Responding to the needs of children and young people by funding grassroots youth clubs

Many of the youth clubs within John Lyon’s Charity’s Beneficial Area were founded in response to local need. In 2000 the Institute of Education at London University released research showing that just 3.1% of Somali pupils were achieving A*-C grades at GCSE, compared with 47.7% of Camden students more widely. The Somali Youth Development Resource Centre (SYDRC) was founded in response to this severe attainment gap, which it addresses through a combination of weekend supplementary classes, school mentoring, whole-family support and the hard work of its pupils. SYDRC is run by and for its young members, who sit at the forefront of its decision-making bodies, including its Youth Advisory and Management Committees.

SYDRC’s successes have seen its base, the N1C Centre, become one of the only Somali-led youth centres in the country. It supports to young people aged 11 to 25 from BAME and Somali backgrounds, offering a dynamic programme of recreational and educational activities, including sports, awareness workshops, employment and peer support, advice drop-ins and a youth advisory forum. SYDRC first became known to the Charity in 2008 through the funding of its young women’s youth club. The Charity has since also funded a Youth Coordinator and SYDRC’s successful ‘Aiming Higher’ leadership programme. This comprehensive programme engaged 60 young people per year in community volunteering, peer support, team building and guest-speaker sessions, encouraging them to stay in education and explore opportunities in underrepresented areas of employment. To date, the Charity has awarded £274,350 to support SYDRC’s work.

The impact the funding has on our service users has been huge. It has made a real difference to the attitudes, conduct, confidence and general outlook of many young people we work with, aspiring each to reach their full potential.

– Abdiwahab Ali, Acting Director of SYDRC and the N1C Centre