Co-founder of Make (Good) Trouble and social media agency Liberty842. Tayler has over a decade's experience working in digital and social media for Media & Entertainment clients. She has a first class degree in Communications from Goldsmiths University where she majored in Journalism and TV Audience Studies.

Journalist Jan Edwards describes how an ordinary day of door-to-door fundraising led to his involvement with Make (Good) Trouble. 

It was early January, and winter had firmly clasped its unrelenting, icy grip on Brighton and Hove, suffocating the distant memories of summer. 

Shivering, my resolve to fundraise for homeless young people spurred me on. I started a new road, willing an answer for some warmth. I knocked, but there was no response. Maybe the next… “Hello! Sorry, I was cooking.” I rushed back. “Hi, I’m from Centrepoint.” “Ah, I know all about you!” says the woman, smiling. “Come in.” 

While door-to-door fundraising can be discouraging, I relished meeting all sorts of strange, eccentric, but often wonderful people. At Centrepoint, I was yelled at, sworn at and chased down a garden path with a broom (only to be invited in for tea and an art lesson by the less cranky next-door-neighbour!).

Naturally, I was intrigued by this friendly woman who had provided respite from winter’s wrath. “You don’t need to say anything. I’ll sign up,” she said. I was bemused as even the most willing of donors usually take some persuasion. “I work for a social enterprise called Make (Good) Trouble, helping teenagers. I’m Daisy, the co-founder.” 

Daisy explained that her company aims to challenge society’s narrative that young people are a nuisance. The media is often full of teenagers’ misdemeanours, so Make (Good) Trouble uses it to celebrate their achievements and improve mental health. Based on my passion for helping young people from my own experiences, I was eager to get involved. 

As a teenager, I suffered from low self-esteem, unexplainable anger and bouts of anxiety and depression. This informed my behaviour: impulsiveness, drinking and trouble at home and school. In fact, I spent more time out of school than in! If only I’d had a means to express my feelings, to channel my complex coil of emotions. 

Enterprises like Make (Good) Trouble are essential if other suffering teens are to make a difference in the world, inspiring creativity and motivation. As a journalist, I feel that nothing boosts self-confidence more than completing a project and seeing the results. “I would love to help,” I enthused, leaving with Daisy’s number and feeling warm inside and out. 

I was delighted when Daisy scheduled a meeting to discuss my involvement with Make (Good) Trouble. She explained how revered the enterprise has become, securing a donation from Sussex Police. “We have Project Poppy coming up, which looks at women’s mental health in the First World War. It’ll be perfect for you.”

My Grandad is a Holocaust survivor, so I am familiar with the impact of war. A survivor of three camps, Grandad has harrowing memories which he seldom discusses. He was taken away from his mother as a child, and never saw her again. Nobody knows what became of her. A story lost. 

Indeed, the impact of war on women is rarely considered. I realised that in learning about the First World, the experiences of wives, of female nurses and doctors were not taught. With a Mum who won the NHS “Woman of the Year” award, I know how strong women are. It is imperative that the stories of these heroes be told. 

Meeting with Tayler, Daisy’s sister and project leader, I was amazed at her research and determination to bring the project to fruition. “Mental health is a current issue”, Tayler said. “We want young people to get involved and to compare mental health then with what’s happening today. We want everyone involved in the project to help build a picture of a fictional woman, Poppy, who lived through the War and use media to flesh out what her experiences might have been, to bring her to life.”

This project is part of the First World War Centenary, a programme set up by the National Lottery Heritage Fund that aims to help people understand the war, uncover its stories and explore what it means to us today, creating a link between then and now. Project Poppy participants will research the subject and create a film and a blog detailing the process, plus a presentation for schools.

Students at Hove Park School are participating in the project and we met up with them before the schools were closed due to the coronavirus. I was struck by the young people there, their compassion and confidence as they created diagrams of influences on mental health, both in the First World War and now. “Have you ever had mental health issues?” one girl asked. “Most of us have.” I was confused:  happy with her openness, but sad at the prevalence of mental health issues she had expressed. 

Walking home from the school that day, I was lost in thought. Isn’t it great how open young people are about mental health now, actively wanting to enact change? I smile. One thing’s certain: It’s incredible how interrupting someone’s cooking caused me to get involved with such an inspiring project.

Jan Edwards

We’re having to re-think Project Poppy due to the coronavirus lockdown. Make (Good) Trouble is now looking at ways to share the project online which will mean that more young people can get involved if they’re interested. Watch this space!

Hello again – with schools and colleges closing, we want you to know that we’re here for you and that we’ll keep Make (Good) Trouble going for as long as is humanly possible. 

If you’re a parent or a young person struggling to cope, or just worried about the next few weeks and months, we’ve set up a Facebook group to help you. It’s called Raising Teens in Lockdown (what else!). We’ve gathered some of our Raising Teens experts to give advice and you can also share your own ideas and tips or simply have somewhere to talk and be heard. And we have our small army of amazing Make (Good) Trouble teens on hand to help out. 

We’re planning Q&A advice sessions, cook-alongs, home-based activities and more – our teens are brainstorming ideas as I type! We’ll be trialling and sharing the best ways to keep in touch with friends and family – which apps and digital media wok best, including which are free – so no one feels alone. 

