LIVE Futures: the movie

13 June 2007

What people say about us

"They are doing something unique: applying one of the most modern
techniques, youth marketing, to one of the most enduring challenges,
helping young people fulfill their potential.

The result is their flourishing youth marketing agency, Livity, their
pioneering television production company, Dubplate, and their
successful youth training initiative, LIVE.

And now they are planning their next endeavour, an enterprise hub
housing thirty local businesses, each of whom will commit to doing
something for young people.

What is most striking about Sam and Michelle is the ease with whichthey combine business acumen and drive with care and empathy for each
of the young people whose lives they touch.

They have created a dynamic business and a safe and welcoming place
that engages young people on their terms and gives them opportunities
to develop their talents and ambitions.

And these aren't just ideas but plans the Livity team are trying to
turn into a reality in their local area. Their next plan is to develop
a major office space in the area to serve as a hub of social
enterprise. The hub would house up to thirty small businesses, along
with a media centre and cooking facilities for use in training, with
each business receiving subsidised rent in return for hosting a young
person at risk as an apprentice. LIVE would sit at the heart of the
project and help support the young people, who would use the space to
engage in training and work opportunities.

Sam and Michelle have very big ambitions for how their model could
spread, and hearing them explain not only the values but the logic
that underpins their work, one can't but help feel they may just have
what it takes to realise their dreams."

Gordon Brown, 2007

"As soon as a young person walks through the door, they know that it is a working environment, and it is made clear what is expected of them. That's where the commitment and inclusive approach of the staff is crucial. They make it clear to the young people the heights they are expected to reach, but they also make it clear that they will be supported every step of the way to make sure they get there. This goal-orientated approach leads to an amazing amount of 'incidental' learning: this is not training for the sake of it, it's training to make sure deadlines and quality standards are met. This as well as having the opportunity to work alongside highly skilled professional journalists, photographers and designers - is fantastic preparation for the wider world of work." – Andy Hamflett, CEO, UK Youth Parliament.

“An excellent example of a public, private and voluntary sector partnership delivering a much needed resource in south London.” – Dave Dowie, Head of Lewisham Youth Service.

“LIVE is a magazine for young people, not dependant on advertising and therefore has been able to become a real voice for young people without being altered by commercial agendas.” – Averil Ledsham, Connexions Manager for Lambeth.

"My general confidence has not only improved very much, I gained it at LIVE in the first place. I have learnt a lot, this space is just not enough. To love and be friendly with people and confidence that people actually appreciate me for me. That someone else wants me to make a good future for my children and me. That there are still good people in the world. I love LIVE.” - Dianne, 20, from Downham

“LIVE is a good opportunity for people that don’t have qualifications and want hands on experience. Everyone needs to be a part of this ASAP!" - Jodie, 19, from Brixton

“Since I have been at LIVE, I have developed skills such as learning how to write like a professional journalist, how to conduct myself professionally in a working environment, and to motivate myself and get the results I want out of life. In the space of six months, I now see my future as very bright and productive. I am happy that my life is worth something and people want to help me in becoming successful woman. I also want young people to know that the positive approach to society can really work and it is worth it. This is one true success story. Thanks LIVE." – Kalise, 20, from Forest Hill.

“He is full of beans and immensely proud of his features in Live, as is all the family. He is currently feeling really positive, emotionally happy and full of confidence, and we want to thank you all for helping Dan. His self-esteem is always at a high when he is around your office and other Live members. I only hope that he can stay on the road he's on. We have seen him so suddenly crumble and follow the road of self-destruction. You are all a big support network to both Daniel and myself because I see the positive outcomes.” – Parents of Daniel, 17.

12 June 2007

Local partnerships

LIVE’s original partner, Lambeth Youth Service, remain a key funder and supporter of the magazine to this day, providing core funding for the production of LIVE magazine.

Lewisham Youth Service, and a similar range of local agencies (including Connexions, Teenage Pregnancy, Community Safety, PAYP and the Police) have since 2004 matched Lambeth’s outlay to bring the magazine into Lewisham borough in equal measure.

11 June 2007

Media Partnerships

LIVE’s success is partly due to the support and enthusiasm of our partners in the mainstream media and music industry.

The Guardian/Observer group have supported LIVE under their social responsibility wing since 2004, which has included providing numerous mentors, work experience, advice and guidance on editorial matters, as well as inviting LIVE in to regularly visit and meet with staff, and attend series of workshops in the Guardian Newsroom.

