FF_website_July_Pics_2019.jpg
Wow…. what can we say. As I (Helen) sit here trying to piece the evening together it’s all just a massive blur of utter wow-ness. So the night started with me and Maya in an utter panic as the room started to FFill up literally around 6.30pm before doors opening at 7pm and we couldn’t stop it!! so we didn’t have time for a rehearsal or run through and no sound check aaaggghhh - but the great thing about this outcome is how many people were eager to get in, get mingling and get ready for the night ahead. It’s always a bit like opening the FFront door of home, seeing FFamiliar FFaces is always a treat but also greeting FFirst timers and their look of the unexpected in their eyes.. but the intrigue and almost excitement of the night ahead.. As we explain to all on the night - we take time to seek out our features but we have no idea of the ground they choose to cover. We always meet our features, explain the theme and ask them to closely connect their talk with the theme and then that is it. The fifteen minutes is literally all theirs. Community and Control was our theme choice for our 2 year anniversary because our project is all about us letting go of control.. allowing people to explore their own possibilities and potential without any restraints. My god does it work! in doing just this we have FFormed a really strong and positive community. The vibe in the room was INCREDIBLE. And no amount of words can possibly described what that actually FFelt like. Thank you again to ALL our features…go visit them each on our July Feature page and find out more about them.

Wow…. what can we say. As I (Helen) sit here trying to piece the evening together it’s all just a massive blur of utter wow-ness. So the night started with me and Maya in an utter panic as the room started to FFill up literally around 6.30pm before doors opening at 7pm and we couldn’t stop it!! so we didn’t have time for a rehearsal or run through and no sound check aaaggghhh - but the great thing about this outcome is how many people were eager to get in, get mingling and get ready for the night ahead. It’s always a bit like opening the FFront door of home, seeing FFamiliar FFaces is always a treat but also greeting FFirst timers and their look of the unexpected in their eyes.. but the intrigue and almost excitement of the night ahead.. As we explain to all on the night - we take time to seek out our features but we have no idea of the ground they choose to cover. We always meet our features, explain the theme and ask them to closely connect their talk with the theme and then that is it. The fifteen minutes is literally all theirs. Community and Control was our theme choice for our 2 year anniversary because our project is all about us letting go of control.. allowing people to explore their own possibilities and potential without any restraints. My god does it work! in doing just this we have FFormed a really strong and positive community. The vibe in the room was INCREDIBLE. And no amount of words can possibly described what that actually FFelt like. Thank you again to ALL our features…go visit them each on our July Feature page and find out more about them.

Annie - @fandango kid our first speaker of the night: Annie is an incredible visual artist creating impactful public installations. Following the loss of nearly all her family almost 8 years ago, she has spent many years processing and exploring stories around death and loss to actively make it part of the main stream conversation. Annie shared with us the hardship of losing almost all of her immediate family and the struggle that her and her father were exposed to; losing people they were both close to but had very different life relationships with and how finding a space to share in their grief chapter was a real challenge. They decided to document their grief together in a book and film to help others formulate different ways to express grief. At the time of her loss there were limited platforms to share and talk about tragedy and loss so Annie literally took her messages to the streets as an urban paste up and bold outlet to share and question societal taboos (in the process receiving an ASBO?!). Annie’s work is incredible. I (Helen) have witnessed it first hand when my client at Bristol University commissioned Annie to run workshops with students. The vibrancy and energy she brings along with a solid foundation of trust is a tool box she has so couregeously built by her own self worth - she enables you to feel safe in how you share your inner feelings/thoughts and normalise it by rooting it with positivity and this is testament to the work she has done at de-coding, unpacking her own channels of grief and taking control of it. We applaud you Annie. Keep being awesome and do not stop dancing!!

Annie - @fandango kid our first speaker of the night: Annie is an incredible visual artist creating impactful public installations. Following the loss of nearly all her family almost 8 years ago, she has spent many years processing and exploring stories around death and loss to actively make it part of the main stream conversation. Annie shared with us the hardship of losing almost all of her immediate family and the struggle that her and her father were exposed to; losing people they were both close to but had very different life relationships with and how finding a space to share in their grief chapter was a real challenge. They decided to document their grief together in a book and film to help others formulate different ways to express grief. At the time of her loss there were limited platforms to share and talk about tragedy and loss so Annie literally took her messages to the streets as an urban paste up and bold outlet to share and question societal taboos (in the process receiving an ASBO?!). Annie’s work is incredible. I (Helen) have witnessed it first hand when my client at Bristol University commissioned Annie to run workshops with students. The vibrancy and energy she brings along with a solid foundation of trust is a tool box she has so couregeously built by her own self worth - she enables you to feel safe in how you share your inner feelings/thoughts and normalise it by rooting it with positivity and this is testament to the work she has done at de-coding, unpacking her own channels of grief and taking control of it. We applaud you Annie. Keep being awesome and do not stop dancing!!

