Brent Housing Partnership Youth Blog

Brought to you by the'Our Say' Magazine Team and BHP Youth Board

The Spinners Lounge Interview – DJ Radlett

Watch local DJ and Brent Resident DJ Radlett talk about his love for the borough, as well as his love for helping young people in the community.


The latest Our Say is out now

Our Say - Social media

Check out the latest edition of youth magazine Our Say

Read a review on the “Authors of the Estate” from St Raphael’s, a chocolate bar that makes you happy, ice skating at Wembley Park and much more!

You read the latest edition by clicking on the link below.

Our Say – Winter 2015/16

Model advice from H&M model Mariah Idrissi

Maria Derissy

The Our Say team interviewed Mariah Idrissi, who became H&M’s first hijab wearing model. She also grew up in Brent.

Can you tell us a little about yourself e.g. where you grew up and went to school?

I grew up in Wembley though I live in Queensbury now. I’m 23 and have just graduated this year with a degree in English Literature.

I have mixed Pakistani and Moroccan heritage. I love spoken word poetry. When I was growing up I used to write poetry and rap and my Sunday School teacher, who used to be a rapper, inspired me and encouraged me to perform and do shows. This gave me a lot of confidence.”

How did H&M approach you to be part of their campaign?

A lady I know has a modelling agency and she told me that H&M were looking for a model who wore the hijab because they wanted to show diversity for a campaign they were running and she sent them some photos of me.

Mariah Idrissi 5How did you negotiate not changing the principles of your dress with H&M?

I didn’t have to explain much to them. I just pushed my opinion of what I wanted to wear. It wasn’t because the other options were revealing, it was just a case that “I liked that outfit” so overall it was easy going.

Were you surprised by the reaction to a Muslim woman being part of this campaign?

I was very surprised when the pictures went viral. It was part of a wider campaign on recycled clothing which featured celebrities like David Beckham and Kevin Hart. The campaign wanted to reflect diversity so I expected to be a small part of this.

I didn’t expect it to be a big campaign at all. However, it ended up being huge so that you would walk down Oxford Street and see a great big advert outside the H&M store. I really did not expect that at all.

What inspired you to be a model?

It wasn’t like I always wanted to be a model, it just happened. The H&M thing was supposed to be a one-off campaign. Before they asked me to be part it and H&M were already looking online at the bigger bloggers who wear the hijab but they couldn’t find what they were looking for, and my friend sent them my pictures which they liked and it went from there.

Do you plan to continue the modelling?

I’ve had Muslim designers and even Jewish designers ask me to model their clothes. I also have a manager now who handles all my interviews and he’s been contacting lots of brands telling them that he has this Muslim model and this is what she’s done so far.

However, it’s much more than just about the about the modelling for me; it’s about trying to adapt the modelling world so they take into account more modest dress.

Mariah Idrissi 2I want more modest fashion and wearing the hijab to be more part of mainstream fashion. There’s a big gap between the two, there’s the Muslim world and the mainstream world. It can be hard looking for modest clothes especially in the summer, even a nice skirt could have a slit in it.

I think it’s important to open people’s minds as I have done so many interviews with newspapers and magazines across the world and it’s like they’ve never seen someone wearing a hijab before, they’re so intrigued. Less so in Britain though, people seem more open minded here.

Do you think there is a demand for modest dress in fashion?

There is a demand as many women want modest clothing, and Muslim women are spending billions on fashion globally so companies are realising this and starting to tap into that market.

Mariah Idrissi 4Do you have any advice for young girls who may want to pursue modelling?

The fashion industry is tough- there is lots of competition and agencies stick by height and weight restrictions. However there are other avenues for modelling, it’s not just runway modelling. And I hope that someone like myself who doesn’t fit any of the accepted stereotypes to be a model, can help change things for the future girls who want to be models.

What message would you give to young people to succeed in life?

I would say to make sure you have a goal as I wasn’t as clear when I was younger. I kept changing my subjects and lacked focus. Find a goal and try to stick to it.

By Our Say Team

Tackling homelessness through art

Olugbemi Linda Moronfolu

I’m involved with NCS The Challenge which is a once in a lifetime opportunity for 16 – 17 year olds.