Other key supporters include the Dazed Group, BBC, Channel 4 and Sony BMG.

10 June 2007

Workshops for young people

LIVE runs ongoing weekly journalism workshops in both Lambeth and Lewisham boroughs. The workshops are accredited up to level 3 NVQ equivalent, and give a brilliant introduction to the world of journalism.

They are open to anyone aged 16-21 in south London, particularly those who have an interest in getting into the media. Please contact Emma Warren if you’d like to know more.

Contact Emma Warren here with any enquiries.

9 June 2007

Get involved

If you think you could add to LIVE’s pool of voluntary professional mentors or supporters, we’d love to hear from you. Here are just a few ways you could help:

LIVE welcomes professionals who can spare some time to help our writers, designers, illustrators, as well as budding entrepreneurs or film-makers. Mentoring can happen on a one-on-one basis over a period of time, or can be tied to one particular issue we’re working on. If you’re interested, give us a call to discuss what the opportunities are.

Talk Tuesday
Every Tuesday afternoon LIVE welcomes a different speaker from a variety of industries and interests to visit the office and give a talk about how they made it in what they do. If you think you could hold court for an hour to a room full of teenagers, and inspire or open their minds in some way (even if your speciality is outside of journalism or the media) get in touch.

Work experience/internships
We are constantly on the look-out for opportunities for our young people to gain experience or progress. If you need bright, enthusiastic and determined young people for your organisation, we have CVs we can send you straight away.

E-mail us to find out more

8 June 2007

Company Values

LIVE Futures directly addresses some of the most fundamental needs and challenges facing young people and adults from deprived communities in south London. The company was formed as a social enterprise to fulfill social objectives in response to the needs of young people, originally identified on behalf of the local authorities.

Training and job opportunities:
LIVE Futures is mainly aimed at those in most need: people for who mainstream education has often failed to engage, who are under-skilled and low in confidence; who mainstream services have often failed to pick up. The whole community needs this group to be addressed in order to ignite the regeneration of the whole area and provide a positive and economically sustainable future.

Inspiration, empowerment & respect in the community:
Our methodology of ‘engage, inspire and own’ has been developed through working with hundreds of young people on our project.

Facilities and activities in the community:
Endorsing constructive and positive places to go and things to do for young people and young adults. The projects within LIVE Futures can serve as one of the most credible ways of promoting local services and organisations, as the information is communicated via the young people themselves, and therefore results in increased referrals and uptake of these services.

Reducing crime and making south London a safer place to live:
Through five years' work with the target groups we offer projects that can engage ex-offenders and those ‘at risk’ of offending, diverting their energies and attention into positive activities that motivate, empower, and set them on the right track towards working and re-engaging with society.

Businesses supporting the community:
As a group of businesses with a financial bottom-line, we nevertheless believe that we have a responsibility to have a positive impact on the area where we are based (and beyond). Aside from that, working with young people every day enriches our lives and businesses.

Portraying young people positively:
Both locally and nationally, it’s necessary to understand younger people, celebrate their achievements and show their positive contributions to society. LIVE Futures promotes a more cohesive society, reduces fear (especially of crime) and clears the pathways for young people to progress more easily.

Work we've done

LIVE Magazine
South London’s voice of young people, and LIVE Futures’ ongoing flagship project. See a short(ish) history of LIVE . If you want a copy of LIVE, click hereto contact us.

LIVE Recordings
The UK’s first youth-run record label project, on behalf of Lewisham Council, gave ownership of a record label and its budget to a group of ‘at-risk’ young people from an estate in Deptford, and encouraged them to learn disciplines around marketing, PR, communication, distribution and finance. Supported by volunteers from the music industry, and running for two years, the project saw three releases, and managed to secure Basement Jaxx and Mark Ronson as remixers.

Penguin Books
In partnership with Livity, LIVE’s project team have developed a programme to recruit a team of teen writers to create the content for, a ground-breaking teenage reading web site. As well as recruiting and running the workshops, the both the LIVE project team and the young people have consulted on the development of the site, its name, look and feel, and will continue to manage the content flow on an ongoing basis after launch.

Made In Brixton
To promote Brixton’s creative industries across London, this contract publishing piece for Lambeth’s Department of Culture saw young people being mentored to research, write and design the first south London based creative directory for Made in Brixton, the umbrella organisation for Brixton’s creative businesses.

