Book here for Slough Young People’s Hustings

Book here for Slough Young People’s Hustings

Next Tuesday (25th June), Slough will host one of the only hustings for young people in the UK. Six prospective candidates will receive questions from young people aged 11 to 25.
Candidates for the young people's hustings

Candidates for the young people’s hustings

This significant event will take place at The Langley Academy and will be hosted by 17-year-old Langley Academy student, Hurairah Khan.
Alison Lusuardi, Headteacher of The Langley Academy, expressed her enthusiasm: “We are delighted to be hosting this event and to witness our future leaders in action, debating and discussing important issues as they seek to shape the future.”
The event is being organised by Together As One (formerly Aik Saath) and Slough Youth Parliament.
The event is scheduled to start at 6.30 pm and will conclude at 8 pm. There are still spaces available for those who wish to attend, but booking is essential. Book here.
Attendees are also invited to submit questions using the booking form (link above).
This event is part of a series called Slough Young People’s Question Time. The first event in this series took place in 2015, also as part of a General Election.
To find out more, please contact Rosa at 07540 750269.
Global Grub – a youth participation story

Global Grub – a youth participation story

If you were to ask someone what Global Grub involves who had no prior knowledge of the project, they might correctly guess it involves food from different cultures. Less obvious is the project’s link to mental health, but a desire to deliver proactive work on mental health motivated the creation of Global Grub. As the title suggests, we also believe the project is a fine example of youth participation.

The Mental Health Connection

Mental Health Awareness Week, May 2021, we challenged the young people accessing our services to design a project based on the Five Ways to Wellbeing. The ‘Five Ways’ are five things that everyone can do to strengthen their mental wellbeing. In a way, this was partly an academic exercise: it’s main objective, to see if the young people understood the ‘Five Ways’ framework.

The young people presented their ideas to each other, and one stood out above all others – not least because the other young people in attendance also thought it was brilliant. Their idea was to learn to cook food from different cultures during the summer holidays – a time when many felt their mental health was at its lowest due to social isolation. They suggested a cooking project would help them to Connect with other people. By cooking food from different cultures, the young people would be Learning, and finally, through exposure to new dishes, they would be more Mindful due to a raised awareness of new flavours and scents. As the project has evolved, we have integrated new ad hoc ways of learning, for example this month (Easter ’24), the young people have the opportunity to learn to DJ and paint henna. An additional ‘way to wellbeing’ has also been integrated via being active: for example, this month, team games like dodgeball have also been integrated into the programme. In keeping with the broader ethos of Global Grub, these are young people’s ideas.


As must have been clear by now, youth voice was at the forefront of this project’s development. Building on the initial excitement from that first week when the young people had conceived the idea for Global Grub, we spent the following weeks both listening to the young people’s ideas so that they could shape the project (for example it was in one of those sessions that they came up with the name “Global Grub”), but also training the young people in skills so that they could assist with the search for funding to actually get the project off the ground.

Youth voice and participation has been at the forefront of the continued development of the project and has led to some special twists on its delivery, such as retiming the cooking sessions to coincide with Iftar during Ramadan. Other, modifications have included Global Grub picnics, where we take the food to the park and the young people assemble it themselves, making wraps and salads.

Another area of the project that young people have led is promotion. We have found the most effective approach is for young people to record pieces ‘talking to the camera’ promoting what is going to happen. These clips are then shared on range of social media platforms. Not only does this promote the project, but it also supports new skills development for the young people involved.


The young people had a vision for the project in May, but where could we find funding? Their idea coincided with the launch of an NHS Innovation Fund and Frimley ICB awarded the project £5,000. Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford successfully campaigned for young people entitled to Free School Meals to have similar rights during school holidays. The opportunities presented by these two funding streams allowed us to deliver our first Global Grub in July and August of that year. In subsequent years, the HAF Fund has been a vital source of funding, as has been generous donations from Stoke Park.

