"I started off as young person in the London Tigers youth club. Through its programmes I improved my social skills, confidence and developed a more positive outlook about my future. At a time when I had nowhere to go in terms of education and couldn't find any jobs, London Tigers supported me and helped me secure a 6-months apprenticeship as a youth worker."
Dean Gerald - Aged 19
London Tigers recognises that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, but we also recognise that the needs and views of children and young people are the least likely to be heard. Creating opportunities is therefore one of our foremost priorities, whether they be opportunities for employment, education, training or simply the opportunity to be heard.
Unfortunately, in the majority of the areas in which we work, educational attainment and employment among young people are disproportionately lower than in surrounding areas, and youth crime is disproportionately high. Our young people therefore face a number of barriers to inclusion and it is easy for them to become disillusioned and disaffected.
Our work with children and young people begin in schools, for example, we have delivered a Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Families Involvement Project (funded through Westminster Children’s Fund) that aimed to increase the involvement of parents of children with challenging behaviour in their children’s lives. We also ran a number of other activities aimed at strengthening the family unit, such as Dads & Kids swimming sessions.
London Tigers has run youth clubs in the London Boroughs of Newham, Redbridge and Westminster, with a new youth club recently opened in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The majority of our youth clubs are in the City of Westminster and we work closely with key local partners such as the local authority, housing associations and the Met Police; our youth clubs accept referrals from local Youth Offending Teams (YOT referrals) and other stakeholders.
Our other partners with whom we have worked include The Princes Trust, London Youth and the Jack Petchey Foundation. London Tigers currently runs two Jack Petchey Award schemes, one in East London and one in West London, which recognise eighteen award winners annually.
Youth leadership and civic engagement are two areas of great success for London Tigers and our beneficiaries. We provide the platform for our young people to engage in local democracy and decision making. In 2009 our candidate for the Westminster Youth Parliament broke all records and won a landslide victory; this was only possible due to the dedication and enthusiasm shown by our beneficiaries as they campaigned for their candidate and brought in the voters. We have also taken young people abroad in order to experience alternative political systems and see how they correspond/differ to UK political systems.
The energy and enthusiasm of our young members is infectious and we hope to ride their coattails to new levels of success.