Taking the Peace
Several members of LIVE’s editorial team were commissioned by local funders to put together this supplement in response the July 7th bombings in 2005. Aimed at cultural understanding and promoting tolerance, the pocket-sized piece was distributed with LIVE magazine to young people across south London.

Putting Young People at the Heart of the Arts
In partnership with Waterloo-based youth group SE1 United, LIVE were commissioned to do a major piece of youth-led research on behalf of the major Southbank arts organisations. The aim of the research was to evaluate young people’s perception of the arts in south London, and to comprehensively map local provision. LIVE’s young people were employed to conduct questionnaire’s and surveys, as well as designing the map and producing a short film about the project.

LIVE ran a series of workshops to enable a group of young people to create their own newsletter promoting Lambeth Council’s service in care.
Four issues were created over two years, all written, designed and produced by young people who had never tried journalism before.

7 June 2007

Meet us!

If you are interested in working with LIVE, we’d be happy to show you around our Brixton office and tell you a bit more about what goes on here. These are some of the faces you might see if you visit.

Jordan Jarrett-Bryan, 23
LIVE’s first real editor is too old for the magazine now. But when Jordan hit 21 he landed a job as the editor of ATM magazine, a national on-shelf dance music publication. Now at the ripe old age of 23, he rents a desk from us as a freelance journalist and club promoter extraordinaire, always on hand to give a bit of advice to the new generation in the LIVE ranks.

Callum McGeoch (age undisclosed)
One of LIVE’s first ever professional mentors, Callum left his job as Editor of Dazed and Confused magazine to come and work at LIVE and sister company Livity. His experience and industry insight helps LIVE’s management and young people make the best decisions both commercially and editorially, and provides a top-flight in-house mentor for the magazine’s editors.

Daniel Dutt-Hemp, 19
He’s not had the easiest of times for the last few years, but Dan is working hard to try and get himself back on track after falling in and out of trouble. His first major feature for LIVE – about the problems young people with dyslexia face – was a major achievement, especially considering Dan had to overcome his own difficulties with literacy to write it.

Emma Warren (age undisclosed)
Emma can often be seen rushing about between running workshops and editorial meetings, as well as spending lots of time working one-on-one with young people who are trying to find their next opportunity. None of this might be possible if Emma wasn’t an experienced freelance music journalist, who cut her teeth at The Face before going on to write for Muzik, The Observer and tons of other newspapers and magazines. Always having an interest in helping young people fulfill their potential, Emma recently joined LIVE as a senior mentor and education officer, with a focus on reaching some of the more at-risk young people out there.

Gareth McDill, 15
Never quite sure if the magazine was his thing, Gareth eventually found inspiration at a series of film workshops where he and a group of other young people came up with TPC: Tissue Paper Crew. Shot over a few weekends with budget only for a few rolls of toilet paper, TPC is a sharp satire on gun crime and gang culture in south London, straight from the hearts of young people whose peers are caught up in it. The film was screened at the NFT, celebrated by Timeout’s film editor, and Gareth is now involved in the production of a new film. Watch TPC here

Chantelle Fiddy (age unknown)
On the front line of working with the magazine’s team of young people, Chantelle gets the team’s energy and ideas flowing. When she’s not at LIVE, she regularly gets less than enough sleep in her hectic schedule as a freelance writer (with a weekly London Paper column), record label exec (for top independent 679 Records) and infamous blogger.

Mahta Hassansedah, 18
One of the quickest we’ve ever seen rise through the ranks, at only 18 Mahta became LIVE’s editor within months of first joining. She’s serious about becoming a journalist, and we reckon she’s got the writing skills and the drive to make it. Due to leave LIVE for university before long, we only wish we’d met her earlier.

Emma Ellwood-Russell (age unmentionable)
“Emma 2” joined barely a month after her namesake, having first met LIVE when she was production manager for the Dazed group, managing hundreds of pages and dozens of egos every month. She quit her job as brand manager at the integrated Marketing firm exposure to join LIVE, and brings a truck-load of expertise in production and contract publishing to the magazine, as well as some interesting anecdotes about meditation retreats in India.

