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Unique Talent // Challenge for Change – KickStarter Campaign

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Unique Talent // Challenge for Change

Unique Talents CIC vision is to create a Luxury Streetwear Range to help fund the work we do in the community. Supporting the hardest to reach young people involved with or at risk of involvement in gangs and serious youth violence in realising their true potential by supporting them through a program of workshops and service designed to deter a negative lifestyle and raise aspiration.

The black community has been hit the hardest during this pandemic. The latest events remind us that black men are over-represented in prison and by being sectioned under the mental health act.  In the lockdown, we have seen a disproportionate rise in the use of the stop and search and as the restrictions continue to be lifted we will start to see the impact of school closures, access to learning resources and cuts in youth services have had on the community widening in the gap in education and employment opportunities.

Unique Talent has been working thought out the Pandemic and we are now asking you to please show your support for the vital work we do in the community.  By pledging one of our fantastic  T-shirts, Pullover hoodie or baseball Caps printed in London in partnership with the young people who attend our workshops.

Thank you for your interest in our Kickstarter project.

My name is Christian Douglas Co. Founder/Volunteer; I am one of a small and dedicated team for Unique Talent. We are a Community Interest Company; based in South London, England.


CHALLENGE FOR CHANGE

 Our Project

Challenge for Change, is an extension of our mentoring program to deter a negative lifestyle and raise aspiration. Unique Talents vision is to Inspire and change the lives of young people through the collective participation and growth of a streetwear fashion label. Running mentor-based, creative workshops in garment design, making and garment screen printing in partnership with local business as well as hosting employment training schemes designed to place young people and black talent in all sectors of the fashion business to help achieve a racially balanced industry.

Unique Talent wants to inspire creativity and entrepreneurship by working in partnership with the creative fashion industry to form ongoing collaborations with other fashion brands, designers, artists and musicians. To run gang prevention workshops, talks and events to inspire creativity by producing limited product drops throughout the season to fund the work we do, building links with brands and retailers to commit to our employment mentoring scheme identifying Black creatives and pairing these individuals with companies looking to hire.

Unique Talent remains steadfastly dedicated and proud to support the hardest to reach people in realising their true potential by supporting them through a continued program of course’s and mentoring based workshops designed to deter a negative lifestyle and promote a positive change for young people within the community.

The next challenge is to spread the word and get the product out there for everyone to see. This appeal is the first step in getting there.


CHRISTIAN AND MICHAEL

 Our Product

Our Manifesto range highlights our story and the work we do in the community to allow you to show your support and say enough is enough to gang involvement and serious youth violence.

Each garment has been screen printed in London in partnership with the young people that attend our workshops.


CHALLENGE FOR CHANGE

About Us.

We are a group of friends who have been associated with gang culture and believe that through our shared experiences we can make a positive difference to the lives of young people involved with gangs or at risk of serious youth violence.

We have extensive knowledge of the lives, motivations and fears of vulnerable young people, allowing us to establish strong links with them and the local communities, before engagement in our programmes.

Unique Talent conduct extensive street-based outreach work on specific local issues and any potential conflicts. Where appropriate, we can offer an adaptable conflict resolution and mediation services, aimed at reducing or redressing tensions when they arise. Support young people to realise their true potential through a program of workshops and service, designed to deter a negative lifestyle and raise aspiration.


WHAT MAKE US UNIQUE TALENT CIC

  Our Key Aim

  • Unique Talent CIC aims to raise young people aware of the negative impact of gangs and gang culture and the escalation of the severity of anti-social behaviour and crime associated with gang involvement.
  • To coach and mentor young people drawing upon our personal experiences, knowledge and professional skills to deter them from negative lifestyles and raise aspirations.
  • Unique Talent offers non-formal education, music, sports, fashion and employment as positive tools of engagement to provide young people with the skills to explore issues and emotions, gaining tangible skills to become valued members of the community.
  • Reduce the re-offending rates with the young people we work with by at least 20%. This means at least two in ten young people referred to Unique Talent will not re-offend.
  • Support all the young people in our services to become trained peer mentors within Unique Talent or other established organizations.
  • Unique Talent CIC aims to support young people to reach their personal goals with an intensive and holistic approach. Enabling then to reach their long term ETE goals

Why Fashion

Street Fashion has now become the highest art form connecting young people, due in part to the efforts on the following Creatives, influences and mentors.


