Empowering the voices of young people so that they feel their say matters to society is essential, especially in the time of a snap election, writes Shaniqua Benjamin.

The 24-year-old from Thornton Heath is trying to do just that through her platform Young People Insight (YPI).

Young People Insight (YPI) empowers young voices and develops community engagement through forum discussions, writing and poetry nights. Through involvement with the platform, young people develop confidence, self-esteem and respect for others as well as build communication skills.

YPI has been hosting monthly youth forums since January 2016 and monthly poetry nights since January 2017 in Croydon Town Centre, giving young people mainly aged 16-25 an opportunity to make their voices heard.

However, Shaniqua wants YPI to reach more young people in the borough by putting on a number of other creative events, hosting workshops and creating more content for their YPI YouTube channel.

To make these developments a reality, Shaniqua has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £2,300 and has so far raised over £1177.

“I want every young person to feel that they are a vital part of their community and I believe that my platform can do this,” said Shaniqua. “I also want to change the dialogue about young people in Croydon, because they need that.”

The next YPI poetry night is on May 30. You can pledge to their campaign at: https://www.fundsurfer.com/ project/empower-youth-voices