6 June 2007

A Short(ish) History of LIVE Futures

The early years

In 2001, Sam Conniff and Michelle Clothier set up Livity, a youth marketing agency with a socially responsible ethos. Alongside O2 and PlayStation, one of Livity’s first contracts was to help Lambeth’s Youth Service communicate more effectively to the young people in the borough. The solution: to engage young people within the borough to produce the communication piece themselves.

With money from a range of local partners and a handful of journalists helping out, Livity recruited a team of local young people to write the articles and take the photos. The early editions featured some classic LIVE pieces: including a diary of two young people who had to look after a ‘fake’ baby for the week (and failed), and a piece of investigative journalism into how high street employers reacted to the way young people dressed when they came in looking for a job.

Finding its feet

Soon the word got out, both among the young people and the media. Livity grew and LIVE grew with it. More young people wanted to be part of it: to interview their local crew or star in a fashion shoot. More journalists heard what was going on and wanted to help out. Local youth magazines were nothing new, but LIVE had something extra: an energy and vivacity that came straight from the raw passion and determination of the young people involved. Our teenage editorial team had Ms Dynamite and Dizzee Rascal on the cover before most broadhsheets knew what urban music was.

While the finger was naturally kept tight on the cultural pulse of south London, LIVE’s writers also never shied away from approcahing controversial subjects. Beyond all the cliché and hyperbole written about the terror of urban youths, there were stark realities. Some were teenage parents. Some did know schoolmates whose parents were crack addicted. Some did have friends who had been involved in teenage gang rape. Most were worried about the amount of guns and knives on their streets. By addressing these issues they were helping themselves and their peers understand and discuss how to deal with life as a young person in Lambeth, as unique as any other British young person’s experience but with its own extra special challenges.

Crucially, the magazine was (and still is) produced from within Livity’s offices in central Brixton. The working environment created by the Livity team seemed to bring the best out in the young people who came to the office. This has been one of the key factors in the magazine’s success and the reason why LIVE’s contributors learn so much from the experience of working alongside us. Almost as much as we learn from them.

Big changes

By 2004, it was clear that LIVE had outgrown its original purpose. Lewisham Borough had shown an interest in the way the magazine reached an audience who were facing identical issues to the young people in their borough. LIVE doubled its distribution and the capacity and rose to 20,000 copies across south London, focused in Lambeth and Lewisham. LIVE also began its partnership with the Guardian/Observer group.

Most importantly, we realised that the young people working on the magazine were gaining a surprising amount of confidence, skills and ability through their experience with us. Either by working with mentor, going through three drafts of an article, or just learning how to behave in an office environment, we saw transformations happening.

The standard of journalism and design was also rising. LIVE had its first young graphic designer at the helm, in 19-year-old Zoe Adams. LIVE writers, under the editorship of Jordan Jarrett-Bryan and Cleo Soazandry, were interviewing the head of the youth BNP and covering controversial topics like homosexuality anmong the afro-carribean community, teenage gang rape, as well as crucial peer-led advice about drugs, STIs, contraception, and cautionary tales about crime.

Reaching capacity in terms of space and staff, we knew LIVE had to expand and access more funding. It was at that point LIVE ceased to be a Livity project and was incorporated as a not-for-profit company. Soon after we applied for a major grant from the European Social Fund, which we won. For the next two years, LIVE was to shift its emphasis towards delivering training and ‘outputs’ for this funding for a group of young people who were not in education, employment or training.

ESF funding

The aim of this grant was to help 24 young people who were not in education, employment or training to increase their confidence and get back on the ladder.

We recruited the team from across south London, and managed to attract an incredibly diverse group of young people, including refugees, single parents, ex-offenders, substance misusers and young people with disabilities. And among their number, and the challenges they faced, there emerged some of the most impressive, talented and inspirational young people we’ve ever worked with.

To hep deliver this programme, LIVE developed an accreditation system under the Open College Network, where units of NVQ-equivalent learning could be embedded within the activities young people were doing already. The curriculum covered graphic design, photography as well as music marketing and CV writing.

2007 onwards

The ALG project came to an end in March 2007, with lots of successes and lessons to be learned. We had had to learn our LDAs and NEETs from our FMCGs and NDAs, and embed a more rigorous monitoring and administration into the magazine. But we also met and worked with some incredible young people who we’ll never forget, many of whom we are still working with on their next steps.

Shortly afterwards, LIVE employed a new educational officer and senior mentor in Emma Warren, who, aside from her considerable experience as a journalist and writer, came aboard to deliver the OCN accreditation, help the young people with their exit strategies and develop referrals from more ‘at-risk’ groups.

