Activism for Resilience

We are a community of people who share an ambition to improve the mental health of young people. We have read lots of reports saying youth mental health in the UK is getting worse, and that support available doesn’t always work. We think now is the time for research and practice approaches that offer a radically different way of doing things.

Informed by our understanding of resilience, defined as ‘beating the odds whilst also changing the odds’, we believe that activism has the potential to offer this radically different way of preventing, addressing and reducing mental health problems through building resilience. We call this ‘Activism for Resilience’ (A4R). We have undertaken a piece of research to explore this idea funded by the MRC/AHRC/ESRC Research Councils titled Nothing about us without us: civic activism as a mental health intervention.

The Blackpool Activist Alliance

For young people who face major challenges, taking part in community projects and social action may be even more successful than traditional services in improving our mental health. The Boingboing Foundation is therefore working to bring together young people and our allies in Blackpool to form an Activist Alliance; a collective looking to learn, teach, organise, campaign, fund and disrupt to make change big and small on the issues affecting us and our communities.

So, what is activism? What you see and hear in the media might not always be the full picture. The Activist Alliance is currently working together in the following ways, it could be more your thing than you know:

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Skills and knowledge exchange

Blackpool Activist Alliance hosts free workshops for young activists and community organisers wanting to learn and teach how to ‘do’ activism. The Skills and Knowledge Exchange events are a space to meet with like-minded local people, share knowledge, skills and take steps together towards making change on the issues we care about. Whether you’re a complete newbie or seasoned activist, you’re welcome.

Community co-research

We facilitate opportunities for people facing systemic disadvantage to take seats at the table in research projects that aim to tackle structural inequalities and social injustice. This disrupts power imbalances in research spaces, away from traditional sources of knowledge and towards those of us who are experts by experience. Co-research also gives the communities being studied ownership of the gathered evidence and insights. Disseminating this learning across the Activist Alliance, we aim to provide a direct route from community research to community action.

Activist in Residence Project

Photo of a woman sitting on a bench in a garden, smiling at the camera. She is wearing a black top and beige trousers, and has blonde hair.

The Activist in Residence project is a paid opportunity for young people in Blackpool aged 16-24 develop and deliver an activist campaign based on their own ‘hope for change’. To make this happen, young people are matched with a host organisation seeking to promote youth voice and leadership either internally or in the wider community. The host organisation in return offers the resources, support and/or scaffolding for the campaign.

Read more about our activism:

Blackpool Youth Climate Assembly Document

Blackpool Youth Climate Assembly Document

This document has been co-produced by the Blackpool Youth Climate Group and research partners from Boingboing and the CRSJ to explain how the group has been created and what they hope to achieve as Blackpool’s dedicated Youth Climate Group.

How to lobby your MP

How to lobby your MP

Here in the Boingboing / CRSJ / Resilience Revolution community we encourage each other and our pals to write to our MP’s when we think important changes need to happen in our communities. To help you to give it a go, we’ve put together this guide on how to lobby your MP.

Same Pay for the Same Day campaign

Same Pay for the Same Day campaign

The Same Pay for the Same Day campaign is part of the Resilience Revolution, and aims to raise awareness of the difference in wages that young people earn in their workplace compared with other colleagues, simply based on their age.

Arts activist approach Resilience Forum blog

Arts activist approach Resilience Forum blog

Selogadi Mampane travelled all the way from Pretoria to give the Resilience Forum a live preview of her arts activist approach for young people, which is being used as part of the Patterns of Resilience to Drought project taking place in South Africa.

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