July 6th, 2012


Belonging is one of the those buzz words currently, the Young Foundation are doing some research around belonging and young people. The young people we work with are often searching for something to belong too, that means something and that is relevant and they can engage with. Some of the young people find that in their faith whether that is Muslim or Christian and they find this an environment to belong to and find acceptance.

Some young people find they can belong to our youth club, some belong to their Postcode, others to their country of birth or the country in which their parents were born. I did a quick survey about belonging at the youth club this way, and we entered into a massive conversation with all the young people in the club! One 13 year old said that he was unable to go the ‘Island’  (the Isle of Dogs) on his ‘ones’ (on his own) because of ‘beef’ (animosity) toward him because of ‘people’ in that area. After some probing questions it still remained unclear why he had ‘issues’ in that area, other than he did not want to mix with young people from a different area from him. This is an on-going issue but one in which this particular young man finds a sense of belonging to his area (interestingly these areas have the same postcode – so the term ‘postcode wars’ does not apply).

Part of our role at Canaan Project is to help young people work through their issues of belonging and help them find meaning in the mix of conflicting and confusing pressures, whether these pressures be from peers, groups of young people (some may use the word ‘Gangs’), parents, school, youth clubs or the British culture in which they find themselves.