It encourages young adults to help others, immerse themselves in new situations and to take society and others less for granted.

The team I am in on the challenge, Sabesan, were fortunate enough to be paired with Café Art as a community partner. This is a non-government funded organisation that tries to tackle homelessness in a unique, creative and inspiring way. People who have been affected by homelessness are given the opportunity to express themselves through the medium of art. This concept may seem ludicrous – homeless people need homes!

Where does art come into the picture? However, art can change a life.
We met David who became homeless after a series of health problems and hardships. He developed depression and tried to kill himself more than 10 times. Through selling and making art, David was able to get his life back on track.

We live in a society where victim blaming is prominent. We believe that people get what they deserve. The homeless person who you always see in the park must have brought their homelessness on themselves, probably through drugs. However, we need to step away from that stigma. People become homeless for several of reasons such as mental and health issues as well as injury – none of us are immune to those factors, some of us are just lucky.

We are all human so why should homeless people be segregated by our society?

To create more awareness of homelessness, we have decided to fundraise for Café Art on the Saturday 28 November. We will be on a store in Spitalfields Market between the Giraffe and Canteen. Please attend to show your support.

Coming together on this day shows that we are one as a team and that our human rights matter.

Olugbemi Linda Moronfolu

Interview with Andre Anderson and Nathaniel Tenemaque, writers of ‘Authors of the Estate’

Andre Anderson interview group pic

Andre Anderson, a young graphic designer and writer and Nathaniel Tenemaque, writer and recent post-graduate in Urban Studies from University College London were part of a collective of young authors who wrote ‘Authors of the Estate.’ They spoke to ‘Our Say about their inspiration and aims for the book.

What is the ‘Authors of the Estate’ about?

A group of young people who live St Raphael’s Estate wanted to create something that would change people’s perceptions about the estate.

A few of us had written books before and knew the process of writing and publishing a book. We felt that writing a book for the residents of the estate as well as outside the neighbourhood would help change negative perceptions about the local area.

We were keen to create a ‘passport’ for those who lived on the estate, a ‘passport’ in the sense that we believed that by creating something you become free, and we were creating a ‘passport’ which would take residents anywhere they wanted to go. There were no boundaries and no limits.

Where did the idea come from?

We always had the idea to do something creative on the estate, to bring people together and make a difference. The book was published a year later and it all came together when we received funding from Starbucks Youth Action who were thrilled about the project.

Why did you choose the name ‘Authors of the Estate?’

The word author and the word authority have the same root meaning. As a matter of fact, the word ‘author’ in Latin is a term to describe someone who is a creator, a master, an enlarger and a sustainer. So when we say that we are the Authors of the Estate, we are not just saying that we are simply writers. We are saying we are the creators, masters, enlargers and sustainers of the estate. Those who rule are those who write.

How would you encourage the youth of today to achieve their goals?

We would say that young people should never stop creating because when you create something you have something tangible to show for your time. It also helps you to express yourself and gives you a sense of fulfilment.

Young people should also do what they love rather than being driven by shallow goals such as money. When you truly love what you are doing, you will be successful. It will also give you that drive and motivation to get up in the mornings.

How successful has the book been so far?

We have been interviewed on various media including BBC Radio 4. Starbucks advertised the book for us by having posters in Starbucks coffee shops across London. The book has also been gathering interest abroad. We created a short film about the book and posted this online and have gained a lot of interest on social media and we have created an ‘Authors of London’ Facebook page.

You can request a copy of the book through “Authors of London” website.

By Our Say Team

Who has your vote for the Rugby World Cup?

Rugby Worl Cup pics

As summer drew to a close and everyone was faced with the prospect of returning to the mundane routine of everyday life and work, it was good news for rugby fans everywhere as England became the host to yet another world sports championship, the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Since 18 September, rugby audiences have been wowed by the athleticism and skill of world teams such as Australia, South Africa, Japan and many, many more. This time around a record 20 teams have competed for the ultimate title in world rugby and with only one winner there has been some serious competition as every player in every team pursues their dream of lifting the cup.

