Cain and Niomi are two of our national ambassadors, young people aged 18-25 who get involved to help improve local and national services, and speak up for other young people.
Here they share how their experiences have not only helped set a course to their own promising futures, but also benefitted their communities.
“I grew up in a single-parent family in Penge. Life wasn’t easy and we struggled financially. I got involved in gangs and as part of a programme to escape this lifestyle we moved to west London for a fresh start.
“I was inspired to not only transform my life, but also other young people’s.
“I set up my music business, which includes Grafterboy a record label offering young people who have also come from disadvantaged backgrounds, an opportunity to break into the industry.
“I thought the national ambassador scheme would be a great opportunity, not only for my personal development, but as a way to combine my aspirations with my passion for music.
I would 100% recommend becoming an ambassador, not only to empower yourself, but other young people too.
“In fact, all the skills and experiences I’ve since achieved have helped my business thrive. It has boosted my independence, my confidence, and guided me in how I can articulate the ideas that were buzzing around in my head on how I could help young artists.
“Being a national ambassador gave me the chance to travel the country and work on events with people of all ages and walks of life. It has also opened doors to other exciting opportunities; as by sharing my story at an event, I was encouraged to successfully apply for a place on the National Lottery’s youth board.
“The national ambassador scheme has also helped me strengthen my vision for the future and become more ambitious. I’m currently studying for my degree in business management, but one day I also hope to become a youth leader.
“I would 100% recommend becoming an ambassador to anyone who is willing to come out of their comfort zone, not only to empower yourself, but other young people too.”
"My journey really started when I found myself pregnant at 18. After some time living in a hostel, I managed to secure my first tenancy when my son was five months old.
"My mind has always been focused on helping improve the lives of young people, so I did community volunteering placements for various youth programmes, alongside working at Clarion’s contact centre.
"While at Clarion, an email sent to me on the national ambassador scheme sparked my interest. I thought it might help me decide what direction in life I wanted to go in, as I was undecided what to do next. I was also very shy and hoped it would build my confidence."
By sharing our stories and views, we were able to help shift the perception of young people.
“As a national ambassador, we were given an opportunity to help create more positive relationships between older and younger residents. By sharing our stories and views, we were able to help shift the perception of young people. For example, after giving a presentation at a resident involvement day workshop, I was approached by a number of residents who said they had a better understanding of young people.
“My experience also gave me a deeper knowledge of where I live and how Clarion works. This knowledge, combined with the skills I gained and my experiences working with young people, meant I was headhunted by another housing association and I now help other young people get started in their careers.
“Coming out the other side, being a national ambassador helped me better understand my purpose and decide exactly what I wanted to do while supporting others.”