The back story to the founding of Streets of Growth was quite simply as a response to a growing number of young adults on our council estates disengaging current youth provision and educational and economic opportunities. Instead, many were getting caught up in low level anti-social behaviour and more formalised street gang drug dealing, violence and associated criminality. Being both local neighbours and professionals in this work ourselves, we wanted to build an intervention model that challenged and removed the unhealthy sole dependence upon Police, Prisons, and Youth Clubs being the answer to tackling disengaged young communities living dangerous and life threatening lifestyles. Please note, when we say 'removing the dependence' not the need.
In 2001, following five years of intensive 24/7 late evening frontline work himself, our founder Darren Way was awarded an international research fellowship by the Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Trust travelling to the U.S.A finding and collaborating with world class practitioners, who themselves were asking similar questions and building cutting edge approaches. Returning inspired and receiving international acclaim for what we were already doing in this field, we decided to build our intervention organisation in our hometown of east London. Our core aim was to build a healthier bridge that interweaved organisation led interventions with community led interventions, with young adults at the centre of leading change in their lives, their streets, and their futures. Today, our charity has grown to become a multi award winning model of approach we now call the Appropriate Intervention Bridging Model ™.
Our journey to this point has not been easy where we have all had to make life changing sacrifices and ask ourselves some very tough questions to shift our own thinking and habitual behaviours in order to stay at the top of our game in this work. But it is our relentless dedication and organisational and community culture, that we instill within ourselves and every young adult we work with to ensure we all achieve our fullest potential in this world.
Despite our having to move from one temporary lease space to another, insufficient funding, and the continual challenge of finding, the right calibre of staff who can fully commit and be trained to demonstrate and deliver our approach, we have gone from strength to strength. Such ever-present challenges have served as undeniable evidence of our resilience, dedication, creativity, and adaptability to work in any part of the borough and beyond. To give you some idea here, in 2001 we started out with a disused shop right in the heart of a neighbourhood hot spot. We then additionally rented part of a community centre space where in 2010 we moved from both sites to take on and develop a semi derelict temporary use print factory that we converted into an 8000 sq ft intervention and young adult enterprise factory until it was demolished in 2015 to make way for luxury apartment blocks. We then moved to a disused office block on the fringes of the Canary Wharf peninsula on the Isle of Dogs where we converted two floor of derelict office space to expand the growth of our intervention work and creative enterprise with young communities. In 2019, we received the sudden news that the block was being sold off to make way for a luxury hotel, only this time we had to drastically downsize our programming as we moved into a disused detached nursery in Shadwell. Just as we were about to open the site to the young communities we serve, the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic struck where we had to close our building in line with the governments lockdown strategy, but still continued to deliver frontline services as key workers on the streets and remotely. Please note, every move up until this point involved designing and converting dilapidated spaces with no grant build funding and using 95% reclaimed, repurposed and upcycled materials. We ensured that every space we adopted and adapted involved and offered our young adult clients bespoke interventions to transform their socioeconomic situation, so they are internally and externally supported to live out of harm’s way as they learn to compete in the regeneration opportunities that previously passed them by.
In January 2020 our nursery site was needed for the use as a Covid Testing Site, whereby we moved again, only this time in partnership with an housing association adapting a community hub building into an intervention and creative industries space. This site is now earmarked for being demolished shortly to make way for the redevelopment of housing and we are already on the search for a more permanent home. (If you or anyone you may know of have a site you feel would be suitable for our much needed cause, then do please get in touch).
To date we have directly worked with over 4000 young adults who have gone on to achieve remarkable successes in their lives and who still contribute to the safety and well being of their neighbourhoods acting as positive role models for the next generation of young communities. Young adults who have gone through our model make up 30% of our staffing team keeping our charity in the hands of the young people we serve to ensure we stay true to our vision, mission and purpose as we continue to strive and ensure that no young adult is ever left behind and in harm’s way. Thank you for taking the time to read our journey.
Our Vision & Impact
Reducing harm through transforming the life trajectories
of young adult communities.
Our Purpose & Practice
We use interventions that equip and empower young adults with solutions that positively transform their lifestyle, education, career and environment.
Our Culture & Values
Our organisational culture promotes the values of Belonging, Generosity, Competence, Interdependence and Independence to create an environment that brings out the best in each other, our young adult clients and communities, and our organisational partners.
Diane specialised in youth intervention and regeneration in 2000, bringing with her extensive global research experience.
Diane grew up in Rubery, Birmingham, but moved to London aged 25 years to develop a career as a Health Researcher. She progressed as a Health Action Worker setting up Healthy Living Programmes in east London, and became the first Healthy Living Centre Manager in the UK.