Key Ingredients

As is so often the case with youth work projects, the right staff are integral to the successful running of the project. Kevin Muhammad has been key to the success of the project. Kevin cut his teeth in a range of commercial kitchens before starting to run his own courses and he later became a home economics teacher at Windsor Boys’ School. Kevin has a fantastic rapport with the young people accessing our services. Finding any teacher who could teach the young people was challenging – most are looking forward to their holidays, when Global Grub takes place – so to find one with Kevin’s qualities was an astounding piece of luck.

Kevin has been ably supported by our youth workers and have spent enough time with Kevin that though he is unable to join us this Easter, they have learned enough from him to ‘hold the fort.’ This would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago and highlights how much he has built our capacity. Indeed, in December 2021, we were faced with that very challenge as Kevin tested positive for COVID on the eve of four days of Global Grub. Thankfully at this point we had 19 months experience of online youth work. We simply dropped off the ingredients at the young people’s homes and met them online, where Kevin felt well enough to instruct them how to cook on Zoom.

Another key ingredient of the project is a venue. This has not always been the easiest aspect of the project. Initially we put a makeshift kitchen into the YES Shop – a pop up venue in the local shopping centre. The venue was ideal for us – centrally located, with a recreation room off the main kitchen for activities. When the Queensmere shut this side of the shopping centre we needed to look further afield. We relocated to Weekes Drive Community Centre in Cippenham. This took us away from the centre but was an easier location for pick-ups and drop offs. It was also prohibitively expensive. It led us to our latest destination in Kedermister Park, Langley, a venue owned by the Guides. The venue has a sizeable kitchen and a decent sized hall we can use for various activities. The park has a reputation for violence and antisocial behaviour so there is also a sense that we are in the right location, to bring something positive to an area which needs it.


We have a lot of equipment, and this is an ingredient which cannot be underestimated. The key reason for this, is that if the project was simply about giving the young people food, a few industrial sized pans would have sufficed. But the project has always sought to ensure the young people can reproduce the dishes at home, and if they were only familiar with, for example, making a small contribution to an industrial process, they couldn’t recreate the recipes. Instead, every young person goes through all the steps themselves, and if that means that seven young people are cooking at the same time and it’s a recipe requiring two pans, we need fourteen pans in total. It is easy to see how an abundance of equipment is important.

The Recipes

Global Grub is run during the school holidays in Easter (one week), Summer (four weeks) and Christmas (one week). The dishes are determined in consultation with young people. They create a long list and Kevin, Sanna and Aida establish what can be achieved in a one-hour cooking session.

We had intended to create a cookbook for the young people, of the recipes they created. However, the young people told us quite directly that any such books would gather dust and not be looked at. Rather, they advocated for the creation of TikToks which would allow the young people to remember and follow the recipes in future, in a much more interesting way. At the time of writing, Global Grub recipes have attracted over a thousand views!

Famous Supporters and Royal Participation

As noted above, the project was no stranger to leveraging to power of social media, most significantly with promotional work on YouTube and recipes on TikTok. We also used Instagram, Facebook, and X to advertise the project. Marcus Rashford made one of our Global Grub tweets our most shared tweet ever when he retweeted it from his official account, resulting in over 230,000 views. Even more impressively, in January 2023, HRH Prince William visited Together As One to learn more about our work and took part in a Global Grub cooking session.

HRH Prince William gets involved in Global Grub cooking with Inaaya and Daisha.

HRH Prince William gets involved in Global Grub cooking with Inaaya and Daisha.

Views of Third Parties

Donna Sheldon visited Global Grub on behalf of the Department for Education in August 2023. We were delighted she took the time to really engage with the young people and joined us for some food. She was impressed with that she saw and invited Together As One to be a part of a best practice Bite Size Learning clip for HAF Providers. The clip can be seen below with the focus on Slough from 12:48:


Global Grub pre-dates our move to the fantastic Upshot system, which analyses data so straightforwardly for us. However, we can take 2023 as a snapshot to give readers an understanding of the scale of young people’s involvement and the diversity of the young people who have chosen to get involved. 128 young people took part in Global Grub. The average age of the participants was 14. The young people were from six different faiths and eighteen different ethnicities. 32 of the young people indicated they had SEND or a mental health condition.

