Three young men have started a video podcast where they open up and discuss the everyday realities of growing up in Southwark.
‘Full Circle’ is a series of vlogs, hosted by three young men as they tell their stories – predominantly through the lens of the Black community.
The hosts, who did not know each other before, explore topics such as life during lockdown, education and vulnerability.
Reuben Quaye, 31, from Camberwell, is one of the hosts and explained he was keen to show that being vulnerable is a strength.
“I am a black man living with Sickle Cell Disease. This has been an opportunity to present my experiences as a disabled black man who has struggled with concepts like vulnerability,” he explained.
Reuben added that vulnerability is not a common practice for men and he hopes to see that change.
Another host is Kelvin Miles, also 31, from Elephant and Castle, who said he wanted to ‘rediscover’ who he was.
“I wanted to use this opportunity to heal, grow and learn about other people’s journeys to help provide a unique perspective on my experiences growing up.”
On the experience, he said: “I’ve learned to really channel the emotions and thoughts I could not articulate when I was younger.”
The youngest of the hosts is Luca Wood, 20, from East Dulwich, who said he got involved after Cllr Portia Mwangangye – who led the project – knocked on his door.
“I wanted to challenge myself by speaking on certain topics that I wouldn’t normally speak on or question,” he said, adding that being part of something like this has allowed him to be ‘more open’ about his past.
Cllr Portia Mwangangye, the council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Young People explained her idea behind the project: “Young people are at the sharp edge of many societal problems, so supporting their mental health has to be a priority.
“Through telling the stories that made them who they are, they prove that vulnerability is not weakness, but a sign of strength. We hope these episodes will be used by anyone wanting to open up spaces for other young people to tell their stories and begin healing.”
Eight episodes are now available on Southwark Space, a new video platform launched by Southwark Council on YouTube to help young people speak to their peers and a wider audience.
Special guests include local community leaders, such as John James OBE from the Sickle Cell Society and therapeutic coach Alex Holmes.
The council worked with the young people and producers Anubis Pictures to develop and film the vlogcast at The Trunk, a hireable community venue at Elephant and Castle.
Watch the full series here.