INSPIRATIONAL DESIGNERS

A new generation of customers from China and the Middle East inspired by streetwear and Black culture has changed the land space of the luxury market.  Streetwear has become the new luxury and brands eager to capitalise on this trend are now actively using high profile of Black models and celebrity influencers to validate their clothes to sell the clothes to a global audience.

However, we know that being able to afford to do an internship is the key to getting a foot in the door and building a career within the fashion industry. Without is, opportunity young people from the working-class and BAME background are being left behind despite there talent.

Unique Talent demand fairness in tackling youth unemployment ensuring that brand and retailers acknowledge and are encouraged to change this disparity in their brands and retail stores by implementing the following changes.

  • Unique Talent will create an in-house mentor-based employment program specifically charged with placing Black talent in all sectors of the fashion business to help achieve a racially balanced industry. This program will be tasked with identifying Black creatives and pairing these individuals with companies looking to hire.
  • As part of this mentor-based programme, we will be the intermediary between business and candidate to ensure a successful route into employment for both parties.
  • Unique Talent will also create a mentorship program and an internship program focused on placing working-class, BAME students and recent graduates within established companies in the fashion sector.
  • Unique Talent will continue to support retailers and make available to our “Diversity and Inclusion Training Program”.
  • Lobby fashion retailers to support Unique Talent by offering opportunities to young people through our mentorship scheme.

In addition to engaging with business, we believe that in creating a brand, workshop and retail outlets. Unique Talent will be able to prepare young people for a job in every aspect of the fashion industry, through mentoring cv workshops interview support and hand-on experience as part of our team.

Short Term:

  • Continue to support and run our program of course designed to deter a negative lifestyle.

UNIQUE TALENT LIST OF PROGRAMS 

  • Introduce a mentorship scheme to place young people into work in the fashion industry, lobby fashion retailers to support Unique Talent by offering opportunities to young people through our mentorship scheme.
  • By placing two people in every one of Mike Ashley stores, Sports Direct, Flannels and USC and 10 in House of Fraser and Debenhams we would find work for 250 people in London and if we were to roll it out nationwide that number would be 3,366.that is without even considering his 80 gyms and 56 Evans cycles.
  • Next has 538 stores nationally and Marks and Spencers have 979 Stores so if we could do the same ten at M and S and two at next it would be 14,232 .
  • Contact universities to encourage reaching out to the youth in the inner city.
  • Utilise social spaces and youth clubs for our workshops and live events to prevent negative a negative lifestyle.
  • Launch online with a fully functional website selling limited products, collaborations, booking appointments and updating consumers on sales and promotions. The website will be accompanied by a lifestyle page and social media accounts Facebook,
  • Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest highlighting future trends, events and interesting topics to
  • Contact celebrities, artist and other brands to collaborate on limited edition pieces to be sold at a luxury retail space and our own retail space
  • Open workshop and retail space showcasing our brand amongst a curated collection of products highlighting the creativity and aspiration of the street.
  • Find work-based placement within the industry or educational places at College or University for those who attended the workshops.

Long Term:

  • Continue to build our already established internet presence, grow the apparel range expand the community outreach, attract celebrity consigns and build brand partnerships.
  • Place 15.000 + young adult into full-time employment within the fashion retail industry.
  • Aim to graduate ten students a season through our design workshops and into a work-based placement within the industry or educational place at College or University.
  • Sell the full product range in independent retail store and luxury department stores globally.
  • Continue to release collaborative collections once a week
  • Generate enough money to support our community, build and run community hubs, support our network of youth clubs and schools and continue to work together to eradicate gang culture and knife crime.

Finally.

We believe with your help, an initial investment of £10,000 Unique Talent can begin to make this project a viable success. If we don’t attain the full figure, we cannot begin to envisage our dream of supporting young people through our program of workshops and service designed to deter a negative lifestyle and raise aspiration this year.

