Every borough deserves an Albany

Reece, aged 17, Love2Dance participant.

The Albany’s Youth Programme supports local young people aged 5 -25 at the Albany and at youth centres across the borough. During 2019 we’ve worked with over 1,400 young people and delivered 4,250 sessions in everything from music, dance, drama, media, gardening and even coding. When the pandemic hit, we were determined to keep young people creating, the solution on how to do this came from our participants, several of which came to us with project ideas which could work remotely and would support their peers. During the pandemic we set up four youth-led and hugely successful projects.

Central to the Youth Programme is the guiding principle to ‘Listen, connect and amplify’ the voices of young people. In order to realise this, young people lead in all aspects of our work, from devising projects, to facilitating sessions and managing their own events; they also have a wider say in how the Albany is governed and run. During 2019 our young people were paid for 2550 hours of their time at London Living Wage. 

For participants like Chiquita and Reece, being a part of the Albany Youth Programme has not only been a space to kickstart their creative careers, but also a way to progress and become leaders and facilitators themselves. Chiquita started attending sessions at the Albany when she was 12 and is now an Albany Young Leader, she was an Albany Trustee and now works in our Creative Programmes team as our Youth Engagement Developer.

The Albany is a space that has helped me to start my work journey by helping me turn the things I love into a growing career

Reece has been attending Love2Dance sessions since he was 11 years old and now is a leader who creates his own choreography.
I have learnt to be a leader at Love2Dance. I put sets and choreography together where I lead other young people and for them to see me as a role model was very, very heart-warming.

As a result of taking part, 96% of participants said they have learned new skills, 91% have told us they have made new friends and connections and 81% say their confidence has increased. 96% of them said that they have learnt new skills being a part of the programme.


From coding to filmmaking, it’s all going on….

Being led by the imaginations of young people is an adventure every day and we’re proud to have been able to provide space and support many projects that you wouldn’t expect to see in your local arts centre. Kieron noticed that young people in his area weren’t being heard. He founded REZON8 – a youth led record label where young artists can express themselves freely without any restrictions. In one-year REZON8 has signed several artists, released music projects varying in genres from R&B to drill and have their first showcase together this October! Kieron has also recently won a Lewisham Homes Resident Award for Young Person of The Year.

Through my label I want to give the young people a chance to tell their stories and amplify their voices, and a chance to be themselves without judgement.”

Angela Wereko-Anderson set up The SceneMakers Filmmakers Award engaging local, young filmmakers and provided funding and mentorship to create short films. Winners Fatima Kried and Corina Andrian are currently developing them with support from industry professional filmmakers.

We also worked with the Young Londoners Fund and Lewisham Homes on The Creative Coding Collective – a free programme for young people aged 16 – 21 who are interesting in learning how to code and receive paid internships.

For Lauryn, through the Creative Coding Collective she was able to receive a paid placement and has gone onto full time employment.

I think learning the coding languages as part of the project, and then leading on project management, I have created a dynamic in my mind where the possibilities of what I can do are endless

For us, it’s not about how many shows and project we can fit people into – it’s about who they’re serving and why. It’s so important for us to be a place where young people can feel heard, empowered and inspired and we are super excited for the future of our Youth Programme and can’t wait to see what’s in store for our young leaders and creatives!

The Albany is very valuable to me and has shown me that there are always people that see and care about you, your potential and voice.”
Tyreke, Young Creative.


Read The Albany Youth Report here.