Meet the team… Introducing Richard Asomaning!

Richard has joined CHIPS as Lead Youth and Community Organiser. He joins from Victim Support where he was a project manager working with young people and children affected by domestic violence.

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Welcome to CHIPS Richard! What’s your new role, in a nutshell?

Thank you! Through a range of different projects, I’m responsible for engaging with and supporting young people across three of Brixton’s largest and most vibrant housing estates – Angell Town, Loughborough and Moorlands – which have faced challenges with youth violence.

Why is this work important to you?

For some time now, I’ve felt a real calling and burden to share my professional skills and expertise with people close to home and within my local community. As a young man who’s grown up in Lambeth, I can also really empathise with the challenges, distractions and temptations that young people often face here. As I talk to them, it helps that I’ve faced the same – or similar – issues in my own life.

What are you enjoying so far?

I’ve really enjoyed the engagement with young people on the Angell Town estate, in particular.  Our summer activity week was a great success and a lot of fun. For example, it was very satisfying to empower three attendees to organise their own evening event on the estate, bringing the young people on Angell Town together. This took the form of a games and movie night under guidance from me as well as a parent who lives on the estate.

One encouraging outcome of the week has been a desire from some attendees to come into our office more regularly – whether to engage further with us or simply to find a safe space beyond the streets and football pitch. They have also told us they’d love the opportunity to continue some of the summer’s activities – such as swimming or go-karting – throughout the year. That’s why we’re launching a new ‘Back to school’ appeal today to help make this happen!

What else do you have coming up?

One of my priorities will be leading a new CHIPS programme, supported by The Walcot Foundation, that supports students who’ve been identified as being at risk of exclusion from school. At its core, we provide mentoring during term-time for these young people across three secondary schools in the area, working with them to reduce and remove that risk. It’s an exciting project and we’ll be sharing more about it soon.

How will your work help to improve Brixton?

One of the main aims of my work is to bring young people from the different estates together, to channel their energy into shared causes, interests or concerns, and to support and empower them to do something about it. By helping them focus on opportunities for personal development, improving school attendance and reducing antisocial behaviour, I’m confident that this work will contribute to local peacemaking and make Brixton a better place to live!

What is your future vision?

Over time, I would love to see us expand our work across more schools, growing our team and working together with a broad range of partner organisations to ensure that young people receive the help they need. With the right support, I believe CHIPS can play a key role in multiple youth work projects so that the future will be bright in Brixton!

In addition to Richard’s arrival, the CHIPS Brixton office welcomed two other new team members last month.

Rishan Walker will support Richard in delivering the work across Brixton schools as our part-time Youth Worker. Rishan grew up in South London and, outside her life at CHIPS, she runs a dance organisation that helps empower young people to reach their potential and supports young dancers with their mental health.

Darragh Gray started in the newly created position of Marketing and Communications Manager. After a career in the City where he was most recently Director of Communications and Marketing for a global insurance company, he has recently been working with several Christian and charity groups in East London. Darragh will be responsible for raising awareness of CHIPS and the work that we do, building our social media and offline profile, and communicating and promoting our progress.

Please pray for all of our new Brixton team members as they settle in!