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Hacks of Hope: Changing the conversation

26th November 2021 by OnSide

Last night Downing Street held a reception to celebrate the Damilola Taylor Trust and the Hope Collective. The reception, which was attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Richard Taylor OBE, who founded the Damilola Taylor Trust back in 2001 in memory of his son, was a chance to recognise the achievements of the Trust over the past 20 years and its ongoing commitment to changing the lives of young people.

The event also focused on the work still to do, which the Hope Collective has committed to by working with young people to create long term change. Over the last few months, the Hope Collective organised a series of five youth-led hackathons, the Hacks of Hope, in cities across the country. The day-long workshops gave young people from all over the UK a space to share their voice on issues important to them, and to come up with solutions they want to see actioned in their local communities.

Members from across the OnSide Network of Youth Zones took part in the hackathons, including Taylor, Kai, and Liam who tell us about their experiences of taking part in the Hacks of Hope events.

I got involved in the Hope Collective because I want to make a change for the young people in my area, I want them to feel safe in their community.

I was part of the first event in London where young people from all over the city came together to look at real issues. We shared experiences and worked together to find solutions for a better future for young people and our local communities.

During the day we all contributed to a group discussion, listening to each other share our experiences. I felt very calm and safe when I was sharing my experiences, I also felt very emotional when I got to hear everyone’s stories.

Taking part in the Hackathon has taught me a lot about mental health and how much of an impact it has on young people. We also talked about ways that we help people who have mental health in our local communities.

The Hacks of Hope are important to me because I want to make a change in the community for the young people. It means everything to have this opportunity. My hopes for the event is to make a massive change in local areas for young people. I also would like to see more young people sharing their experiences.

Taylor, member at Unitas, Barnet Youth Zone.


Taking part in the hackathon has been a life changing opportunity for me, I have learnt new skills and become closer to my peers. I really enjoyed the hackathon and learned more about what I can do to help the environment, as well as engaging in the activities and socialising with new people. This weekend has helped lift my confidence as well as helped me grow as a person.

Kai, member at Wigan Youth Zone.


The hackathon was absolutely amazing, I learnt a lot from it and got to share a few thoughts that are important and mean a lot to me. The group feedback at the end of the day was my highlight. It allowed people to express their thoughts and ideas in many different ways. It also allowed me personally to improve my public speaking skills and built my confidence, which will help with other things as well. I also got to meet new and great people.

Liam, member at Inspire, Chorley Youth Zone.