Street League supports unemployed 16-24-year-olds to overcome their individual barriers and find the right career path for them. When we describe our programmes, we regularly talk about our 8-10 week long employability and sports programmes which include one-to-one mentoring, CV and interview workshops, goal setting, and daily sport and fitness sessions to build confidence, leadership, and teamwork.

However, what we rarely talk about are the times when our staff go above and beyond the call of duty to support the young people, and this happens on a daily basis. For the young people on the programme, our staff will do everything needed to give them the support they need. They become life-long mentors, friends and often filling the gap of role models that have been lacking so far. 

We interviewed some of the Street League staff from around the UK to ask them some examples of ways we go above and beyond in our support for young people.

Supporting young people with appropriate clothes or sportswear.

 “Last winter, a young person joined our programme and came in a few days in a row without a coat. Once we realized that he didn’t actually own a coat and couldn’t afford one, I sent a staff member to the local charity shop to buy them one as it was freezing”.  

“We offer our young people sportswear as part of the programme, but when one young man came to us recently he couldn’t fit into the largest size of our t-shirts. We didn’t want him to feel left out or feel uncomfortable, so we went and got a custom t-shirt printed for him in his size with his initials on, and he now wears it every day! I’ve also lent a participant my personal football boots when his broke so he could take part in a tournament.”

 “A young Muslim lady wasn’t able to wear our usual shorts and t-shirt sportswear set, so we went out and specifically bought her some Nike tracksuit bottoms so she could take part in the football sessions. It’s not a big deal to us, but she really appreciated it!”.

 “If ever someone comes to us without a sports bra, or without appropriate trainers, we’ll make sure to support them so they can take part and be comfortable”.

Extra special interview support.

“When we talk about interview support, that means beyond doing mock interview practice. We take them shopping to get an appropriate outfit, as quite often they don’t have a formal shirt. We teach them how to tie their tie. We drive them to and from the interviews or pay for their travel to go on public transport. We check-in afterwards to see how it’s gone.”

“We help with the extra steps required in job interviews, including things like getting a photo ID printed. We’ve even once helped someone to get their provisional driving license as it was a requirement for their chosen career path.”

Healthy Living.

“We realized quite quickly that providing a healthy breakfast to our young people was really important. Many don’t have the option of breakfast at home or think that a can of fizzy pop will suffice. When we’re asking people to concentrate and stay motivated, especially through fitness sessions, we need to support our young people in a more
holistic healthy lifestyle and educate on how to stay hydrated and good nutrition (on a budget).”

Support beyond employability.

“The young people we work with are looking for support with employability, but often come with significant barriers that also require our support to help them through. I once sat for 12 hours in a housing office with someone who came in homeless and had nowhere to go that night. When the housing office couldn’t find a quick solution, we were prepared to pay for him to stay in a travel lodge for the night, before a family member eventually came through and agreed to take him in.”

“I once sat for a day in A&E with someone who had unfortunately taken an overdose and had no-one else to stay with him”.

“If a young person needs specialist support beyond our training, then we make sure to help them find and book the relevant services they need. We’ve taken young people to counselling sessions, and helped them enrol in longer-term programmes to support various forms of abuse and overcoming addictions.”

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