About Us

Established in 2001

Established in 2001 as a Registered Charity, Covent Garden Dragon Hall Trust (CGDHT) runs community/ youth centres in Camden & Islington (plus pan-London outreach work) that support the most socially excluded young people, who are systematically and systemically denied the same opportunities as their peers.

Open-access Youth Work

SoapBox Youth Centre is run by CGDHT on behalf of Islington Council. SoapBox delivers open-access Youth Work to socially excluded young people aged 10 to 25 years old in Islington, with a particular focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Maths). In February 2020, CGDHT was successful in the competitive tender to continue running SoapBox. As a result, we are now contracted to manage the centre until 2035.

SoapBox’s Unique Selling Point has three interconnected elements:

  • The range of socially excluded groups that we work with, including young people who are disabled, autistic, from racialised communities, excluded from school, receiving Free School Meals/ Pupil Premium, experiencing poverty, and young women;
  • STEAM is embedded in the fabric of who and what we are, including: music production, podcasting, digital content creation, coding, virtual reality, 3D Printing, environmental education, industry bootcamps, mentoring and social action. This is delivered through a dedicated takeover day for young women (No Ceilings), drop-ins, workshops, peer education, accredited courses and a specific day of online provision;
  • Our commitment to humanistic youth work norms, values and practices, where every young person has the right to be included, have a voice and shape the services they access.

Inspiring Pioneer Award

Our online response to the pandemic was selected by UK Youth as one of 5 finalists for their 2021 ‘Inspiring Pioneer Award’ in recognition of our “impactful and forward-thinking work that harnessed new approaches, technology and collaboration to positively impact young people”, whilst The Guardian (2021) wrote an article which defined our work as “21st Century Youth Work”.

We co-produce our work with young people, who are central in shaping, directing and delivering our services. Examples of this include:

A young person from SoapBox received the Ben Kinsella Award (2021) in celebration of his positive actions as a young role model in leading the ‘Stress on the Brain’ project. Stress on the Brain was an audio-visual and mental health project with 9 students from Islington’s Pupil Referral Unit who produced a music track and accompanying video. This video was released on June 22nd 2020 and to date has received 31,299 views on YouTube.

Islington’s Young Volunteer of the Year 2021

A young volunteer from SoapBox won ‘Islington’s Young Volunteer of the Year 2021’ for providing 100+ young musicians with online performance opportunities.

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Islington’s Young Volunteer of the Year 2022

In October 2022, another young volunteer from SoapBox won ‘Islington’s Young Volunteer of the Year 2022’, in particular for his work as a learning-disabled young man leading on a music production course for autistic young people.

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