Islington together: Husen
In a series of interviews, we capture the diverse experiences of the people of Islington and how together, we’re tackling inequality at the root. This time: Husen, Youth Mayor of Islington
Husen was elected Youth Mayor of Islington in 2020. Since then, he has been helping to create new opportunities for the Somali community, bringing young people together with the police and having honest conversations about key issues.
“When I was elected youth mayor, I really wanted to do something about knife crime and the impact violence has on young peoples’ lives.
When we lost two young Somalis last year, I wanted to work with the local community to try to build trust after the stabbings. The whole situation was sad and frustrating, but you have to keep talking. First, we organised a community event, bringing together Somali young people with Islington Council and the police. It was a chance for everyone to be heard and to try to work out ways to improve things.
Young people were saying they needed more opportunities, so we organised a Somali youth employment and opportunities event. People wanted to know how to get jobs, write CVs, that kind of thing, so that’s what we focused on. We also now have the youth forum every couple of weeks, where young people can come and talk to council leaders. We talk about different things, like mental health and safety. Next time we’ll meet the new police commander, which gives us a chance to ask questions.
I regularly go to youth clubs, letting young people know about all the help out there, as well as post on Instagram. I can reach young people in a different way to the council, but we all want them to get the help they need when they need it. The youth offer, like Summerversity, gives people something different to do, rather than hang around on the street, and the youth workers can be really helpful.”