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The evolution of the Community Programme, job opportunities & so much more


If you are a student, work in the university sector or are simply interested in hearing more about our work then please check out our new film which demonstrates what we do in universities in more detail…

Opportunity alert!

-          One of our supporters, Social Personnel, are having a recruitment day on 5th November in the hope of finding fresh new talent from all backgrounds. There are vacancies in resourcing, compliance and administration teams. Candidates of any age, background or experience are welcome to come in, meet with a manager and go through a short interview. Those that show ambition, drive and desire will then be second interviewed (on the spot) with the potential for a role to be offered immediately. Please call SP on 0203 8929 340 for an initial chat and to book a time slot.  

-          Another of our supporters, The Childhood Trust, has told us about an exciting opportunity to work with Prism the Gift Fund. They’re looking for a pro-active and conscientious individual with excellent numerical and organisation skills to gain valuable work experience through a 4-week internship at their offices in Marylebone. There will be scope to apply for a permanent role at the end of the internship. This role is national minimum wage compliant. For more info, please contact and she will advise you on how to apply.

-          If none of the above interests you, then why not head over to WebRecruit to check out our new vacancy to join our team? We’re looking for an Operations Manager based in London>

Flashback to the beginning

Back in the 1990’s when Youth at Risk (as we were originally known) were formed, the Community programme was ‘the bread and butter’ of the organisation. It was our USP, it’s what made us different, it gave us the ability to brand ourselves as ground-breaking, ‘the’ organisation that creates transformation and the possibility of experiencing life differently. On these foundations we have been able to gradually expand, develop and grow into the organisation we are today. We are proud to remember our roots and are often reminded by the successes and transformation individuals created for themselves in those early years. One participant agreed to share their story:

“I can’t say when exactly my Mum and Dad split up because their relationship was so on-off. Mum had moved downstairs into the dining room and put a lock on the door. She had to take a lot of painkillers which turned her into a completely different person. It was unbelievable. There were arguments in the house every day. When I tried to calm things down and said stop, stop, stop, they used to turn on me. It was traumatic.

Then my Mum and us kids left. The next few years we moved around a lot. One of my Mum’s previous partners was violent so we lived in a mixture of hostels and family members’ houses and I went to six different schools.

We ended up in a nothing town. The jobs had all gone, nothing left behind. The highest aspiration was to get a job at Tesco. There was no-one to look up to, no idea of how life could be different. Just nothing.

I was lost. I knew I was English, but I wasn’t the same kind of English. And I’m not Jamaican. So what was I? I don’t know. I wasn’t a Brummie, I wasn’t a Yam Yam and I wasn’t a London Cockney either.

Grit opened up my mind. I got it. I understood that it’s only the labels we give people and events that makes them mean things. Suddenly I saw that you have whole lot of choices, that who you are now isn’t who you have to be forever. And the life goals gave me focus and purpose. Without them I’d still be adrift.

Grit made me resilient, put me in control. It gave me boots so I could tread in the forest, rather than clearing a path. Grit set a foundation, gave me the tools to carry on and find my own way through, whatever came my way. The (adult volunteer) life coach was brilliant. Mum was always too busy, and it was the life coach who always had my back, helped me make those really important life choices.  I’m still in touch with my life coach today.

What was great was that they didn’t wrap you in cotton wool. The boundaries and the rules, the holding you to account, this is what life is like. Grit got me to step up to the plate.  No fuss, no big deal.  Just the expectation.

I remember when we were rehearsing the ballet a local newspaper said it would be impossible, that it would never happen with all these terrible kids. But on the programme, no-one even thought about it. It was difficult, but we just got on and did it. And we did it because everyone was committed, everyone believed in us.

So I set the same standard for the young people I work with now. I set strict rules and boundaries – there is no excuse for not turning up on time. If you don’t turn up for me then you’ll never turn up for anything. I create the expectation that everyone can raise their game and meet the highest standard. And, guess what? Everyone turns up on time and everyone achieves their best.

After the Grit programme I really got into drama. I went from productions at college and the local theatre to the National Theatre and Eastenders. I’ve just been elected to the Board of Equity (the actors union) and next month I’m giving evidence to an All-Party Parliamentary Group enquiry.

Not bad for a lost boy from a nothing town.”

Moving forward with the East London Community Programme

We held a community event on Saturday 31st August bringing together participants from our 4 East London workshops. The purpose of the day was for people to connect across the groups, share how they have been using insights after the workshop and discuss next steps for the East London programme.

The group were eager and excited to be back together and there were lots of conversations happening in the room; including how one person had gained a new level of confidence and applied for a new job, another had a more positive relationship with his father as well an overall feeling of being more willing to deal with challenges as they arose.

The next step involves an intensive residential workshop in December with 30 individuals who will have previously participated as a young person on one of our community or university programmes. They will have the opportunity to engage with our curriculum in a deeper, more profound way over 6 days allowing for more personal breakthroughs. The group will also work with Grit and support us in the design, development and delivery of programmes for young people and adults in East London. This is a first for Grit and we are excited about what will be produced.

If you have participated on one of our East London workshops or are a student from one of our university programmes, please email for more information about being involved.

Also, as part of the residential, we are looking for 2 people who could drive a minibus/van and help us to take things to and from the site. If you are interested or able to help in any way please contact asap.

Sharing success

Back in July we held a Black Men’s only workshop as part of the East London Community Programme. We’ve previously said how delighted we were with the success and we’re even more pleased to see others posting about their experience online:

“Very very late post but at the start of the month I had the opportunity to meet up with 18 other like-minded black men who all wanted to work together to make a difference in the lives of young people in our community! I went into the weekend worried that it wouldn't be worth my time (and being as outspoken as I am, I said so when I was asked) but I came out of the weekend with a new energy! The purpose of the programme is to empower us to fully commit to the possibility that the programme is for young people, communities and myself. And I for one have seen the immediate impact in my day to day interactions and my ability to support and encourage those around me. (I won't make this too long, but I could genuinely go on for hours about how amazing this programme is!) Thank you to the team at Grit: breakthrough programmes.” – posted in August 2019