Are you the Police?
One of my first proper interactions with young people on detached was in Kentish Town. Walking alongside a basketball court, we spotted a group of lads hanging out by a nearby tower block. As we passed they shouted out to us, asking if we were the police.
This was a prefect way in.
We called back, saying we were youth workers scouting out the area. When we asked what it was like to live here, they laughed.
“I wish I lived anywhere but her” one of the group shouted.
We carried on chatting to them for a while, laughing about small things… just being out there with them.
As we left I smiled to myself. I was pleasantly surprised about how natural that had felt. It was just a pleasant interaction with some young people. I thought back to how I would have responded to that group before I joined Courtyard. I would have crossed the road, head down, speeding past. Completely missing the positive interaction I could have had with a group of marginalised and stereotyped young people.