Ricky returns! Ricky first featured with us at our year anniversary in June 2017. We’ve become awesome FFriends since and we really wanted Ricky to come back and share his story of the last year. His feature with us in 2017 was based on the events following the tragedy at Grenfell. Ricky is a firefighter and was one of many there on the day of the disaster. The experience that day changed his life forever. In order to try and process the impact he experienced, he expressed his feelings through poetry - something he has turned to since he was very young. It’s a form of expression that until recently he had concealed, his reasons being ‘It’s not a medium that is deemed very manly’ and as society dictates his job as the optimum of masculinity you can see why he would have reservations to vocalise this. However he took the courage to share his poem with social media and as a result of it’s reach, his poem was made into a short feature film called ’The fire fighter’ (at this point in the evening there wasn’t a dry eye in the house). Ricky went on to share with us his battle with PTSD and depression, how it presented a version of himself that he wasn’t totally comfortable with and his quest to be a better person (physically and mentally) and improve his relationship with the world that he see’s was vital to his fight for survival away from substances and alcohol misuse that he had also fallen into. He knew poetry was his clean salvation so he started to use it as a positive method to face other deep rooted fears he hadn’t ever really challenged. Ricky shared three of his extremely moving poems with us, the third being called ’The key’, an open and heart wrenching poem about his abusive step father. Ricky took us on a journey through out of control and the darkness that surrounded him to back in control to the light that now shines through him.

Ricky returns! Ricky first featured with us at our year anniversary in June 2017. We’ve become awesome FFriends since and we really wanted Ricky to come back and share his story of the last year. His feature with us in 2017 was based on the events following the tragedy at Grenfell. Ricky is a firefighter and was one of many there on the day of the disaster. The experience that day changed his life forever. In order to try and process the impact he experienced, he expressed his feelings through poetry - something he has turned to since he was very young. It’s a form of expression that until recently he had concealed, his reasons being ‘It’s not a medium that is deemed very manly’ and as society dictates his job as the optimum of masculinity you can see why he would have reservations to vocalise this. However he took the courage to share his poem with social media and as a result of it’s reach, his poem was made into a short feature film called ’The fire fighter’ (at this point in the evening there wasn’t a dry eye in the house). Ricky went on to share with us his battle with PTSD and depression, how it presented a version of himself that he wasn’t totally comfortable with and his quest to be a better person (physically and mentally) and improve his relationship with the world that he see’s was vital to his fight for survival away from substances and alcohol misuse that he had also fallen into. He knew poetry was his clean salvation so he started to use it as a positive method to face other deep rooted fears he hadn’t ever really challenged. Ricky shared three of his extremely moving poems with us, the third being called ’The key’, an open and heart wrenching poem about his abusive step father. Ricky took us on a journey through out of control and the darkness that surrounded him to back in control to the light that now shines through him.

We find our features in many ways, Cat Bateman perhaps better known as @littlefolksong has long been a supporter of us and telling everyone about Featured15. We felt it was time she shared her story. Cat loves to spark joy in others and her love of music and singing came together after a push to stop talking and start doing from those around her. That saw the birth of little folk Song, as business Cat set up for parents/carers to come together to sing nursery rhymes. Her community was formed; a supportive uplifting space for children and parents alike. Cat shared her belief in the power of nursery rhymes to help not just the child’s development but the act of singing in a group can help tackle postnatal depression. Cat’s huge heart shone out to the audience, her stories of singing to one child dressed in a cow onesie with a tutu had us all in stiches, the path to success is sometimes in the moments when you learn to say no. As we learnt that Cat’s world was shaken 7 years ago when her son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she had to find a way to control the new normal her family had to embrace. Taking control of a situation that meant she had to inject her child multiple times a day with insulin has shifted her attitude to what control can mean in your life. The message we all took away was to face the fear and just do it because we need to grab life with both hands.

