wrote of his hope to change the world.

Launched last year by the Hope Collective as a focal point of the 20th anniversary legacy campaign, the Day of Hope is held annually on Damilola’s birthday (7th December), as an opportunity to remember him, and empower and inspire young people to lead full and positive lives. The Day of Hope will be supported by all key organisations within the Hope Collective including #iwill, the campaign that encourages greater participation in social action for young people.

Hope is a vital ingredient, especially in our most socially-challenged communities, and after a year where young people have faced enormous challenges – to their health, wellbeing, education and employment opportunities – this is chance to celebrate young people’s hopes for the future and amplify their voices when it comes to shaping it.

Richard Taylor OBE, Damilola’s father, said:

I am so grateful for all the hard work that has gone into creating such a strong legacy for my son. So many organisations and charities coming together to form this amazing coalition. It is my wish now that the Hope Collective’s work can be complimentary to the levelling up agenda so that we can all come together to support young people and improve their life chances.

I count the Prime Minister as my friend and so it is delightful he has granted this national day of youth empowerment and hope on my son’s birthday, 7th December, in perpetuity.”

 Niven Rennie, Director of Scotland Violence Reduction Unit and chair of the Hope Collective added:

 I have been delighted to be associated with the work of the Hope Collective during this, our pilot year. This event at Downing Street is a fantastic opportunity to build upon our aim to provide our young people with the chance to express themselves in a more positive way about the issues of our time. We are extremely grateful to the Prime Minister for the provision of support in this manner.

Ndidi Okezie, CEO of UK Youth, which holds secretariat of the Hope Collective, added:

UK Youth are proud to be working as part of this Collective to create opportunities like this to hear young voices. Engaging directly with young people is the first step towards going beyond narratives to understand what it’s like to exist in their world right now, and the future they are being presented with – and we can help to change that picture. Hope is a great start, but this must be a collective hope, driven by the input of young people, and we should be working together across all sectors to deliver it.”

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