NFL Academy Success!
Three of our BIGKID young people have made it into the first ever NFL Academy in London! TJ Miller, Rami Miller and Walter Goncalves against all the odds beat young people, who had been playing far longer than they had, into the NFL Academy that starts this month in North London. We could not be more proud of our boys and our very own celebrity ambassador Efe Obada is personally mentoring them. We wish them every success, look out for Rami’s blog later this month about his experience on this amazing journey!
BIGKID Live Sessions
To finish our summer with a bang, we hosted our very first BIGKID Live Session which saw our young people perform with a live band. Considering our roots being from music, it was befitting and exciting to reignite our love for the arts through this medium. The night allowed young people, some who had never before performed in front of a crowd, a chance to show what they had lying dormant inside them and gave them a platform to showcase their gifts.
What was heartwarming about the night was the support their peers came to give, cheering them on and encouraging them through every performance. It was a night that showed us that you never know what gift or talent is hiding away in people. After the success of our pilot night, we are looking forward to hosting more in the near future, so stay tuned..
The summer of 2019 was spectacular, with hot temperatures to match energies and excitement. Following on from our successful summer programme of 2018, we aimed to make summer 2019 bigger and better.
Engaging 210 kids over the summer we kicked off our summer programme with our Youth club BBQ, with over 30 kids coming across to partake in food and fun it was surely the best way to start our summer programme. With football sessions running from 2-4pm and youth club from 4-7pm everyday it was the perfect way to engage our beneficiaries.
One trip that really stood out for our young people in terms of participation but also challenging them to come out of their comfort zone was our trip to Liquid Leisure Aqua Park which saw our kids adventure through a water assault course.
During the weekend of 9th August we took 9 of our kids to Woodrow for a residential trip. The weekend saw our young people challenge themselves not only physically, but mentally also. From team building activities to endurance and stamina course, we saw our kids not only being put to the test, but thriving also.
One exercise called Jacobs ladder challenged our young people to help each other climb in groups of three. One of our beneficiaries who took part expressed his fear of heights but still endured to challenge himself to climb the ladder. We couldn’t be more proud of our young for taking part and making the most out of the weekend.
Thank you London Youth for making it possible!
The splendid Kathy joined the BIGKID team in July this year. Kathy has extensive experience in grabbing life opportunities by the horns, building something from nothing and not losing her cool in high pressure situations. She’s a local mum and pretty good fundraiser too!
“I’m inspired by our young people, their incredible talents and spirits. I’m proud to be a part of something that provides them opportunities to explore and develop their potential, helping set them on a positive path in life.”
Earlier this year we bid a fond farewell to the wonderful Florence Collenette who has moved on to work at The Bush Theatre. Florence joined us as a summer intern in 2015 and carved out a job for herself that she filled when she finished university in 2016. Since then, she made herself invaluable to the team and has helped us grow leaps and bounds as a charity. Loved by our young people and her coworkers, we are sad to see Florence leave but are immensely grateful for all she did and continues to do for BIGKID. We wish her all the very best in her new adventure!
American Flag Football Pilot at Sedgehill School
Following the huge success of the American flag football sessions at Larkhall Park in partnership with the NFL and Nike, BIGKID piloted a 6 week flag football programme at Sedgehill
school in Lewisham. BIGKID coaches descended on Lewisham and ran a flag football session. Over 30 young people attended and that number grew to over 60 over 6 weeks. The NFL and NIKE provided training for our coaches and equipment needed to deliver the sessions.
The event culminated in a combine (celebration event) where young people participated in a series of fitness exercises that the pro’s have to do before they are selected for the NFL draft. 25 pupils had the opportunity to take part in Efe Obada’s camp in Brixton and 5 took part in the American Flag Football League which led them to the National finals in Sheffield where they faced teams from across the country. As a result of the pilot’s success, we are returning to Sedgehill this school year and to four other schools in Lambeth to run this programme.
Inaugural Efe Obada Camp
In July our Ambassador and big brother Efe Obada held a flag American Football camp in Brixton, with the aims to inspire and hopefully awaken a new found love for the sport. Hailing from Brixton himself, Efe desired to give back to the community he grew up in to help provide opportunities to the young people of South London. 95 young people from BIGKID took part in the day which consisted of NFL training drills. Some of our beneficiaries turned coaches had the opportunity to help coach on the day.
It showed us the power sport has to gather together communities from different areas and backgrounds to have fun and learn. It was an inspiring time. We are super proud of Efe for starting such an initiative, and we look forward to what the future holds moving forward.
