Young athletes mentoring and education hub

Article 25 is working with the UK based Track Academy to create a community focused centre, which will deliver a comprehensive program of education and mentoring, in one of London’s most deprived communities.Our project partner, Track Academy, works with children from disadvantaged backgrounds, providing sports activities, mentoring and study support. As part of their work they run athletics training squads, ensuring that as well as athletic coaching children are provided with support to access education and employment.

Over the last three years the Track Academy Education and Mentoring programme has worked to ensure that 100% of their athletics senior squad is in education or employment. They are now requesting Article 25 to take their vision further, helping to deliver a centre in Brent with the necessary infrastructure for their non-athletic programmes, which will encourage and support young people to stay in education and gain fulfilling full-time employment.

The borough of Brent, where this project is located, is within the top 15% of most deprived local authorities in the UK.¹ Growing up in such a deprived area, with a lack of educational support services, training and employment opportunities, has a significant impact on the lives of children from Brent. Many also face financially and emotionally challenging home circumstances, with a lack of positive role models and influences. In addition, 58% of the population of Brent are from Black, Asian and Ethnic communities², who can face additional barriers to education and employment, including  social exclusion and alienation from their own families and communities due to their attitudes and behavioural needs.

This combination of a lack of good educational facilities and support, and relative deprivation, allows gang culture to thrive. This creates a very constrained choice for young people with a perception that street and gang culture is the only viable future for them.

Our project will provide the children and young people of Brent with a hub for training, mentoring and educational support – allowing them to look beyond the limited prospects they often imagine for themselves.

Article 25 will engage and fully involve members of Track Academy, as well as others in the community, in a youth led design process. By making beneficiary input central to our design process, we will better understand the needs and wants of the young people who will ultimately use the hub. This process will also develop their confidence and sense of self-worth, recognising the value of their input and improving their ability to work as a team in delivering projects.

The resulting design will mostly likely include a number of designated areas for educational, mentoring and training activities, such as:

  • A flexible, large multi-purpose space for group activities, including workshops and training for up to 30 people.
  • Small support rooms for one-on-one tuition and mentoring, which may involve the sharing sensitive or emotional information.
  • Communal social areas, where young-people will have access to the internet,  space to work and study and to socialise in a safe environment.
  • Sports treatment areas, where members of Track Academy will receive physiotherapy, weight training, performance analysis.

We will work with Track Academy to develop accredited courses, such as higher education mentoring qualifications, which will be available to the general public. They will also help to develop a series of debating sessions in the completed hub, which will be designed to raise the confidence, self esteem and aspirations of young people to enter higher education. Due to a lack of role-models within deprived communities, the involvement of this renowned educational leader will have a positive influence on the aspirations of all those using the hub.

¹ UK Government, English Indices of Deprivation, 2010
² Brent council publication, Population, 2011