Street League’s belief is that, coupled with support, hard work and determination, sport has the power to bring positivity into an individual’s life and help them improve, both mentally and physically.

Our Academy programme, which uses football or dance fitness, helps get young people between the ages of 16-24 moving into work, education or training and is an incredibly powerful tool for change.

With barriers to employment getting in the way, we support our young people with employability skills, supported by our partners, work placements, again backed by our partners, and the opportunity to play football or get fit through dance.

We believe sport is a powerful tool in changing a young person’s life as it can inspire, instil belief and help to enable change in a person’s life.

With the Rio 2016 Olympics underway, here’s some special athletes who inspire us at Street League after overcoming barriers in their lives.

Chris Mears – Team GB

Chris Mears, a diver in Team GB, has had a remarkable seven years or so.

In 2009 he contracted the life-threatening Epstein Barr virus and was given just a 5% chance of survival. He suffered a ruptured spleen and collapsed, losing five pints of blood as a result and was in hospital for a month, and had to have his spleen removed.

Thankfully Chris battled on, never gave up and returned to finish fourth in the synchro at the Commonwealth Games. He’s gone from strength to strength ever since.

We salute you, Chris!

Anthony Joshua – Team GB (2012)

Anthony Joshua, who’s the current IBF heavyweight champion of the world after making the step up from amateur boxing to the professional ring, won a gold medal in the super-heavyweight division at the London 2012 Olympics. Of course that’s inspiring in itself, but the journey Joshua’s been on is even more so.

The Watford born big hitter nearly went to prison in 2011 after being arrested for possessing cannabis with the intent to supply, but the judge gave him a second chance, which he repaid a year later by delivering gold for Team GB, proving that anyone can rise again if they’re given the chance to.

Tom Daley – Team GB

After winning an Olympic bronze medal for Team GB at the London games in 2012, diver Daley went on to further inspire the nation once again with a truly inspirational and brave admission – that he was gay.

Alongside his coming out video on YouTube, Daley was also contending with the fairly recent loss of his father and accusations that he wasn’t interested in adding to his Olympic bronze in 2012 as he was pursuing a career in television.

Despite his critics and overcoming various barriers, Daley is still on an upward spiral. The Plymouth born athlete is still going strong in Rio as he looks to build on his bronze medal from 2012. Good on you, Tom!

Nicola Adams – Team GB

Boxer Nicola Adams, who’s visited us before at Street League, is most famous for winning gold in the flyweight division at London 2012, becoming the first woman to win an Olympic boxing title in the process.

Alongside her professional achievements, Adams has also accomplished a vast amount in her personal life after revealing she was bisexual. Adams is now an influential figure in the LGBT community as a result.

Brought up on a council estate in Burmantofts, Leeds, she was surrounded by youngsters nicking cars and getting up to no good, but she steered clear of that after being taken to her local boxing gym by her mother. The rest, as they say, is history.

Andy Murray – Team GB

Andy Murray, the reigning Olympic tennis champion, is a household name due to his incredible achievements over the years.

The Scot has not only had to work incredibly hard to get to his current ranking of number 2 in the world, but he’s also had to contend with a number of personal obstacles along the way.

Murray was born with a bipartite patella, where the kneecap remains as two separate bones instead of fusing together in early childhood. He’s occasionally seen holding his knee due to the pain caused from the condition and has pulled out of events because of it.

The Wimbledon champion, who grew up in Dunblane, attended the local primary school and was present, alongside his tennis-playing brother Jamie, when the massacre took place in 1996, where Thomas Hamilton killed 16 children and a teacher before shooting himself.

Despite all of this, Andy Murray is still at the very top of his game.

Jessica Ennis-Hill – Team GB

Jessica Ennis-Hill is arguably the most well known female athlete in Team GB after being “the face of London 2012” and overcoming huge levels of pressure to win gold in the capital. She hasn’t had a completely smooth ride along the way though.

After revealing the news that she was pregnant in January 2014, Ennis-Hill took time away from the sport, with the aim of coming back in time for the Rio Olympics, despite even her coach questioning whether she’d make a comeback to elite athletics.

As promised, the heptathlete made a comeback and defied the odds to win second world championships gold medal in Beijing - barely a year after giving birth.

Jack Green – Team GB

Jack Green, the UK’s number 1 hurdler, has struggled through some dark times since London 2012 after a frustrating exit from his 400m hurdles semi-final.

Green’s battle with depression has been well documented as he’s spoken out about it a number of times, even saying that he considered retirement from the sport.

After seeking help and being prescribed anti-depressants, Green wasn’t able to compete as “you can’t run on them”, he said.

Time away from the sport to focus on his wellbeing and make a comeback was his priority and, with the support his psychologist, the current team GB hurdler did what he does best – overcame a hurdle. Literally.

Jason Kenny – Team GB

After winning two gold medals at London 2012, Jason Kenny, the British track cyclist, suffered post-Olympic blues and started to feel depressed and lacked motivation.

Speaking to the telegraph in 2012 Kenny revealed the struggles he had to overcome after the high of Team GB’s superb performance at the home Olympics in London.

He said: “Initially I had no morale, no motivation, I just couldn’t face training basically. I went to the tracks and did two laps and just got off and went home. Everything just seemed to be going wrong at just one point in my life. I was just generally depressed at the time. I’d gone from having a month of just doing what I want and having a good laugh to being locked away in my flat and just bored basically and then going to training.”

Thankfully, Jason Kenny is now back on the track and has firmly established himself as one of track cycling’s top performers.

Laura Trott – Team GB

Laura Trott is one of British track cycling’s biggest stars after making a name for herself in 2012 when London hosted the games, with the Hertfordshire born pocket rocket winning two gold medals.

During her formative years, Trott had to overcome a number of health issues along the way to achieving her success. Asthma, an undiagnosed condition which caused her to pass out and an acid reflux problem which meant she’d throw up after training meant her journey to the top was far from smooth.

Thankfully, the 24 year-old managed to overcome her health issues and progress at a rapid rate.

Amy Tinkler – Team GB

Amy Tinkler, part of Team GB’s gymnastics team, was inspired by what she saw during the London 2012 games that she upped her game and aimed for Rio 2016.

Just 16, Tinkler will be returning home after the Olympics to discover her GCSE results.

Juggling both Olympic training and GCSE revision, Tinkler’s schedule is busier than most people of her age, but she manages. Her school, South Durham High, gave her permission to sit her GCSEs over three years and Tinkler missed the European Championships this year to sit her maths and English exams. Now that's dedication!