Getting it Wright, Wright, Wright with Street Elite

Over the summer participants enrolled on Street Elite (SE), a powerful youth social engagement programme, delivered a number of multi-sport community festivals across London with hundreds of children from local schools attending the events at The Westway, Hackney, Burgess Park in Southwark, Ealing and Wandsworth.

Ian Wright, the legendary former England, Arsenal and Crystal Palace player, who attended the Westway SE Festival, said: “Initiatives like this turn young people’s lives around. I was lucky enough to be mentored when I was in my teens and it made a huge difference to me. It was the start of my football career.”

Street Elite uses sport and mentoring to work intensively with young people living on the edge of gangs and crime in some of London’s toughest neighbourhoods,

So far, 79% of participants have moved successfully into work or education at a cost of just over £3,000 a person. For comparison, a place in a Young Offender Institution costs an average of £65,000 per annum.

The programme is delivered by the Change Foundation, with support and funding from the Berkeley Foundation. Berkeley, one of Britain’s biggest housebuilders, offers a 2 week placement to every young person who completes the programme, with the offer of full time employment if they impress.

Charlie Grace is going through Street Elite this year. Reflecting on his experience, he said: “Since I came out of prison my life had been standing still. I had no money and had been moved around in sheltered accommodation. Street Elite was the start of sorting my life out. I’ll be starting work experience in construction with the Berkeley Group in a few weeks. That’s amazing!”  

For more on Street Elite, please visit www.street-elite.org

Hayley Bray Photography