That’s the story so far. After 6 years building the project from scratch, we now feel we’ve learned how we need to do things and where we need to be going. 2007 will see the emergence of a comprehensive business plan and strategy for LIVE’s future. Watch this space…

For all the latest developments, check the news section of this site

5 June 2007

LIVE Mag: Key Stats

-FREE 48-page glossy magazine with pull-out poster
-All editorial, photos, design, illustration produced by young people aged 21 and under
-20,000 copies printed every 3 months
-Distributed across south London into schools, colleges, health centres, youth clubs, libraries and peer-to-peer via street teams
-Funded mainly by Lambeth and Lewisham local authorities, including contributions from a range of local youth stakeholders
-Communicating messages about youth issues, local activities and services
-Estimated readership of up to 100,000 young people aged 12-21
-Online version of the magazine at

4 June 2007

LIVE Magazine

LIVE Magazine is produced for young people, by young people. An ever-changing team of voluntary teenagers and young adults write every word, design every page, take every photo, come up with every idea and are mentored in doing so by volunteer media professionals in an accredited, structured method of work based learning.

First and foremost, LIVE is for communicating with young people. Tons of paper is wasted every year trying to reach teenagers with messages about sex, drugs and crime. By giving control of the means of communication to the audience we are communicating to, LIVE goes under the radar. This is the real voice of young people, showing the world they see and talking about the things they are dealing with. Sometimes raw, sometimes close to the bone, but always positive.

Secondly, LIVE Magazine exists to improve the chances and lives of young people; to broaden their horizons; raise their sights; increase their self esteem, self belief and worth; to connect them to one another and the world; and ultimately to present them to and prepare them for and world of opportunities in education and employment they might not have otherwise seen.

3 June 2007

LIVE works for you!

With our young people, we have developed some key services and offerings for public and private sector clients. It’s a process where everybody wins. It provides payment and experience for the young people involved, revenue generated back into the social enterprise, and a creative, credible solution for our client.

Not to mention that warm tingly feeling of knowing your money is being invested into a social enterprise aimed at developing the skills and confidence of some of the UK’s most deprived young people.

Not that we need a sympathy vote. Our young people will come up with ideas that will blow you away, and the professional mentors working with them will make sure the product is delivered on time and to budget.

Here’s what we can do:

Contract publishing: the sharpest youth writing, fresh and bright design, with professional production and project management. LIVE’s team of professional journalists and designers work with young people to co-create the work.

Research and insight: opinion, trend-watching, focus groups, ethnographic evaluation. If you need the view from young people, get in touch.

Consultancy: if you’d like the people who started LIVE to help you engage young people, create brilliant communications aimed at young people or just to tell some bad jokes, LIVE’s directors are happy to discuss consultancy work.

For more information, download our media pack, or contact Emma Ellwood on 020 7326 5979

2 June 2007

Why we do it

You could call LIVE Futures’ objectives charitable, but we don’t want to rely on handouts. We channel our greatest asset and most exciting feature – the energy and creativity of the young people we work with – into sustaining and growing the business, in order to be able to provide many more opportunities for young people to get involved.

If we’re honest, we never set out for things to turn out the way they have. But we’re delighted they did. LIVE started as a small youth project producing a community magazine, but something went incredibly right. We ended up with a successful model of youth engagement and social enterprise, with hundreds of young people combining to create an atmosphere and product that is endlessly exciting, inspirational, refreshing, honest, informative and, above all else, enormous fun.

1 June 2007

What we do

Where to start?

Firstly, LIVE Futures publishes London’s biggest and most widely-read youth run publication, LIVE Magazine, created and run by young people under expert professional mentorship.

We’ve also run what is possibly the world’s first youth-run record label, LIVE Recordings, and begun a hands-off film-making project whose first short was screened at the NFT to critical acclaim.

One thing that separates us form most other youth projects is the fact that we share our office with sister company Livity, a socially-responsible youth marketing agency. That means media professionals working under the same roof as young people, and an incredible working atmosphere.

LIVE Futures aims to be a sustainable social enterprise, providing its own funding by generating revenue. We are a not for profit company funded by public money and our own money-making schemes, including youth-led research or contract publishing.

The links on this site will give you in-depth detail about all the things we do, and what we could do for you.
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