Championing youth in the time of Covid-19

Reach Up Youth team featured

Story by Yousuf Idris. Photo by Karina Lax.

I’m a 16 year old Champion at Big Brother Burngreave. I have been a part of Big Brother for the past 3 years, since I was in year 9.

Ever since I started attending in 2018, I looked up to the older generation as role models, inspiring me to be a better person and sparking my passion for basketball. Without the support of Safiya and the leaders I don’t know where I would be today so I am thankful for everything they have done to help me, which made me even more excited to be able to give back, once I became a champion.

The role of a Big Brother champion is very important, kind of a middle man between the leaders and the kids. The age of a champion is a lot closer to a kid, compared to a leader, and this allows individuals who are a bit less confident, to have an approachable role model around their age.

I became a Champion in 2020 and was really looking forward to being able to lead and set a good example through activities and sports, giving me a responsibility. However, it has been very difficult to do so since the start of the pandemic. As a community, we were no longer able to host our weekly sessions. This made it difficult to have an impact. Nonetheless, the champions and leaders came together deciding to do weekly zoom calls to maintain the same structure through online interaction, and not just deciding to close down in the face of adversity. As the restrictions eased, we managed to set up sporting sessions in smaller bubbles and this worked well.

In the end, even though it has been a rough start this past year, I cannot wait to be able to properly resume my role as a champion at Big Brother Burngreave and to make a difference to the community by inspiring young peers to find their passion, making changes to their lives for the better.

Reach Up Youth team

Mini Messenger appeal

The Mini Messenger needs youth groups, schools and people aged 5-25 to help create a section made by and for young people.

Training and support is available. If you would like to get involved please contact