Streets of Growth was established in 2001 on the back of five very intensive years of 24/7 frontline work mainly volunteered by our Founder Darren Way who took to the streets a concerned local neighbour disrupting and reengaging young communities caught up in a cycle of violence, criminality, gangs, trauma, and hopelessness.
However, it was following a remarkably successful International Churchill Fellowship he undertook in 2000 researching 'best practice' in the U.S.A which led to Darren teaming up with our co-founding CEO Diane Peters and embarking on creating a game changing charity in this highly complex and often controversial field of youth and community development.
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.