BIGKID joined other members of Stockwell’s community for the annual Stockwell Festival on 7th July at Larkhall Park. BIGKID put on games including football skills, American flag football skills and football tennis for young people, children and families. There was a brilliant festival spirit and our coaches and young people turned up en masse to help coach young and old alike. We had free apples and elderflower for all participants and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know our brilliant Larkhall Community a bit better. A big thank you to Stockwell Partnership and The Friends of Larkhall Park for having us!
Aldeburgh Yacht Club raises over £10,000 for BIGKID!
Since 2015, wehave taken over 35 young people on a sailing programme at Aldeburgh Yacht Club in Suffolk, with all of them achieving their RYA Stage 1 certificates. Our links with AYC don’t stop there – on Saturday 20th July 2019, the Commodore of Aldeburgh Yacht Club, Patrick Hill, hosted a black tie dinner, raising a massive £10,386 for BIGKID!
Over 90 guests descended on the club along with 9 of the young people who had participated in past sailing projects. The evening included prosecco and canapes overlooking the river followed by a sumptuous two-course dinner prepared by the club caterers.
As the sun set turned the sky red, two of our young people spoke about their experience on previous sailing programmes and the impact it has had on their lives:
Paris, 15, said it one of the best weeks of her life while Vanessa, 16, spoke about overcoming her fear of the water to be voted best sailor of the week.
The commodore expressed his pride at hosting the BIGKID sailing week and seeing the impact that embracing new experiences had on the young people.
Our young people pulled the raffle which included bottles of champagne and luxury beauty bundles before Auctioneer Patrick Nicholls expertly auctioned off the impressive lots which ranged from a week’s holiday in Tuscany to a private beauty appointment with Vogue and Observer beauty journalist Funmi Fetto.
A HUGE thank you to the members and friends of Aldeburgh Yacht Club who attended this event, we are completed overwhelmed and grateful for your support! Your generous donations mean we can now plan for a second week of sailing, opening up this hugely valuable experience for more of our young people. We can’t wait!
We got a BuildingPeople
BIGKID is overjoyed to announce that we will be taking over the running of the Youth Club and Adventure Playground on Railton Road in Brixton known as Dexters. The site was put out to tender by Lambeth Council in January this year and out of 19 applications, BIGKID has been awarded the contract!
Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, Lambeth council’s Deputy Leader, said: “This is great news as I know how important it is for people in Brixton to have this site meeting their needs. BIGKID presented an exciting and sustainable business plan which will bring fresh life to this site and ensure that it becomes a place the local children, young people and families can be proud of. I’m really looking forward to it fully re-opening.”
It’s a great site which is well loved by the community and it has so much to offer. It’s a huge honour to have been chosen to take it on and we are truly grateful to everyone who supported our bid. Coldharbour ward, where the site sits, is one of the poorest in Lambeth with high rates of serious youth violence so we hope our services will make a difference there. We are looking forward to working with local partners, young people, and their families to deliver some excellent needs-led activities including sports, youth club and adventure play sessions.
We are working with the council to complete the paperwork and hope to start running programmes there later this year. You will all be invited down to the official launch party next Summer so make sure you come and visit us!
We are delighted to welcome Chef Michel Roux Jr, North Carolina American Footballer and Stockwell-bred Efe Obada, and Capital XTRA DJ, author and podcast presenter DJ Semtex as BIGKID ambassadors!
Chef Michel has supported our work in the past through our Cook Off event at The Treehouse in Clapham and his heart to see young people succeed really shines through.
“I am a true South Londoner, it's where I grew up and I love this area. BIGKID Foundation really stood out to me because of the amazing work they do in the area. With reports of knife crime on the rise I want young people from here to have access to positive activities where they can try something new that may lead to great things. BIGKID is providing these opportunities and I am really proud to be working with them.”
You can read more about what Michel has been doing with us here:
Efe Obada is an international NFL player for the Carolina Panthers.
In November 2018 Efe was the inspiration for an American Football Winter Training Programme we delivered with NFL UK and Nike.
Having grown up in Lambeth himself, Efe is an inspiration to our young people and a reminder to dream big.
“South London is where I grew up, I see a lot of myself in the BIGKID kids. I want them to know that coming from these inner-city blocks where you feel no one cares about you and no one is watching you, that you can actually achieve and make it. I'm really passionate about the work BIGKID does and really proud to be their ambassador.”
You can read more about what Efe has been doing with us here:
DJ Semtex is an award-winning, world-renowned DJ, broadcaster and author.
He is a champion for young people and is committed to the mission and vision of BIGKID Foundation.
