Tom’s Trust Project 3: Southside Young Leaders Academy

This month, we’re highlighting another project that has been supported and funded by the Tom ap Rhys Pryce Memorial Trust (Tom's Trust) with the help of Club Peloton donations since September 2018. Over the past 12 years, Club Peloton riders have raised over £360,000 for Tom's Trust, which has made an enormous difference to the various projects that do vital work in their field.


Project 3 - Southside Young Leaders Academy 


Southside Young Leaders Academy (SYLA) provides a disciplined framework to enhance self-esteem and to encourage boys to pursue their ambitions.  SYLA exists to develop leadership potential in boys aged 8 to 16 of African and Afro-Caribbean heritage and prioritizes children who live in deprived areas who are vulnerable, disadvantaged, and at risk of social and academic exclusion. SYLA provides a programme of activities on Saturdays, throughout the holidays and on some weekday evenings. Through personal development, teamwork and skills training, SYLA seeks to inspire boys to be agents of change in their own lives and to become the next generation of young black leaders, providing a positive alternative to gangs and gang-related crime.  


Pupils from schools in Lambeth and Southwark are referred to SYLA.  30 boys take part in the weekly after-school programme funded by Tom's Trust and SYLA wish to run a second such programme (there is a large waiting list).   The number benefitting from SYLA as a whole is much greater than this. There are 6 permanent staff, and SYLA welcomes volunteers to assist with various aspects of its work.


Services delivered by SYLA to boys (and their families) in Southwark and Lambeth during the 2018-19 academic year include the following:

  • 30 boys have been taking part in the weekly after-school programme covering English and Maths. This is the part of SYLA's work that Tom's Trust helps fund specifically. The programme was delivered in partnership with Tutors United and Team-Up, who were able to offer the boys increased levels of support with a 1:4 or better ratio between tutors and students.   Team-Up is a social venture charity also supported by Tom's Trust.
  • 35+ boys attended the Saturday Leadership Academy focusing on two key projects. ‘Let’s Talk About Knives’ was designed to provide an understanding of the law, develop emotional intelligence and resilience, and provide the boys with the tools to deal with conflict resolution and make positive lifestyle choices. The second project ‘Remembrance: What Black Britons did during WW1’ aimed to provide the boys with an understanding of the role black servicemen played in WW1.
  • 40 boys took part in the Active Lives! Making a difference through sports programme. The project led to SYLA becoming part of the Sports & Serious Youth Violence Steering Group set up by the London Mayor’s Office. The aim is to promote the view that an active lifestyle, which is essential to mental and emotional well-being, needs to sit alongside academic attainment and skills development if it aims to tackle the rise of serious youth violence.
  • Four of SYLA's Young Leaders have received full boarding school bursaries through SYLA's partnership with Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation, meaning SYLA will have a total of 20 boys at seven boarding schools this September. One of the Young Leaders has been made School Prefect for 2019/20. SYLA will continue to support new applicants, as well as existing boarders, to harness the transformational experience on offer from Royal Springboard.

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