Ben Bracken, 17, Palace for Life Foundation

Ben Bracken is a member of the Croydon Young Peoples Development group for the Legacy Youth Zone which is a year away from opening. He joined the group in September 2017 and attends the weekly development group meetings on Tuesdays. He has been a great team player and took lead on the idea for presentations at schools to inform young people about what to expect at the youth zone. For his hard work and commitment to the group, he was awarded with a Jack Petchey award. We caught up with Ben to talk about his journey in the young peoples development group.

ben 2How long have you been with Onside attending the Croydon Young Peoples Development Group? How did you hear about it?

I’ve been a part of the Croydon young peoples’ development group for about four months now, I learnt about Onside through Palace for Life Foundation where I have been volunteering.

What are your thoughts on the concept of a youth zone and what do you think young people will benefit from this youth zone?

I think the concept of a youth zone is a good idea because young people have a safe place to be and it will give them opportunities that they haven’t had before, which will also help to keep them out of trouble and have a safe place to go, making new friends as well as keeping old ones too.

What sort of things have you been up to in the development group and what benefits have you received from attending?

I went on a residential trip to Wigan Youth Zone in the North West, which was inspiring seeing a youth zone for the first time and thinking about how great the Croydon youth zone will be. Through the group, I have been able to share my ideas with the group on matters concerning the coming youth zone and working with the group to come up with exciting ideas for how we can best inform young people about the coming of the youth zone and giving my aspect of what I think as well. I took part in the night tube challenge as well as other trips like ice skating where we met with the other young people from the Ambassadors for London and other up and coming youth zones in London.

Tell us about your Jack Petchey Award?

I’m very happy about being awarded with a Jack Petchey, I wasn’t expecting it, I am excited because of the trip I’m planning with the award and I can put it on my CV.

Finally, what is your message for young people in Croydon?

My message for young people in Croydon would be to stay out of trouble and find something to do even if there isn’t and there is always places that they can go to if they don’t have anywhere to go and people who they can talk to.

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