When developing services and interventions, we often draw on expert advice. Young Londoners are the experts in their own lives, so why aren’t we utilising their voices more to shape services? How can we expect a service not shaped by the experts to be suited to them?   

Join us as we explore these questions and discuss the importance of voice when working with young Londoners affected by violence and exploitation.  

Hear from our team working directly with young women and girls impacted by these issues, as they discuss their practice and what the future looks like. They will be joined by Neqeula Whittaker, founder of Committed Empowered Original Youth Service CIC and author of Street Girl, who brings a combination of lived experience and years of experience working with young Londoners affected by violence and exploitation to the conversation.

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Neqeula Whittaker- Committed Empowered Original CIC│ Director

Nequela Whittaker is the founder of Committed Empowered Original Youth Service CIC, which focusses on ‘Mentoring and Advocacy’ for vulnerable young people at risk of youth violence and young people that have been found guilty of a criminal offence.

Nequela is the Author of a book, called ‘Street Girl’, telling her story of how she became a product of her environment on the streets of south London and she got involved in ‘gang’ life.

In 2009, at the age of 20, Nequela left prison and is now is a qualified practitioner working with youths on those same streets where she also runs an advocacy service offering support to young people at risk. She has also co-written the book Street Girl, to de-glamorise gang culture and expose its grim realities.

Now fully qualified with a BA Hons in Applied Social Science, Community Development and Youth Work (JNC). She has been a youth worker for nearly 10 year’s with a wide range of experience in central London working directly with a range of young people in a number of settings including youth centre based work, outreach and detached youth work, gender specific programmes for Girls aged 8-24. She has engaged with young people, adults, communities and families who have varied and complex needs including working with young people involved in gang involvement or on the periphery of gang activity, youth violence and offending, substance misuse, mental health issues, special needs and low educational attainment.