“The BIGKID Foundation is a much-needed support structure of the youth. Their selfless approach to helping at risk kids with unrelenting support and guidance is invaluable and irreplaceable.”
BIGKID Summer Reception 2019
Last week BIGKID held its annual summer Reception in Larkhall Park to thank donors and supporters of the charity. It was an opportunity to watch one of our programmes and meet some of our young people, trustees and Patron, the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir Kenneth Olisa. We also were also pleased to have the Deputy Mayor of Lambeth Cllr Philip Normal in attendance.
Ryan, 16, spoke about how he came to know about the BIGKID sessions through a friend and that since coming he has been given opportunities to make new friends and stay away from a negative lifestyle.
Sir Kenneth Olisa thanked the guests and supporters stressing the importance of communities coming together to provide positive opportunities for young people.
Edson, 18 shared the impact the charity has had on his overall outlook on life over the 4 years he has been attending their sessions. He spoke of how BIGKID has helped him control his anger and equipped him with the skills to finish his education and find a job.
Thank you to everyone who attended and for supporting our young people in their journey.
Local Pub Group Raises over £25,000
The Livelyhood Pub Group who run well loved South London spots like The Clapham North, The Treehouse, The Old Frizzle, The Mere Scribbler and The Regent have been running a menu campaign that has, this year, raised over £25,000 for BIGKID! When you order certain dishes from their delicious menu, £1 is donated to BIGKID. Livelyhood have recently opened two new venues; The Faber Fox in Crystal Palace and The Perky Nel in Clapham which means wherever you are in South London you are not too far away from a fabulous meal and an amazing chance to fundraise for BIGKID. Huge thanks to the Livelyhood team, Cheers!
Running into Money
Intrepid fundraisers donned their running shoes and set themselves some serious challenges. BIGKID volunteer, Josie Hall took on the Hackney Half and in May. She finished it in 2 hours and 14 minutes and raised nearly £1,000 for BIGKID which will be matched by a generous donor! Ben Harris (who must adore running) took on a 50 mile Ultra Marathon around the Mendip Hills just below Bristol. He completed the run in 10 hours and 50 minutes finishing in 27th place! He has raised nearly £3,000 which is very generously being matched by the Leathersellers Company. Well done Ben and Josie!
Peer to Peer Mentoring
In partnership with Sedgehill School in Lewisham, BIGKID has piloted a peer to peer mentoring programme with great success. 10 young people from year 9 who participated in our Breaking Barriers Leadership Programme were trained as mentors and given the opportunity to mentor year 7s. The mentors really developed their communication skills and had a great sense of pride to have helped their younger school colleaugues. The year 7s felt it gave them more confidence and felt more supported in school. We hope that the Peer to Peer mentoring Programme will continue to run in tandem with our Breaking Barriers Programme adding depth to our impact on the individuals and creating a culture of mentoring within the school.
We are Remembering
Sue Peak who was the Founder and CEO of Springfield Community Flat a charity that empowers the local Stockwell community and gives help to those most in need. We worked closely with Sue at the Stewarts Road Adventure Playground and were devastated to hear about her unexpected death on 13th April 2019. At 76 she was a huge inspiration to us and we remember how she poured her heart into her community work.
Peter Smyth was one of BIGKID’s inaugural Ride London to Surrey 100 cyclists along with his wife Caroline. He sadly died in a car accident in February this year and leaves behind his wife and three young children. He was brother in law to our chairman of trustees and brother to one of BIGKID’s keenest supporters, our hearts go out to his whole family. We remember his love for a cycle challenge and the impactful legacy that his fundraising has left on our young people.
Sam Younger was tragically killed in a car accident in April this year at the young age of 22. Although we did not know Sam, his family had heard about BIGKID and wanted to raise funds to support us in his memory. Sam was an adventurous and generous soul who grew up in South London and loved travelling. Over 20 of Sam’s friends and family are running a half marathon in his memory later this year and have so far raised nearly £10,000 of their £20,000 target. You can help them reach their target here https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/Samsteam1. We remember Sam for his sense of fun and adventure and hope that his memory will inspire our young people to explore new territories and follow their dreams.
A Hopping Popping Easter holidays
As usual, BIGKID laid on a wealth of activities for our young people over the Easter break. We ran a turn up and play session every afternoon that engaged with over 40 young people per session. We ran 4 youth club sessions each week which attracted over 20 young people per session.
Young people participated in a table tennis tournament in East London hosted by London Youth. Over 40 young people attended the event and our young people won the girls trophy for the 3rd year in a row! We also attending a London Youth football tournament at Coram`s Fields where our team made it to the group stages before being knocked out. The event was attended by over 100 young people and we were up against teams from all across London.
