Integrate UK is a youth-led charity that invests in the skills, passions and talents of young people to nurture future leaders who promote our vision of gender and racial equality, integration and community cohesion.
We engage around 150 young people annually in a range of creative and educational activities focusing on addressing issues relating to gender and racial inequality that they identify as affecting their lives. Many of the issues are controversial, including extremism, Islamophobia, honour based violence and abuse, FGM and homophobia. They produce videos, organise and host conferences and other events. We provide leadership opportunities, work experience and training and for those between 12 and 16, we support them to develop Equalities Councils in their schools to ensure the work is sustainable. We also offer one to one or small group support, mentoring and when needed, signposting to services. Our young activists over the age of 16 who become Outreach Workers use their media resources and lesson plans to deliver workshops, reaching 7,000 young people each year directly. Despite facing multiple challenges and often having direct experience of the issues we address, our young people go from being vulnerable to becoming agents of change.
From a small, local voluntary group co-founded in 2009 with a small group of girls, Integrate has grown to a national, multi award winning charity that is increasingly run by representatives from the groups with whom we work: 8 of our 9 staff are from our target communities and 7 are between the ages of 21 and 26. Our approach to achieving our ambitious vision is multifold, focussing on tackling the ongoing inequalities associated with race and gender, including access, participation, attainment, discrimination and all forms of violence and abuse against women and girls (VAAWG). At the same time, we provide platforms and opportunities for black and minority ethnic (BAME) / Muslim YP to counter divisive rhetoric and advocate for themselves outside the echo chamber amongst the audiences that most fear and mistrust them and to form positive relationships with YP who have had little or no contact with BAME / Muslim people.