At any given time, we struggle to exceed 7 or 8 young people in the kitchen. The optimum number of participants is probably slightly fewer at 5 or 6. The project has grown in popularity and though the young people who initially conceived the idea have started to move on, the new young people have shown a fantastic appetite for it to continue.


During the first Global Grub we asked young people to rate themselves against these key questions:

How would you rate…

  • your ability to cook different dishes?
  • knowledge of different cultures?
  • knowledge of nutrition?
  • confidence in communicating with people you don’t know?

We also used the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale to try to gain an understand of the project’s impact on mental health. Across the four areas outlined above and all but two of the areas covered in WEMWBS, the young people attested to an improvement.

Key Ingredients
  • Spaces for youth voice to inform project development.
  • Staff who are able to draw on youth work skills, as well as food technology
  • A spacious kitchen preferably with multiple ovens/hobs.
  • Plenty of equipment – the kinds of which you might find in your own home, rather than large commercial pans.
Young Health Champions Scheme for Windsor and Maidenhead

Young Health Champions Scheme for Windsor and Maidenhead

In April, the Young Health Champions Scheme will be introduced to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM). This initiative, led by Together As One and supported by Frimley ICB, offers young individuals the chance to earn a recognised qualification from the Royal Society for Public Health.

What is the Young Health Champions programme?

The Young Health Champions programme is a guided-learning programme which leads to a qualification; RSPH Level 2 Award for Young Health Champions. The programme is for young people who want to help other young people develop a healthier lifestyle and make their voice heard around health and wellbeing issues. This programme is for young people living or attending school in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead who are in schools years 9, 10, 11, or 12.

YHCs in the community

YHCs in the community

Who is leading the programme?

Together As One has been delivering training and youth work in the local community for the past 25 years. Moreover, we have supported 6 cohorts of Young Health Champions through the programme, supporting a wide range of health messages in schools and the wider community.

Where will RBWM’s Young Health Champions meet?

We have planned for sessions to take place in the centre of Maidenhead. We have withheld the precise location for safeguarding reasons but contact us for further info.

When will sessions take place?

The Young Health Champions qualification is comprised of four modules. Young people will also meet with health professionals to drive change. Some modules will be completed in a day, others will take place on Wednesday evenings. A full schedule can be found below:

Title Description Dates/Times
Understanding mental health Develop your understanding of factors impacting mental health and wellbeing, and learn how you can support others to look after their own wellbeing. Wednesday 22nd May, 16.30-19.00


Reviewing health services Discover what health services are available locally. Spend the afternoon secret shopping these services and provide feedback to commissioners and service leads. May Half Term

Wednesday 29th May, 10.00-17.00

Deliver a health message Your opportunity to be creative and share what you’ve learned with the community… Create a social media campaign, record a video or podcast, lead a workshop or presentation – the choice is yours! Wednesday evenings, 16.30-19.00

12th June

26th June

10th July

24th July


*Additional Wednesday evening sessions will take place in September/October 2024 to develop your health message.


If you would like to apply to be involved, please complete an application form by Friday 17th May.


Please see further information here

Have further questions?

Please contact Rosa Hopkins on [email protected] or 07540 750 269

Learning from the second SEND Youth Focus Group

Learning from the second SEND Youth Focus Group

Jovi, our SEND Participation and Engagement Officer, shares the learning from our second SEND Youth Focus Group.

In the latest session the young people discussed the important topics that they would like included in a SEND training for youth leaders. The young people were asked what they would like group leaders to know about SEND. They shared that most importantly that people should refrain from generalising people with SEND. Although SEND is an umbrella term, each child that comes under that umbrella can be vastly different from another. There is a lot of diversity between young people as individuals and even more for those with additional needs, even if they have the same diagnosis.

Each young person with SEND is distinct in the four areas of need:

  1. Communication and interaction
  2. Cognition and learning
  3. Social and emotional health
  4. Sensory and physical needs.

