HRH the Duke of Sussex met the Thrive Teams, a charity working in Barton, the Leys and South Abingdon, at Barton Neighbourhood Centre as the final part of his visit to Oxford last week. Young people from the initiative took part in a building bridges game to demonstrate some of the work they do to create ‘the next generation of role models’.
Jon Pape, Trusts Relations Manager at Thrive Teams said: ‘‘His visit shone a spotlight on the potential of young people living in hard-to-reach places, and on the work of our youth teams, who live in the community, daily investing in these young lives. It is our hope that the impact of this visit will be long lasting in the lives of the young people.’’
Thrive’s youth workers live and work within Oxford’s estates of Barton and Blackbird Leys. Despite being on the outskirts of one of the most wealthy and prestigious cities in the UK, these estates are some of the most deprived in Europe. Whilst a quarter of Oxford’s children attend private school, another quarter are living in poverty. A boy born in the Barton estate can expect to live eight years less than if he was born on the other side of the ring road in Headington; whole communities in Oxford see one in three adults with no qualifications and up to 75% of young people leaving school without English and Maths GCSEs. Thrive’s work hits at the heart of many of the issues highlighted in OCF’s Oxfordshire Uncovered report.
Thrive’s mentoring programmes, which have received funding from OCF, focus on the potential of young people living in these areas. Thrive’s teams become role models for young people who may not have known any other adults in employment, encouraging them to take leadership roles amongst their peers and learn to be responsible and engaged. HRH the Duke of Sussex spoke highly of the positive impact that community centres can have and that Barton Neighbourhood Centre was leading the way in helping to develop communities.