We find our features in many ways, Cat Bateman perhaps better known as @littlefolksong has long been a supporter of us and telling everyone about Featured15. We felt it was time she shared her story. Cat loves to spark joy in others and her love of music and singing came together after a push to stop talking and start doing from those around her. That saw the birth of little folk Song, as business Cat set up for parents/carers to come together to sing nursery rhymes. Her community was formed; a supportive uplifting space for children and parents alike. Cat shared her belief in the power of nursery rhymes to help not just the child’s development but the act of singing in a group can help tackle postnatal depression. Cat’s huge heart shone out to the audience, her stories of singing to one child dressed in a cow onesie with a tutu had us all in stiches, the path to success is sometimes in the moments when you learn to say no. As we learnt that Cat’s world was shaken 7 years ago when her son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she had to find a way to control the new normal her family had to embrace. Taking control of a situation that meant she had to inject her child multiple times a day with insulin has shifted her attitude to what control can mean in your life. The message we all took away was to face the fear and just do it because we need to grab life with both hands.

Our FFeatures stories are always compelling and Paul is no exception, having grown up in Forest hill and Catford he spent most of his youth in and out of prison, each time he became more entrenched in the criminality and drug lifestyle. Paul hit rock bottom in his 40’s realising that he was either going die from drugs or from crime he needed to make a change. Returning to a spot in Forest hill he had once broken into, now he returned to it seeking help. There he found support to become sober and to see that the skills he used to feed his drug habit and ingenuity to evade incarceration; were the tools he needed to be a successful entrepreneur. He founded urban trenches in his own words “up-Fucks” Burberry trench coats into one-off highly coveted fashion pieces. He shared how using these skills has seen him turn an idea into a thriving business and now as way to draw in young people either at risk or at the periphery of crime to engage with fashion and to change their future on their terms. He sees potential where others see hopelessness and he refuses to exclude these young people from being successful members of our community. His sobriety has allowed him the control to take his life in a completely new direction. He is currently looking for a space to set up his project so do get in touch if you think you can help.

Our FFeatures stories are always compelling and Paul is no exception, having grown up in Forest hill and Catford he spent most of his youth in and out of prison, each time he became more entrenched in the criminality and drug lifestyle. Paul hit rock bottom in his 40’s realising that he was either going die from drugs or from crime he needed to make a change. Returning to a spot in Forest hill he had once broken into, now he returned to it seeking help. There he found support to become sober and to see that the skills he used to feed his drug habit and ingenuity to evade incarceration; were the tools he needed to be a successful entrepreneur. He founded urban trenches in his own words “up-Fucks” Burberry trench coats into one-off highly coveted fashion pieces. He shared how using these skills has seen him turn an idea into a thriving business and now as way to draw in young people either at risk or at the periphery of crime to engage with fashion and to change their future on their terms. He sees potential where others see hopelessness and he refuses to exclude these young people from being successful members of our community. His sobriety has allowed him the control to take his life in a completely new direction. He is currently looking for a space to set up his project so do get in touch if you think you can help.

Christopher Syrus grabbed our attention with his spoken word delivery of the moment his life changed forever. We were captivated by his intensity and passion…facing 10 years in prison that took a boy to a man. He learnt from his first night in the cell when he asked the guard for a pillow and though we laughed with him he told us in no uncertain terms that was the turning point, when the simplest of item is now out of your reach. That was the moment he knew he needed to control his future. He started to study enrolling in the Open university and gaining the tools through his psychology degree to unravel the threads of his past that led him to the cell he was imprisoned in. Understanding he had to visualise a future in order to get to have one. He not only left with a degree but took his experience and used it as teaching tool to help others, speaking from prisons to schools telling his story using spoken word and his personal testimony. His powerful message moved us just as he has with so many other lives.

Christopher Syrus grabbed our attention with his spoken word delivery of the moment his life changed forever. We were captivated by his intensity and passion…facing 10 years in prison that took a boy to a man. He learnt from his first night in the cell when he asked the guard for a pillow and though we laughed with him he told us in no uncertain terms that was the turning point, when the simplest of item is now out of your reach. That was the moment he knew he needed to control his future. He started to study enrolling in the Open university and gaining the tools through his psychology degree to unravel the threads of his past that led him to the cell he was imprisoned in. Understanding he had to visualise a future in order to get to have one. He not only left with a degree but took his experience and used it as teaching tool to help others, speaking from prisons to schools telling his story using spoken word and his personal testimony. His powerful message moved us just as he has with so many other lives.