Aaliyah, Co-founder of Dipped in Creativity Engagement on empowering youth through creative expression

“We’re a youth-led organisation passionate about creative expression.” ~ Aaliyah, Co-founder of D.I.C.E

Meet Aaliyah, the dynamic co-founder of youth-led social enterprise Dipped in Creativity Engagement CIC (D.I.C.E). D.I.C.E received a microgrant via Islington Giving’s Make it Happen fund for their free, creative enterprise project for young residents aged 16-25. The project aims to bring together participants at a youth club in Islington, where they will engage in a range of workshops focusing on increasing their mental health and wellbeing as well as their communication, confidence, and enterprise skills.

A passionate force for positive change in our community, Aaliyah and her twin sister Kianu set up D.I.C.E with a clear mission – to uplift and support young people’s mental health and progression by empowering them through creative expression.

D.I.C.E was initially aimed at supporting young people at risk of becoming NEET  (Not in Education, Employment, or Training), and in particular, their progression routes in life. Following the pandemic, the underlying focus is now supporting positive mental health which in turn enables people to realise their potential and improve their outcomes in life.

“The lightbulb moment came through art therapy – when I realised the power of creative expression in helping people process their feelings, emotions, and ideas.” ~ Aaliyah, Co-founder of D.I.C.E

Aaliyah’s journey has been shaped by her own experiences and challenges, having previously been identified as someone at risk of becoming NEET, as well as going through different forms of therapy.

Through a range of creative activities, skill-based workshops and social events, D.I.C.E offers a safe space for young people who experience a range of barriers to fulfil their potential and get the interim support they need.

“If I didn’t have access to my coach I wouldn’t be where I am today. My coach would say ‘keep going and keep growing’. Real talk – he was just so honest and the way he treated us was like flowers.” ~ Aaliyah, Co-founder of D.I.C.E

Having worked with young people since the age of 16 and benefiting from having a coach herself, Aaliyah understands the significance of progression routes and mentorship. At D.I.C.E, they invest in their youth team, providing essential mentorship and guidance to help each person achieve their goals.

Collaboration lies at the heart of DICE’s ethos, working hand-in-hand with local services and organisations to break down barriers and connect young people with local opportunities. D.I.C.E is more than just numbers – it’s a thriving community, driven by creativity and compassion.

“A lot of organisations are so worried about numbers. D.I.C.E is different because we collaborate with others. We’re very much inclusive, and do a lot of signposting to different programmes, courses and more. For example, we did a creative tour with Roundhouse this month with the focus of bridging that gap between young people and local opportunities.” ~ Aaliyah, Co-founder of D.I.C.E

This Community Centre Week, we celebrate Aaliyah and all the community-focused groups doing incredible work in Islington!

Featured images: Twin sisters and co-founders of DICE, Aaliyah and Kiana