Future Communities Collective

We believe co-operation is at the heart of strong communities and this makes us a different kind of funder. We work closely with communities, we listen and we learn. That’s why we asked young people to shape our vision for fairer, more co-operative communities. They’re the next generation of leaders and pioneers.

Our Future Communities Collective, facilitated by HUDL Youth Development Agency, is one way we’re working with and helping to develop young leaders.

These young people will:

  • lead on allocating funding through our Future Communities Fund.
  • help us to to develop work towards our priorities laid out within our new strategy
  • challenge us, providing and embedding a youth perspective into how we work.
  • feed into fund priorities and communications

Meet the collective

Louis Groarke, he/him

Louis is an experienced young CEO and youth advisor, he has been involved in local and national youth advisory and youth action work since the age of 13.

He is currently studying Law at the University of Buckingham and is hoping to pursue a career in corporate law and possibly legal research. When he was 16 Louis was also appointed as the Vice Chair of the Climate Emergency Commission for Warrington Borough Council. Louis also has experience of working nationally with the Bank of England on their youth forum and the Co-op Foundation as a member of a Youth Advisory Group prior to Future Communities Collective. Locally, Louis has worked in partnership with his local authority and a range of local services too.

In his own words:

I am passionate about equal opportunities and youth voice. I believe that it is incredibly important to understand another’s opinion regardless of whether it is mutual. By doing this cohesion is greater.

Yasmin Hewitt, she/her

Yasmin is enrolled in an Undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds studying for a BA History and works full time in the marketing department at Co-op. She has been enrolled in youth action since the age of 15, representing the UK in the 2015 WSJ in Japan – an event that aims to bring 80,000 global activists together cultivating a spirit of unity and working together to discuss world issues. She also sat on her community council as a Youth Representative as well as the board for the community institute. In 2022 she sat on the Co-op Young Members Group and has championed the voices of young people in discussions across the business, with a particular focus on charity partnerships.

In her own words:

I am passionate about elevating the voices of young people to make positive change in their communities, build their skills and equip them with the tools to have autonomy over their futures.

Zakaria Mohamood, he/him

Zakaria Mohamood is a first year student studying Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Cardiff University, aspiring to become an Electrical Engineer. He has participated in the Young Professionals work experience working alongside global companies including Vodafone, HSBC, Capgemini, and many others. This exposed him to new and innovative technologies such as AI and robotics. Zakaria has also benefited from workshops run by Babbasa to develop presentation and communication skills to enable him to work to tackle issues that young people like himself face.

In his own words:

I am passionate about getting more involved in aiding disadvantaged young people from backgrounds like mine and to also have an impact.

Saffai Powell, she/her

Saffai is currently on a Gap year. She has participated in STEM based programmes as well as cyber security where she hopes to study this similar field of interest in the near future. This will enable her to use these transferable skills to solve cases that matter today for instance, security within commercial businesses and how data should be protected within certain environments. She describes herself as organised, open minded and tenacious. She has participated in previous work experience at a sustainable engineering company from a young age and has worked within the pharmaceutical industry.

In her own words:

I am passionate about gaining opportunities that are out there whether that is through education or attending events/campaigns to help increase my knowledge but also enhance my social interaction through networking and meeting new people. What gives me rage is lack of critical thinking, lack of understanding and accountability for one’s actions.

Keshon Smith, he/him

Keshon is a National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP) qualified paralegal, reading Law at SOAS University of London, aspiring towards a career at the English Bar.

He volunteers with criminal legal aid firms in his local area, providing administrative support to otherwise overburdened legal aid practitioners. Keshon is due to begin training as a Police Station Representative to further develop his professional profile.

Keshon has assisted on two previous funds: the Youth Opportunity Fund for the Wandsworth Council and the We Move Fund alongside Hudl for BBC Children in Need.

In his own words:

My dream is to be recognised a leading voice in conversations about crime and immigration. I believe the two most put-upon classes in the UK are migrants and offenders. I hope to, one day, be a voice of reason in such fraught discussions.


Get in touch to find out more about how we’re sharing power with young people with by emailing Louise, Head of Funding and Partnerships.