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Our Story

Streets of Growth was established in 2001 on the back of many years of intensive and often 24/7 frontline work mainly volunteered by our Founder Darren Way reengaging young communities caught up in a cycle of violence, criminality, gangs, trauma, and hopelessness.


However, it was following an International Churchill Fellowship he undertook in 2000 researching in the U.S.A which led to teaming up with our CEO Diane Peters and embarking on creating a game changing charity.

Image by Stefano Pollio

Many of our staff either grew up or moved into the borough council estates our approach transforms today. We have co-founding staff who were once young clients who are now working in senior management roles. This work isn't just a job to us, we live and breathe this specialised practice and what it really requires, which is why being 'authentic' means so much to us. Central to our uniqueness is that our approach demonstrates a healthier balance between organisation-led and community-led intervention and prevention for ensuring our practices are maintained and sustained by the young people and communities we serve and equip.   We have just reached our remarkable 21st year milestone. It has been an extraordinary journey of bold determination and resilience starting out in a dilapidated shopfront in a crime hotspot and having to move from one short lease space to the next as each was demolished as part of regeneration. Unperturbed, every move involved designing and converting dilapidated spaces with no grant build funding and using 95% reclaimed, repurposed, upcycled materials and volunteering. And yet, despite the physical move disruption caused, we have maintained and sustained our practices and impacts working with over 4000 young adults to date tackling poverty, inequality, discrimination and gentrification to ensure marginalised young adults have authentic social and economic opportunities in the regeneration of their neighbourhoods and beyond. Today, we have partnered with Unite Students and secured a new and extraordinary glass sided incubator space that houses intervention and enterprise zones and a purpose bult performance epicentre. 

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Outreach & Street Intervention Programme

Our Outreach and Street Intervention programme is an essential component that runs through everything we do

at Streets of Growth. It is not a 'detached’ part of our work. It is central! We strategically target and go to the very point of our young adult clients' need and context, which can occur before, during and long after any engagement they may have in our building or our wider programming. 

This highly complex and often controversial element of our programming is not easy, very time absorbing, and extremely challenging. When first trying to build connection and trust with harder to engage young adults in the neighbourhoods, our frontline team often face reluctance, suspicion and resistance. This is the hard reality of this work and where Streets of Growth implement our Starting with NO! Framework. 

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Image by Richard Bell

Case Study

45% Reduction in Anti-social Behaviour

“Over the past three years an innovative partnership between Streets of Growth Outreach & Street Intervention Team, Police ASB Team, Tower Hamlets Homes ASB Team, and key neighbours created a joined-up approach. Strategically working together, we developed an effective ‘positive requirement’ pathway for identified young adults, which involved prevention and intervention, alongside law enforced Containment when it was required to break the cycle of harm, violence, criminality and poverty. Evidenced impacts from this coalition marked a 45% reduction in Anti-social behaviour across the estates it was delivered.

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