"Footwork have been an incredibly supportive organisation and working with them has been a thoroughly positive experience.”
Polly Waterworth, Director at We Rise
We Rise is an award-winning community business based in Brixton. Its mission is to empower young people to create successful futures.
We Rise was set up by a group of parents with a shared passion to tackle social disadvantage by helping young people make the difficult transition from school into work. 3 out of 5 children in Lambeth are growing up in poverty and 85 percent are from a black, Caribbean or minority ethnic backgrounds.
Recognising the creative potential of young people, We Rise sets up diverse creative partnerships with corporate clients, whereby the young participants co-create films for a variety of purposes. Importantly they provide an opportunity for young people and the corporate world alike to challenge stereotypes and to be mentored in the world and ways of work. It is a win-win, in that the projects provide valuable experience for the participants while also being rewarding for professionals and of real value for clients.
What did we fund?
In 2020 Footwork commissioned We Rise to co-produce a film with young people in Lambeth about the challenges they face. Delayed by the pandemic and lockdowns, they released a self filmed trailer 'Discovering Empowerment.' Ahead of the main film production which was completed in 2021 in collaboration with Knights Youth Centre (KYC). We were able to provide a platform by including the film in the London Festival of Architecture, the theme of which was ‘power’. Many young people perceive ‘power’ in terms of ‘them’ and ‘us’, with such divisions severely restricting their options and those of their communities. In the film young people ask what if we focused instead on empowerment? What would it take, in their view, to give them greater power over their own destiny? Our Future was the result. We funded an additional film, again with KYC and written and produced by the young participants, called ‘Will you Judge a Book by its Cover Next Time’. The concept was to expose how young people are often misjudged by the public.
What value did we see in this project?
We routinely underestimate the ability of young people to articulate their own opinions, yet they are of great value and it is imperative that we hear what they have to say – on their own terms.
We Rise doesn’t work for young people, it works with them. It is this collaborative way of working that empowers them, by giving them self-confidence and skills and providing the sense of responsibility that is often denied to them. This very much aligns with Footwork’s principles.
What impact has our support had?
With funding from Footwork, We Rise has been able to produce a forceful series of short films with youth empowerment at its core – of great value not just to those who took part, but for their audiences. We were also able to use our extensive connections to ensure that the important messages these young people wanted to convey were heard as widely as possible.
We were able to introduce two exemplary youth organisations in Lambeth, previously unknown to each other, to work together now and in the future.