A group member highlighted that “if everyone was the same that the world would be a very boring place”.

The need for patience

The group went on to discuss the significance of patience when working with people with SEND. They highlighted that everyone will learn things at a different pace so it is important to give people time to process responses. Some people may have delayed processing and may feel overwhelmed with the expectation to respond quickly. It was also emphasised not to make individuals feel dumb or treat them poorly because of their differences. The group shared that other useful qualities for staff working with people with additional needs is being understanding, attentive, having the ability to build a rapport, the ability to speak calmly and  quietly and being knowledgeable on SEND.

Joining for the first time

The group were asked what they would find helpful if they joined a session for the first time. They identified some changes that a group leader could make to make joining a group easier for them. The young people said that knowing the content and the structure of the session beforehand will help them know what to expect.  Also, having the opportunity to speak to the session leader before to build a relationship. They agreed that this may also reduce the anxieties of parents/carers. In addition to this, they said that being invited to a session slightly earlier than the rest of the group would help them ease into it rather than walking into a room full of people. It was also emphasised that being given an opt-out option and having a quiet space to go to when feeling overwhelmed or the need to self-regulate will be very helpful.

What does sensory overload feel like?

As part of the session the young people wrote down what overstimulation/ sensory overload feels like to them. The responses read “partial confusion and frustration, stressful, twitchy, annoyed, want to leave a situation quickly”. Another response explained. “It feels similar to drowning, I am unable to breathe normally, or take in sights normally. A pressure rises in my chest and ears and I cannot think clearly. I also become very itchy all over my arms and legs”. The purpose of this is to help other people understand their experiences and reduce the likelihood of making people feel discomfort because understanding is the first step.

We would like to thank the young people for their brilliant contributions to the discussion and their willingness to make changes across Slough to help educate other people about having special educational needs and disabilities. We look forward to a more inclusive Slough.

To get involved with our next SEND youth participation project please contact Jovi 07709525687 or [email protected]

Learning from the second SEND Youth Focus Group

First SEND Youth Focus Group

Jovi shares an update on her first Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) focus group.

We sat down with a group of young people with SEND to get their views on youth activities and how they can be improved to be more inclusive. The young people agreed that youth activities have been moving in the right direction but there is still a long way to go to make young people with SEND feel included. We asked the young people the following questions:

What are the barriers to young people with SEND attending youth clubs and activities?

The young people attributed many of the barriers to situations that can cause sensory overstimulation. This includes activities that can get really loud as multiple people are talking or shouting at the same time or if there is noise in the background. This also includes environments that are visually overwhelming with a lot of clutter, or colours. Another barrier that was mentioned by the young people is that they can have difficulty socialising, so the idea of walking into a crowded space where there are lots of people already socialising can be intimidating for some people.

What do youth activities do right when supporting young people with SEND?

The young people shared that they always appreciate having supportive staff members that make the effort to know them. These staff look-out for the young people and can remove them from an environment to help them self-regulate and calm down when they are upset, often using breathing exercises and the 54321 grounding technique. The young people also value having a sensory room to help them calm down in. These rooms can include items or walls with a range of textures to meet sensory seeking needs. They also tend to be dimly lit, have sensory/ fidget toys and calming, low-level music. It is also beneficial when people are split into small groups or there are a small number of attendees and other people with special needs and/ or disabilities.

What changes would you like to see in youth activities around Slough?

The young people discussed the changes they would like to see in youth activities around Slough. They shared that they would like more games that include and encourage interaction and communication as this will support the development of their social skills. They also like being given time to process new information and instructions before they begin a task or activity. Additionally, the young people appreciate not being forced to interact with other people right away when they join a club as this gives them the opportunity to become familiar with their environment and come out of their shell in their own time.

We would like to thank the young people for their brilliant contributions to the discussion and their willingness to make changes across Slough to help educate other people about having special needs and disabilities.

To get involved with our next SEND youth participation project please contact Jovi 07709525687 or [email protected]