Thursday lunchtime Caroline and I were joined by LandAid Chairman Robin Broadhurst and Trustee Suzanne Avery at Circle Sports, Hackney.
With all the buzz around vibrant creative businesses and pop-up food experiences in Hackney, it can be easy to forget that it still remains one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK and its young people can have a hard time getting into employment.
Visiting the Circle Sports workshop venue, we were greeted by palpable energy and enthusiasm of the young people currently on their 10 week intensive employability programme: a blend of coaching, retail/facilities management accreditation, work experience and practical CV writing.
Listening to the charismatic founder and chief executive Turly Humphreys with two of the charity’s trustees, the power of the programme is evident by the sheer number of success stories, none more engaging than that of a young care leaver who recently won the Land Securities employability award.
Transferring up the road to the Circle Sport’s Hackney shop, it was striking how different to the traditional charity shop model the smart retail space is with its top quality sports brands. Wide smiles received us from the volunteer and shop manager as they showed us around the social enterprise in which young people on the course volunteer in for retail and customer service experience.
The visit concluded with a peak at the latest marketing campaign where six job-seeking young people are being displayed on posters at bus shelters down to the city appealing to employers with a link to their CVs. None of us were left with a doubt that this innovative and impressive charity will go from strength to strength.