Knights Youth Centre has received funding and support from McDonalds – in partnership with BBC Children in Need – to continue its much-needed work with young people from across Lambeth. [i]
As well as receiving £2,500, several of the young people supported by Knights Youth Centre also had the chance to meet World Champion boxer, Lawrence Okolie to talk about how their lives have been transformed by youth centre provision[ii]. Lawrence himself was encouraged by a youth worker to not give up boxing and to balance his training with his job at a local McDonalds branch.
This funding will help ensure that the Centre remains an anchor in the local community. Opportunities offered to young people include dance classes, summer residentials and vocational work. Knights Youth Centre has a long history in the area, and has provided a safe, fun, inclusive and engaging place for thousands of young people for more than 80 years; adapting its work over time to ensure that it remains a relevant and valued place for young people in Lambeth.
The Centre particularly proved its worth during the pandemic, with staff and volunteers stepping up to make deliveries to families at risk of food poverty, and ensuring that there was a safe space for young people to share their experiences online. In recent years, Knights has also provided positive diversions for young people who are at risk of involvement with gangs, drugs and anti-social behaviour.
Responding to the donation, Millicent Grant (Chair, Knights Youth Centre) said:
I’m really proud that McDonalds and BBC Children in Need have recognised the great value of youth work, in particular the work done by the staff and volunteers at the Knights Youth Centre for young people in the Clapham Park area of Lambeth. We are grateful for their support, and look forward to continuing our relationship with both organisations. I am proud that some of our young people had the opportunity to meet with Lawrence Okolie, a positive role model and were able to share with him their experiences of how they are encouraged and supported by the work at our centre.