Ealing Street Elite graduates

Bright futures beckon for Ealing Street Elite graduates

Twenty-three unemployed young people from Ealing are celebrating their graduation from an innovative youth intervention programme, which uses the power of sport and mentoring to build self-belief and skills for work.

The graduates, all local residents aged between 18 and 25, have successfully completed the nine-month Street Elite programme run in partnership by The Change Foundation and Berkeley Foundation, with support from the London Borough of Ealing and local partners.

The award-winning initiative targets long-term unemployed young people who have stopped actively seeking work.

Over nine months, Street Elite uses sports and mentoring to enhance participants’ skills and discipline, and help them prepare for work. Uniquely, the programme is delivered by coaches who have either been through Street Elite themselves or have lived experience of the challenges facing the young people.

This year’s graduates celebrated their achievement while helping to host a major youth sports festival at The Green Quarter, Southall, on June 20th which gave close to 200 local school children the chance to enjoy football (delivered by Southall FC), yoga, street dance, smoothie bikes, American football, golf, dodgeball and padel (delivered by Game4Padel), which has a new home at The Green Quarter.

Each Street Elite graduate is now being offered work experience with homebuilding company Berkeley Group (which funds and supports the Berkeley Foundation), along with ongoing support to access education, training or work.

Yvette Santana, one of the Street Elite coaches, said: “We work with people who face real challenges in getting back into work or education. They may have caring responsibilities, struggle with mental health issues, had negative experiences at school or not have the funds to travel to job interviews. At the most extreme end, they may have been involved with criminal activity.”

Alex Feldman is Deputy Headteacher at Dairy Meadow School in Southall. His Year 4 pupils took park in the Street Elite Festival at The Green Quarter.

He said: “A huge part of primary teaching is inspiring the next generation to be fearless in their ambitions for the future. At Dairy Meadow we want all children to be able to believe they can be anything they want regardless of: colour, creed, religion or gender.

“The Street Elite festival has opened our Year 4’s eyes to sports that they may never have considered trying before. A 20-minute session of yoga may ignite a lifelong passion that can set a learner on a lifetime of discovery, meeting new people and possibly experiencing new cultures on the way.”

Sally Dickinson, Head of the Berkeley Foundation, said: “We’ve partnered with Street Elite for over a decade because it delivers long-term impact. This isn’t a two-week programme; it’s nine months of sustained, meaningful change.”

Street Elite has reached 800 individuals over the past 12 years, with an impressive 80% of participants moving on into education, employment or training.

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Featured Image Credit: Berkeley Group

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