We ran a sports day where young people got to compete in various challenges such as tug of war, 100m sprint and standing jump as well as many others. One of the youth club sessions was a careers day where professionals from the science, media and gaming industries game and ran workshops with the young people. It was a great opportunity for young people to explore traditional jobs such as journalist and scientist as well as emerging jobs such as gaming coder!
In May, youth workers Andre and Dellali took 6 young people to Lee Valley to experience white water rafting and hydro speeding challenging them to get out of their comfort zones and try something new. Nervous at first, the young people rose to the challenge and learnt water safety skills, how to surf against the current and massively improved their water confidence. Thank you for having us Lee Valley!
In partnership with the Rotary Club of Mayfair, BIGKID took a group of young people into central London to attend a workshop on law, business and robotics! The young people learnt about their stop and search rights and took part in role plays so that they are well prepared if they ever find themselves in such a position.
They learnt how to start their own business with little to no money and some of them took the opportunity to share their business ideas with the professionals.
Lastly, they learnt how to code a “live robot” which really grabbed their attention!
“I really enjoyed these workshops, it gave me the chance to experience these things outside of a school setting and to get to know my rights. It was very informative and empowering.”
The Rotary laid on pizzas for them and enjoyed talking to them afterwards. We are looking forward to working further with the Rotary Club of Mayfair to deliver an introduction to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects to more of our young people.
BIGKID Cook Off
“There's nothing better than a home cooked meal” they say. On 16th May we held our annual BIGKID Cook Off and gave some of our young people the chance to be professional Chefs for the night, providing a three-course meal that was nothing short of sublime. Cooking up a storm in the kitchen they were supported by Nick Carter, Executive Chef at The Treehouse and celebrity Chef Michel Roux Jr who came to give moral support to our young ones and support the fundraising event. The night was fast paced with plates of food flying to and from the kitchen, but in the midst of all the food was time to converse with one another and discuss what more we could do as a community to elevate this up coming generation. Michel Roux Jr kindly took the floor to share his story growing up in South London, from his time at the scouts to his very first time trying Kentucky Fried Chicken!
The night didn’t end with just the food, but with a warm and uplifting speech from one of our beneficiaries named Paris aged 15 who went on to say, “Over the years as I have been coming to BIGKID, I’ve actually grown to see them as my second family”.
This year has been our biggest Cook Off to date which raised nearly £3,000 and we are eager to see what surprises and achievements next year’s night will hold.
“Take advantage of every opportunity that is given to you, because you never know when you’ll get opportunities like this again”.
Space is needed for expression, and that is why we make it one of our priorities to take our young people on trips and excursions they wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to partake in. In May we took 10 of our young people to Suffolk to experience the open fields and learn a thing or two about sailing. It was a week long trip that saw our young people defy the odds and break out of their comfort zones into the open waters. From horse riding to conquering the waters of Suffolk and picnics by the river bed it was an experience that saw our beneficiaries experience another level of adventure outside of London. Vanessa, one of our beneficiaries who came said, “it was a hard experience, it taught you that you can do things by yourself if you dedicate yourself to it”.
Their achievements didn’t stop there, their commitment and hard work saw them achieve their level 1 in sailing, an achievement they have earned and should be very proud of.
Thank you to the unfailing support of Patrick Hill, Commodore of Aldeburgh Yacht Club, Lydia Freeman and Sarah Davies as well as all the club’s members and friends for donating and volunteering, making the week possible.
BIGKID Girls get VIP Treatment at Nike Town London
14 girls from our Girls Football Programme were selected by NIKE to come down on the opening day of their new women’s department in Niketown in Oxford Street. The new department features several of the technology touchpoints that – until now – have only featured in its Los Angeles, New York and Shanghai stores.
Scan the Look – where customers using the Nike app can swipe a mannequin-based QR code to trigger stockroom staff to prepare showcased items – has a prominent position on the new-look third floor, which has been redesigned to promote women’s sport and inclusivity.
Our girls got the VIP treatment and experienced it all. Courtesy of NIKE they were all styled by a professional stylist and kitted out with a customised bra, shorts, a top, a light jacket, socks and the latest Nike trainers!
“I loved the whole experience, it made me feel like I was famous!” Tatiana
“Thank you so much for this, you don’t know how much it actually means” Paris
“This was so amazing, I love NIKE!” Daniella
“I love that they have dedicated a whole floor to women, its really encouraging!” Vanessa
“I never thought I would have an experience like this” Barbara
Thank you NIKE!
You can watch the video of their excursion here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BykhpA9FK-T/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link