We love a reason to celebrate at The Change Foundation. So when our Street Elite programme turned 10-years old this month, we knew we had to bring the Street Elite community together to pay tribute to its decade of life changing work.
Together with the Berkeley Foundation and Berkeley Group we hosted our Street Elite gala in central London. The Berkeley Foundation have been dedicated partners of the programme since it was established in 2011. Their support has allowed the programme to be what it is today. Additionally, their provision of countless work experience opportunities has supported young people from across London and Birmingham into full time employment.
Sally Dickinson is the Head of Berkeley Foundation. She shared: “It was wonderful to see so many young people from the charity here tonight. I was incredibly moved by all of the stories I heard.”
Part of the evening entertainment was a showing of a short film that shares some of the experiences of graduates from the programme. The film was made in partnership with our Creative Partners Our Secret Lab. Make sure you have a watch of it here.
Since establishing the Street Elite programme, we have supported over 700 young people into life changing mentorship, education and employment opportunities. Having established our Birmingham Street Elite programme three years ago, this number has continued to grow.
It was an honour to have Birmingham participants join us at the Street Elite gala. They were joined by their coach mentor and head of Birmingham Street Elite operations Tanayah Sam. Tanayah gave an inspirational speech to all in attendance, sharing his own journey into youth development work, and the challenges that young people from the Birmingham programme have faced. Tanayah shared: “We need to make young people feel accepted by creating more community spaces and facilities that make them feel safe and welcomed.”
He added: “I hope we continue to engage and open the door for more young people through the Street Elite programme.”
In addition to Tanayah’s moving speech, a guest panel of speakers also took to the stage to represent the influential network that exists within Street Elite’s community. Speakers represented the incredible network of mentors, partners, graduates and Coach Mentors that exist today.
One of the speakers was Victoria Frank; Social Media and Communications Manager at Freestar. Freestar joined us as Street Elite partners during the pandemic. Victoria shared: “Street Elite is such an incredible programme and it’s such an honor to welcome young people from the programme on to our Freestar Mentorship programme.”
Last year Freestar recruited three young people from Street Elite on to their mentorship programme. Together Onyeka, Zakirah and Nathaniel have been able to turn their business concepts into a reality. Zakirah has even developed her culinary concept called ‘Zak’s Fusion Kitchen’ into a full time Halal-Sushi business which she runs through the popular takeaway service ‘Just Eat’.
Looking around the room at the gala, it was incredibly moving to see so many young people and their families celebrating alongside our dedicated partners, Ambassadors and Coach Mentors. Everyone in the room had their own Street Elite experience to share, and throughout the evening stories, smiles and words of commemoration were exchanged. We greatly look forward to seeing the Street Elite programme develop and improve even further over the next decade.
Sophie Harrison is the Head of Communications at Berkeley and an Ambassador for The Change Foundation. She shared: “Street Elite is changing so many lives for the better. The programme is helping to transform lives and communities and it’s amazing to be a part of it.”
We couldn’t have summarised the past 10-years any better ourselves!