Amongst other world renowned sports venues, such as the Millennium Stadium, Olympic Park and Twickenham Stadium,  North West London’s very own Wembley Stadium has played host to multiple matches including that of Ireland vs Romania.  However the biggest shock of the competition has been England. Once again a sporting event that involves kicking and passing a ball has caused the English team to falter at the first hurdle with England vs Wales resulting in one of the greatest sporting upsets of the past year (to the delight of every Welshman who ever lived), making England one of the only host countries not to get through to knockouts.

More than anything the rugby world cup like the 2012 Olympics has brought together people of different ages, races and backgrounds. It is all everyone has to talk about at the moment and the air is filled with discussion as to whether frontrunners Australia, Wales, South Africa or New Zealand will take the title in the final at Twickenham Stadium on the 31 October.

The hardest part of following the World Cup is deciding what team to support, and since England are not going to win anything soon, it seems obligatory for every Brit to bet on Wales.

Who has your bet?

By Samara Roach, 17

BHP Academy takes Peter Nugent from youth board to company Board

Peter Nugent photo

I was born and brought up in Brent and I started getting involved with Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) when I was 15. I was one of the original members of the Youth Editorial Board and we started a youth column called ‘Our Say’ in BHP’s residents’ newsletter. We were able to share some of our articles on the web and we generated a really good buzz around the borough, picking up the National Federation of ALMO’s award for Best Use of Communication being one of the highlights. I really enjoyed my time working on this board, especially the intergenerational events that we organised like teaching IT to older residents. After seven years, four of those spent as the Editor, I decided it was time to try something a little different. I joined the BHP Academy after hearing about it through BHP’s Communications Manager, Nadia Khan, and thought that I may as well give it a try, setting my sights on becoming a Board Member.

The Academy was really useful as I was able to meet so many like minded people. These were people who wanted to positively influence their community and were willing to volunteer their time to do so. It offered a lot of insight in to exactly what the BHP Board does and exactly how to get involved. I wanted to be on the Board because I could influence the way BHP operates, and I thought that as a young person I would offer a fresh perspective on Brent. I am really looking forward to my time ahead and I am very excited to be getting involved. 

by Peter Nugent (BHP Co-Opted Board Member)

Notting Hill Carnival 2015: Special Parking Arrangements

Enjoying the outdoors in Brent


Living in Wembley, it is difficult to appreciate all nature has to offer. There is King Edward VII Park and Barham Park, but after exploring to its deepest depths, you start to crave a little more from nature. If you, like me, are eager to continue exploring, then when not try Horsenden Hill?

Horsenden Hill is a massive hill covering parts of Greenford, Perivale and Sudbury. Upon embarking on your journey up the hill, you find yourself surrounded by trees. There are several routes, so it is easy to get lost; though by the end of the day, you will have a great anecdote about your adventurel. You may be thinking, ‘Who wants to climb an ordinary hill?’ If you are, then you are mistaken; Horsenden Hill is no ordinary hill!  It is a large one which is fitted with man made features, such as benches, gates and stairs. Walking up the hill does not go unrewarded. Not only do you lose calories but you also get to see a breathtaking view of West London.

In addition to this, how about visiting Northala fields? This is in Greenford, Ealing. Four hills stand next to each other.  After you have conquered these hills, despite being drenched in sweat, you will feel a sense of achievement. The view from the top is stunning. You can see Horsenden Hill, Harrow on the Hill and the Gherkin amongst other places. Seeing such a view really makes you feel calm which is what is needed after all the stress of work and school.

If you fancy a bit of sunbathing after a walk, Ruislip Lido is the place to go. The Lido has a forest which encircles a man-made beach. The forest is truly a testimony to how astounding nature can be. Amongst the trees are fallen trunks and trees – and you have great opportunities to learn how to climb a tree. Then when you find your way out, there is the man-made beach to look forward to. The Ruislip Lido has everything including an outside gym, sand, water and a forest. It has all these perks and you do not have to travel far, be crowded in a coach or suffer from travel sickness. Well all that definitely strikes me as amazing!

All of these places also have amazing children’s parks and toilets. Horsenden Hill even has a pirate ship!  Needless to say, they are all great places to have a picnic and a nice day out for all the family.  So why not exploit the days where the sun is shining and go for a walk?

by Linda Moronfolu, 17

Blog at

Up ↑