We also have every episode of our Raising Teens radio show available to listen to if you need specific help while we get Raising Teens in Lockdown going. Parents, teens and brilliant experts share stories and give really practical advice. 

Communication is so important, as is understanding each other when we’re feeling anxious and in close proximity. Listen to our pilot episode which covered dealing with flare-ups and how to get a teen to talk. We also discussed where to get support for yourself as a parent as well as broaching difficult subjects.

We also have episodes on understanding the Teenage Brain in series 1 – and The Return of the Teenage Brain in series 2 which are amazing insights into the workings of the adolescent brain and really do help us understand why teens act the way they do. 

If your teen is struggling with anxiety and other issues are flaring up, these episodes may help:

Kicking off

Loneliness

Eating Disorders

Self-harm

Family breakups

Relationships

Resilience

Sleep

Social media & devices

You can also join us on TwitterInstagram and LinkedIn – we’ll share the best bits from our Raising Teens in Lockdown group there too. 

Gemma spoke about grief and loss on Raising Teens  last year. Here she talks about how that experience has helped her to open up and seek support.

It seems in a world so digitalised we often lose sight of reality; words are said with little truth behind them and conversations go unspoken. 

Make (Good) Trouble has initiated that conversation; discussing topics that are so often pushed aside, avoided, or even feared. It was for that exact reason that I’m determined to speak about the avoided, feared or pushed aside as these are normalities that are made anomalies. Having understood the topics at hand to be discussed, I was initially reluctant in opening up about the state of beings that I am far too familiar with; grief, loneliness and social anxiety. These three states of being tend to be intertwined and when one is taking the limelight the other two tend to sneak up slowly behind. 

After losing my mum at the age of nine and entering the foster care system at 14, I think it’s fair to say that adapting to change is now a skill I am far too familiar with. Anyone who has experienced a loss at such an age would understand when I say, the years that soon follow on from this are the ones you wished them were around to see; the start of secondary school, prom, birthdays and just general adolescent changes. I suppose losing a parent at any age is the greatest loss one can ever experience and as I said in my Raising Teens interview, I know as life progresses, there’ll be times when my mum is the only person I wish to share these moments with. 

We’ve heard from some amazing teens on the latest series of #RaisingTeens. This is Gemma talking about her mum. You can catch up on all the episodes via https://t.co/RYvFHBTVZb pic.twitter.com/GPHFTWLTp3— Make (Good) Trouble (@makegoodnews) 8 January 2020

The labels and judgement associated with foster care and losing a parent previously led me to avoid all conversations about it completely. While socially I would laugh and joke the situation away, internally the feeling was completely different. Make (Good) Trouble has helped me to break out of that mindset, to speak more openly and expose my vulnerabilities. 

Now, seven years on from where it all started, I’ve realised that I speak about my experiences for no other satisfaction than my own. To show pride in my determination to achieve all that my heart desires in aid of my mum’s legacy, and for those that are reading this, I urge you to do the same. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, a destined outcome is there for the taking if you’re willing to work hard enough for it and neither your past nor surroundings should determine the outcome of that. 

My message here is simple; communication is key. Often talking can be the initiating factor behind that new friendship you never saw coming, the factor that resolves that argument that you no longer remember how it started. And it can be the beginning of the process that eventually heals, in some way, the wounds you’ve long tried to hide away from. 

I want to thank the Make (Good) Trouble team for providing me with the platform to open up on and for allowing me to share my experiences with a purpose to allow others to do the same. 

Listen to Raising Teens: Grief

We asked teenagers to give us their thoughts on what International Women’s Day means to them…

Men everywhere should celebrate International Women’s Day

#EachForEqual

By Sammy Zottola, 16

International Women’s Day is almost upon us, It is a day for celebration as we celebrate women across the world and their contribution to humanity, both in the past and the present. Furthermore, International Women’s Day gives us an opportunity to highlight the efforts of those that patriarchal history has chosen to gloss over, like Rosalind Franklin, or Bessie Coleman. Remembering those in the past is important: it ensures women historically receive the credit they deserve, but International Women’s Day encompasses more than just the past, it encompasses the women of the future.

I know of many young men who would snub International Women’s Day as something not based around them, and therefore not being worth their time. This selfish outlook is why we still live in a patriarchal society today. Only by working together can we achieve true equality; it takes the masses to tear down the outdated establishment. So, what are we to do? What are young men everywhere to do? Take the spotlight and talk for these women? No, now is not the time to be taking the spotlight, now is not the time to be talking for people, now is the time to support young women, the sisters, friends, classmates, colleagues, and girlfriends in our lives, in their endeavour to take the spotlight for themselves, and speak for themselves.

Men everywhere should celebrate International Women’s Day, not in spite of the fact it isn’t centred around them, but because of it. They should celebrate it as a day of equality, a day of respect, a day where women, past and present, are celebrated for their past successes, and their future successes.

I’m an aspiring voice actor; I’ve been influenced and inspired by the voices I’ve grown up hearing, in television, film, and games, such as Laura Bailey and Tara Strong. This International Women’s Day take some time to consider the women that have helped you discover your interests and have paved the way in your field.

Happy International Women’s Day.