WE RISE NEWS: Futures schools programme is “fantastic” says new Council leader

Lambeth’s new Labour Leader, Jack Hopkins, has given a huge vote of confidence in We Rise. Speaking at the Graduation event for our Futures Programme he said,

“The We Rise programme has been absolutely outstanding. It’s working with young people who sometimes live in really challenging environments, it’s opened the world for them, it’s shown them businesses, it’s given them confidence, their horizons are expanded, they’re going to go far.”

With a hint of what his new Council administration might mean he went on,

“It’s fantastic. It’s what I want to see. For me as a councillor and a Labour councillor in Lambeth, seeing their world open is everything that we’re about”

Families, friends, employers and supporters joined him to celebrate the first cohort of young people to complete a 10 month careers inspiration programme funded by Lambeth from contributions from companies developing sites across the borough.

Presenting to a packed audience at Lambeth Town Hall, young people explained the benefits:

“I’d like to thank We Rise. I’ve developed as a person. They took us on trips where we got to meet many inspirational people” Shakhan Johnson-Baiden

“The We Rise project helped me by thinking of things I could bring to a job and understanding my strengths and weaknesses” Marisha Forbes-Gayle

“We Rise helped me become more confident speaking out loud – whereas before I wouldn’t dream of it” Alexia Brum-Hamilton

“As a result of this programme I’m more open to reality and I’ve gained more confidence.” Shante McPherson

“I want to big up We Rise for helping me, my behaviour.” Kelvin Correia

Young people also demonstrated how their aspirations have risen and how keen they are to inspire others:

“I was ambitious but now I’m hungry and that’s going to drive me to greatness” Alicia Agyemang-Heron

“No matter your difference and how abnormal your talents are you can still become something big in life” Kedese Martin

“I just want to say to people my age and to my We Rise peers that if you work hard for your aspirations you will achieve it” Sarah Ahmed

Norwood and Elmgreen schools expressed their support and the positive impact on their students.

“It’s been incredibly joyous having the We Rise Team come into school over the last few months. (We) are incredibly grateful for everything that your team has done” Jessie Nicholas, Deputy Head, Norwood School

“The coaching sessions – massive impact! I’ve loved watching you guys being at the coaching sessions just thinking about what you want to be in the future.” Damien Thomas, Head of Year 10, Elmgreen School

The event was closed by Tulse Hill born spoken word poet Reuben Braithwaite who had written a special poem for the occasion:

“It takes: a village to raise a child,

one person to see a frown and reshape their smile,

its up to us to give them the tools to make us proud

We rise have engaged 166 young people,

Coming from within the bits of London

some would regard as a sinking ship

96% of them are from BME backgrounds

Our last cohort got to pick the brains

of 58 employers

If we don’t set them up for a bright future who will?

We see the potential in which the youth show

Even if they don’t see it yet

We make it our business to build their ambitions,

self awareness and resilience giving them skills to transition

into a job they deserve and then

hopefully our impact feeds and nurtures the best version of them


There was one last surprise as Shakeil Shabbir was presented with a cake to mark his 15th birthday – accompanied by a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday from the whole audience.

Our sincere thanks to all of the employers and professionals who made this first pilot programme such a success.

The next one will be even better!

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