As part of our 5th Birthday Celebration, Brian Bickell CEO of Shaftesbury is sharing his journey and experience in the Westminster Community.
What is your favourite thing about the borough of Westminster?
It’s diverse, dynamic and cosmopolitan – a globally-recognised location on a human scale enriched by all those who live or work here, and the millions who visit every year to enjoy its unrivalled variety of attractions.
What are some of your own experiences as a young person?
I grew up in Hackney in the 1960s – a very different world compared to today! I didn’t get involved in youth services which I regret – it would have provided a wider experience than just school. Teachers were an important influence along with family. There were no celebrity/media influencers or role models in the way we have today.
What has been your journey to the Young Westminster community?
Growing up in East London in the 60s, in comparison the West End was the place where everything was happening! I’ve been fortunate to have worked in the West End since 1977, and have lived in Marylebone for over 15 years, so have been able to enjoy all it has to offer after work and at weekends. Shaftesbury was a founding supporter of YWF from its early days. As a business, we were conscious of the challenges faced by young people growing up in the borough and recognised the support we wanted to contribute would be much more effective by partnering with YWF, benefitting from their local knowledge and wide-ranging skills.
What impact has Young Westminster Foundation had over the past five years?
For Shaftesbury, we have gained a much better insight to the needs of local young people, and we have been able to support a number of YWF’s projects and initiatives, which are changing the lives and prospects of our next generation.
What do you hope for Westminster’s young people over the next five years?
I hope that the important work of YWF and its members and partners will continue to support all young people in Westminster to navigate ever-changing and often daunting challenges, so they can look forward with optimism and confidence to happy, safe and fulfilling futures.
Why are youth services important to you?
Young people growing up today face many pressures and challenges today, particularly those from less-advantaged backgrounds. Schools alone cannot provide the help and guidance young people often need so its vital they have access well-funded services, experienced youth workers and the wide support network youth clubs and other organisations can provide.
Find out more about the Roots of Our CommunityOURIMPACT