We believe that enough is enough and together with your help Unique Talent can continue to make a change to the life of the hardest to reach young people involved with or at risk of involvement in gangs and serious youth violence in realising their true potential.

Please pledge, become a friend,  join the party and share our vision with ALL of your friends to say enough is enough to gang involvement and serious youth violence.

It all contributes to the project.

Thank you again for your interest.

Kind Regards,

Christian Douglas

Founder/Volunteer

Risks and challenges

We have long-lasting connections in the fashion industry and working closely with James Armstrong of Cantaloupe Studio a time volunteer with Unique Talent and a menswear design with over fifteen years of experience producing luxury streetwear, so we feel we know what we’re doing by now. The only risk we can foresee, should this Kickstarter campaign over-subscribe, is that some of you may have to wait a little longer for your product. However, we’ll keep the project fully updated, and we certainly do promise that your garment will be well worth the wait

Shocking Facts & Figures for 2020

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Some Quotes provided by Street Doctors (August 2020)

  • Violence affecting young people is on the in London
  • London is one of the most dangerous places in England & Wales for Knife Crime (BBC)
  • County Lines – London is the highest exporting area with more than 4,000 people being recruited to distribute drugs across the country (BBC)
  • More than 24 children have gone missing since the lockdown in London alone – they are believed to be involved with County Lines (My London)
  • At least £35m less funding per year is being spent on council youth services in London compared to 2011/12 (MOPAC)
  • Knife offences across the UK hit a record high in 2019 (49% higher than 2011) (Guardian)

Everyone can make a difference – Unique Talent say “reach one, teach one” – invest in a young person you don’t know. Speak to Unique Talent or a local charity to support you with this.

Why Prison’s Don’t Work for Young People

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Why Prisons Don’t Work for Young People

By Christian Douglas – August 2020

The criminal justice system has had a revolving door for many years, seeing re-offending rates as high as 80%. This is not a success and the criminal justice system is letting young people down in many cases.

 

Why?

  • Prisons are not built for young people or humans in this day and age
  • Staff are not trained or paid well, and the turnover of staff is ridiculous
  • There is a heavy focus on punishment, leaving little room for rehabilitation and reintegration
  • The criminal justice system does not focus enough attention on rehabilitation i.e. CAT D establishments and reintegration back into society
  • Young People are spending too much time in their prison cells- in many cases 23 hours per day and even 48 hours in some cases, literally driving young people insane!
  • Young people are becoming institutionalised and unphased by the physical challenges of prison.
  • The criminal justice system needs to be fixed, updated and/or reformed
    • More representation from BAME communities
    • More training for judges and jury staff to help them understand young people better.
    • The combination of above is having a detrimental impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children

 

The facts to support this:

  • Young black men are more likely to be sentenced in comparison to their counterparts. They make up a large proportion of the prison population despite being a minority across the UK – something has gone wrong here!
  • Sentencing is much higher for people from BAME backgrounds – why?
  • The jury and judges lack understanding of young people and the culture of today
  • The prison population is rising overall
  • More young people are leaving prisons with mental health and drug problems
  • Re-offending rates have remained between 40-75% in the last 10 years.

(facts and figures can be provided upon request to support this)

What can be done to overcome this?

  • A bold Government needs to make rehabilitation a priority and invest in the criminal justice system
    • Training for prison staff, judges, jury members, probation and YOS staff – to understand the thinking, thoughts and feelings of young people, to enable a better response to their criminal behaviour
    • New initiatives and radical approaches as seen in the USA, such as boot camps, specialist therapy programmes and incentives for good behaviour.
    • A focus on Category D prison establishment to prepare young people for release and gradually releases them back into the community, whilst eliminating triggers to reoffending such as debt, housing, gang’s rivalry etc.
  • The media and society need to understand that reoffending rates need to be reduced and to do so requires investment. 1) to prevent further victims of crime and 2) to make young people become valuable members of society 3) to make the community a safer place.

 

This is just a start and much more can be done by listening to young people who commit a crime. We recognise that not all young people are ready for rehabilitation but there are many who deserve a good rehabilitation system.

LCF London Community Foundation - Unique Talent - May 2019 - 016