Revved Up is a youth-led community organisation based in Toxteth, Liverpool. Its purpose is to provide young people with skills and opportunities to live fulfilling personal and professional lives. Toxteth is a divided area where crime and violence are prevalent. For Revved Up, given that opportunities are limited in the area, it is important to engage the youth and prevent them from turning to informal employment.
The organisation is responsive to the community it serves, offering activities that young people want. The main activities that the organisation provides are motorcycle events, martial arts, and ‘Pop-up’ PlayStation tournaments. To support and help the attendees to grow, the organisation employs them at various levels, allowing them to shape the direction of the organisation and decide on the activities that it will provide.
“Rather than just being youth led, it was about them being board members, hopefully being directors, and seeing all the business works and inspiring them to become self-employed.”
Revved Up does a lot of ‘personal development by stealth’. Rather than sitting young people around a table for this, development happens wherever it fits and always alongside something that they have chosen to do.
Revved Up also supports young people who have been involved or are at risk of being involved in crime and violence. By creating a space where young people can be themselves, giving them positive role models, coaching them and building their business skills, the organisation has had a positive impact on individuals and the community. Staff’s lived experience of the issues also shaped their approach: “Most of us have lived experience at Revved Up and we use that. […] We all see ourselves in the people we work with; that way you can emphasize with them more. We are not here to tell young people what to do, we are here to help them find the answers for themselves.”
Revved Up aims to work with different groups within the local community. This can be challenging, as some groups are not always willing to mix with people from different backgrounds or postcodes. The organisation currently operates on the street and in various local buildings, however, they struggle to get some groups collaborating with one another.
The Bright Ideas programme funded by Power to Change helped start up the organisation. Revved Up had been trying to organise motorbike trips for the members to go on, aiming to break the divisions in the community, but had struggled to find funding before Bright Ideas. This was also used to employ existing members to recruit more young people to join the trips.
Shortly afterwards, Revved Up accessed the Trade Up programme as well. This was an opportunity for young people to learn about community businesses and develop their entrepreneurial skills. “Trade up was the first example of young people coming up with ideas to earn income because two young people came with us to the interview to get the Trade Up funding. They got part of the matched grant to run our social media.”
As a result, some of the young people set up their own businesses – one became a personal shopper and another one created a football training venture. Other young people secured funding from third sector organisations to train them on community engagement. The funding was also used to purchase equipment, such as a mobile PlayStation unit which they used to host tournaments. Overall, Trade Up also helped consolidate the organisation. It also helped move activities online during the pandemic, thus mitigating the negative impact of Covid.
Going forward, Revved Up has plenty of ideas to continue supporting the community, and depending on funding, this might include their own motorbike track, a training centre, a computer suite to do more tournaments or music events…