Sam is the Founder of Write Back, a charity that builds self-esteem among young people through storytelling. Write Back rests on three key ideas: that every young person has a story to tell and the capacity to tell it; that a deep connection with the stories of others is often the most powerful way to learn; and that young people should tell their stories in the way that they want them to be told.
Each storytelling session combines confidence-building activities, exposure to young authors and tailored support for participants to develop their stories. At the end of the programmes, every young person has a story published and has their achievements acknowledged in a public celebration of their stories.
Write Back is based in Barking and Dagenham, the local authority with the 9th highest level of deprivation and the joint fewest charities per head in the entire country. Only 37% of young residents feel they have someone to talk to and this isolation is exacerbated by the current lockdown and a school system under increasing pressure to focus on academic results. Write Back provides these young people the opportunity to discuss issues important to them and a supportive environment to do so.