A brief history of MYH
In August 2001, after six months of research and planning, 18 year old Mohammed Sadiq Mamdani with the help of his friends Haidar Abdali and Yasser Madani launched the Muslim Youth Helpline (MYH) from his bedroom. Within weeks, news of the service spread with Mohammed taking an increasing number of calls from young people in need.
Following a year - long pilot from September 2001 the official service was launched in December 2002 with 14 Helpline workers. The service was open for just fifteen hours, two days a week at MYH’s first office in Wembley Park.
In September 2003, MYH employed its first paid member of staff. In October 2003 the Helpline launched a national free phone number. The service was quickly inundated with enquiries, taking is 1,000th call in October.
In April 2004, MYH appointed Shareefa Choudhury as its first CEO and the Helpline extended its opening hours to seven days a week. In October 2004, MYH launched www.muslimyouth.net as Britain’s first online peer support site for Muslim youth. The site was designed to be a safe space for young Muslims to discuss, debate and take part in campaignson the issues that affect their lives. In December 2004 muslimyouth.net was awarded the Purple Youth Silver Award for Best Support Site for young people.
In 2004, the Prison Campaign was launched as the inaugural campaign for muslimyouth.net and was called ‘Behind Bars’. The campaign sent 1,053 gift packs to Muslims prisoners during Ramadan containing messages of support from the Muslim community. The campaign was a huge success with many prisoners writing to MYH for support. Since then the Prison Campaign has been run annually to reach out to Muslim prisoners every year.
From 2007 - 2009, Mohammed Imran served as the second CEO of MYH. In 2007 MYH launched its joint report with the National Youth Agency (NYA) on the need for faith and culturally sensitive support services. June 2008, MYH launched a three part documentary, Reelhood at the House of Commons. The documentary was created, edited, produced and directed by a group of young Muslims looking at barriers to political engagement.
From 2009 – 2012, Akeela Ahmed served as the third CEO of MYH. During this time MYH recruited six part time paid staff to oversee the Helpline for the first time, improving the quality of service provision to clients. The core team grew to include two fundraising staff and a research officer. MYH began to diversify its funding base, with a 50% increase in income from community fundraising and reducing its reliance on grants. MYH produced two in depth research reports based on MYH data to inform policy-making and service provision to young Muslims, including on Youth British Muslims and Relationships in 2010 and British Muslim Ex-Offenders and Resettlement Needs in 2011. The launch of the marketing department led to a significant increase in call numbers.
In 2012, the Aspire Higher Campaign was launched to give budding young entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn basics of launching and running their own business. A talented group of young people pitched their innovative business ideas to a panel of investors and one lucky winner won a £5,000 investment into her business.
In 2014, MYH launched ‘British by Dissent’ a research report exploring how young British Muslims respond to social, economic, religious and public policy debates through various manifestations of dissent.
- •MYH first Constituted.
- •First Client enquiry received - year long pilot commences.
- •Recruitment of first Helpline volunteers.
- •Launch of the official service at the first offices in Wembley Park.
- •Recruitment of 14 Helpline workers.
- •Helpline open for 15 hours, two days a week.
- •Extension of Helpline hours to 24 hours a week, five days a week.
- •MYH employs its first paid member of staff.
- •Launch of national free phone number.
- •MYH receives 1,000th client call.
- •Recruitment of second paid member of staff.
- •Shareefa Choudhury appointed as first CEO.
- •Helpline opening hours extended to 30 hours over seven days a week.
- •Move to larger offices on Finchley Road.
- •Helpline opening hours extended to 42 hours over seven days.
- •Launch of www.muslimyouth.net Britain's first online peer support site for Muslim youth.
- •Launch of Prison Campaign.
- •Helpline opening hours extended to 54 hours over seven days a week.
- •MYH receives 5,000th client call.
- •Publication of 'Youth Matters' report on MYH data, in partnership with National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS), commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills.
- •MYH receives 10,000th client call.
- •Move to offices in Rosemont Road.
- •Mohammed Imran appointed CEO.
- •Publication of report on Providing Faith and Culturally Sensitive support to young British Muslims, jointly with National Youth Agency (NYA).
- •Akeela Ahmed appointed CEO.
- •Publication of report on Youth British Muslims and Relationships.
- •Publication of report on British Muslim Ex-Offenders and Resettlement needs.
- •Publication of 'British by Dissent'.