Hobbies and interests include: Reading Literature, Travelling, meeting interesting dynamic people.
Lucky grew up on the very Tower Hamlets council estates she transforms today. She has gone through our development model herself, been a young adult volunteer, and is now central in the senior management team. Lucky has a profound pool of knowledge regarding neighbourhood dynamics and is extremely experienced in combining her street intervention with entrepreneurial projects.
Personal hobbies and interests include: Arts & Crafts, Designing, Learning about different cultures, Investing in community relationships
Koyes grew up in Bromley By Bow, East London and learned from a young age how best to negotiate the street politics and peer pressured environment that young people can fall into. Disillusioned with his Business Administration Apprenticeship, Streets of Growth helped him refocus.
Koyes soon joined the team and has grown to specialise in outreach, gang intervention, and project progression.
Hobbies and interests include: Cars, Keep Fit, Football, New Experiences, Tigers
Koyes - Frontline
Darren was born in east London’s Mile End, where his family has lived for generations. He left school early and went into the construction Industry as a Painter & Decorator, but later regained his passion for learning in Acting & Theatre Studies. Darren has over two decades of frontline intervention with young communities and has travelled the world sharing his knowledge and learning best practice within the industry.
Hobbies and interests include: Close-up Magic, World Travel, Applied Psychology, Writing
Darren - Founder
Majeda was raised in Tower Hamlets experiencing
some of the dynamics we face in the estates today, which
gave her the passion and drive to become an intervention
coach. She struggled through education but eventually
graduated, and came across Streets of Growth who offered
the opportunity to gain valuable insights and skills to pursue the drive she had since being a teenager.
Hobbies and interests include: Engaging in sports - especially boxing, meeting people from different walks of life and being the change in people’s lives.
Majeda - Senior
Shila - Intervention Coach
Rayhan - Intervention Coach
Abbie - Intervention
Emdadur - Intervention
Administration & Commsc
Rakesh is a Recruitment Manager at State Street. He has strong recruitment and retention experience, HR knowledge with a strong network, and influencing senior stakeholders both internally and externally.
He has a good understanding of both the graduate and experienced hire recruitment market, ability to plan and execute strategic goals on a local and international level, and strong coaching and mentoring skills.
Previous volunteering experience includes; mentoring & coaching with the University of East London supporting, arranging and facilitating events for underprivileged children via the State Street Aspire programme.
John Barber (DL)
Inspiring SofG Young Role Model
The young leader being showcased this month is Aminul was a young participant himself with Streets of Growth aged 16 years when he joined the Change Leaders programme that trains and supports young adults to develop and lead projects in their neighbourhoods.
Aminul progressed on to university and recently returned to Streets of Growth asking if we could design a volunteering position as he was studying for his third year in Criminology at the University of Westminster regarding the psychology and Crime, victims of crime and criminology research. This picture was taken following a visit to a prison with Streets of Growth and The Chris Donovan Trust where Aminul got to experience restorative justice techniques and meeting inmates serving life sentences.
Jen - previously pictured working on a 5-year plan has since moved on in life and career.
Join our Team
At Streets of Growth we attract staff who really care about challenging and developing their own strengths and weaknesses as much as they do with the young adult clients they coach, challenge and support.. This is to ensure our team really understand human transition and change and consistently offer our young adult clients the highest standard.
The key character traits we seek and who our young clients’ needs require, is someone who is an intuitive self-starter, highly driven, innovative, passionate, mentally and physically fit, can be highly competent and trusted to work alone and can openly collaborate and function within our wider team, has a positive attitude, emotionally intelligent, great communication skills, keen to learn, able to embrace and fully engage performance reviews with transparency,, doesn't take things too personally when a young client rejects their initial attempts of engaging change, and is well presented and prepared to go above and beyond and work both social and often unsociable hours. Why? Because, this area of work is extremely challenging and complex, just the the challenging and complicated lifestyles our young adult clients lead and live by. Our approach isn’t for the faint hearted, so if you think this is you, then we would like to hear from you.
In light of the current Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic, the recent job vacancies at Streets of Growth have been temporarily put on hold until further notice. .Our apologies for any inconvenience.
Do you feel inspired by what we are innovating with young adults at Streets of Growth and have skills or experience that you feel could help us? There are a variety of different ways that you can help that don’t involve working on the frontline as an Intervention Coach. For example; you may have vast experience of writing Funding Applications and Donor networking skills and networks.
With a growing number of 15-25-year olds getting stuck and being drawn or pressured in harmful lifestyles and needing our help, we rely on enthusiastic volunteers to support our core team and the programming we offer.