As part of our ongoing work in youth social action, we're involved with a youth leadership programme called UpRising. UpRising teaches young people that anyone can be a leader no matter what background they come from. Shoaib Elahi talks about his work with UpRising and the Trust.
"Anyone can be a leader no matter what background they come from."
Read more about our work in youth social action
Hi, my name is Shoaib Elahi and I am a youth work apprentice for SLYNCS, which stands for 'Strengthening Links between the Youth and Networks, Communities and Specialists.'
I started to attend SLYNCS as a young person in March 2014. Since then I have been working with SLYNCS on various projects including some with the Canal & River Trust.
The first event I attended was in Liverpool where we had to clean up the canal. I enjoyed the event a lot because I was helping the environment. I then got involved in a project called UpRising. This is all about youth leadership. It teaches young people that anyone can be a leader no matter what background they come from. This project stood out to me because many young people in Blackburn feel that there are no opportunities for them. However this project creates awareness about opportunities which really are available.
So far the UpRising project is going fantastically well. The activities have been great. As well as cleaning up the canal we've also run some fun 'build a canal' workshops with primary school students. This has helped me, as a young person, to understand and see the opportunities that I can create for myself.
I decided to get involved in the project because I wanted learn about leadership. Also I wanted to get involved in reviving the canal. So many people in Blackburn have been misusing the canal that I thought it was time to try and change that.
The thing that I have most enjoyed about the UpRising project is that I have been able to travel around England learning about the way different young people view things and also do things. Therefore I have been able to see the way in which different organisations work.
Traveling around the country also allowed me to work with some amazing young people. I also enjoyed organising the youth debate. This was the first one of its kind to have ever been created in history. I am quite proud to have played a part in that.
We will now start to go in to high schools to educate other young people on how important the canal is to Blackburn. We will also teach them about the heritage of the canal and how much of a big help it was to creating Blackburn. If it wasn’t for the canal Blackburn would not be where it is at the moment. We will also be teaching them about how to use the canal correctly instead of vandalising it.
" Another great thing about being out on the canal is that everyone works together when we’re out there."
The best thing about being on the canal is the childhood memories that it brings back for me. I remember visiting the canal with my mother. I found the opening and closing of gates so fascinating. I still find it fascinating to this day. Another great thing about being out on the canal is that everyone works together when we’re out there. If we’re cleaning or just enhancing our knowledge, it’s amazing to see everyone working together.
Our guest bloggers all have a passion for our waterways, whether they are volunteers, staff or the experts we work with.See more blogs from this author