meet akt's youth engagement team One of the driving motivators of our work at akt is the involvement of young people. It's so important that young people's voices are heard and inform our work programme and the messages we deliver. Over the last few weeks we've recruited a brand new youth engagement team here at akt who are working across our service centres, and we’d love to introduce them to you. Meet Jacob, Jason, and Hasan. Can you tell us what drew you to the role? Jacob: I really love working with young people and akt is such a well-loved and well known charity that I was so ready to be involved with. It’s such an honour to say I actually work here now!Jason: I was dragged in by the Twinnies drag queens at Mighty Hoopla 2018, and I haven't escaped since! Jokes aside, I was drawn in by all the brilliant ideas that akt young people had, and wanted to help build those ideas with them.Hasan: I am invested and interested in foregrounding the voices of young people, as my youth work experience has proved to me that young people have endlessly genius contributions and knowledge, yet for some reason get consistently ignored and dismissed. Anything that can help amplify those voices is really important. As someone who has experienced homelessness, this work and this organisation holds a special resonance. Why do you think it’s so important that young people are involved with the work of akt? Jacob: We are a charity that is here for LGBTQ+ young people and therefore having young people involved in our work helps us relate to the young people we help. Also the current generation of young people are so inspiring and full of ideas that really can help us develop and grow as both people and a charity!Jason: All the work we do is for young people, so it's imperative that they are the ones informing us on what change they want to see in the world, and how we can support them to create that change together.Hasan: As a still-kind-of, almost-no-longer young person myself, I’ve been involved in various youth related programmes, and realised how challenging but important it is to make a space for young people, especially those who experience different degrees of marginalisation, and may otherwise feel disempowered to take up space. Being serious about what it means to value young people’s contributions, and creating optimum conditions for those voices to be heard and centred, guides all the work I do. What have been the highlights of your time at akt so far? Jacob: I’ve not been here long (yet) but I’ve loved working between the Manchester and Newcastle offices, developing youth engagement in two very different localities has been so empowering!Jason: Marching with akt at Pride in London 2019 was EVERYTHING! The energy was so amazing, and it was so much fun meeting the mixture of young people, mentors, trustees, patrons, supporters, volunteers, and staff members all in one go!Hasan: I’ve enjoyed getting to know all the teams in London and Newcastle, every young person I’ve met so far, going to Newcastle for the first time, and I’ve praised every higher power every time the internet worked in the office! (as well as seeing how quickly civilised societies can crumble without the internet…) Is there anything you're particularly excited about with your role at akt? Jacob: There are talks in my team about projects that are very much in my specialist skills set, and I’m so excited to start working on those!Jason: I'm particularly excited about running more regional events to engage with our young people nationally.Hasan: I’m really excited about getting to create spaces for young LGBTQ+ people to connect, especially over things that are nourishing like creativity, nature/camps, and going to my first ever Gala! Having this amazing YouthSpace, and being able to involve young people in constructing how it will be used, is super exciting! How can people contact you? Jacob: My email is [email protected] and my work number is 07584 177608 (feel free to WhatsApp too!)Jason: You can drop me an email at [email protected] Hasan: You can contact me at [email protected] or through the Youth Engagement Programme email - [email protected] I would be happy to hear from you! Both Hasan and Jason are based in our London service centre, and Jacob works from our Manchester service centre.