Making a difference in Tottenham
The Place Strategy brought together The Prince of Wales’s charities to work on collaborative projects in communities such as Burnley, Tottenham, Redcar, Burslem, Ayrshire and Llandovery. One of such projects is the Tottenham Boxing Academy which was supported by a business connector from Sainsbury’s and committed to changing the lives of young people aged 13-16 who are in danger of educational exclusion.
The Academy provides an alternative to mainstream school, combining basic education and mentoring with the discipline and culture of boxing and other sport training to re-engage the most difficult to reach young people.
Business Connector works with Tottenham Boxing Academy
Kay Horne, a Business Connector seconded from Sainsbury's to Business in the Community, met with Anna Cain, the CEO of the Boxing Academy, an alternative education pathway, soon after her arrival in Tottenham. Tasked with working with local charity and community groups in Tottenham, with a view to brokering business support, she arranged for a tour of the Academy and to discuss their immediate needs. Kay encouraged Anna to create a wish-list for the Boxing Academy and set to work engaging with businesses for support.
Kay said "In the year I have been working with the Boxing Academy I have been able to broker in excess of £50,000 worth of support for this important charity, which supports young people most at risk of educational exclusion. This support, given from a number of businesses, came in the form of monetary, skills and equipment. The support I have brokered has been in the main from larger businesses as many local businesses have spent the last year recovering from the summer riots which hit Tottenham so badly in 2011, just 5 weeks before I arrived."
Sainsbury's have been a strong supporter of the Academy and immediately brokered £8,000 from the Sainsbury's Riot Support Fund, money CEO Justin King made available to stores in areas affected by last summer’s riots. This came in the form of Sainsbury's food vouchers which the Academy could use at the local Sainsbury's to purchase lunches for the students. This support had the added benefit of ensuring the students lunches were healthier. In addition to this, Sainsbury's ran a series of events to teach students at the Academy healthy eating, with Kate McBain from the Sainsbury's Try Team giving year 10 students a cooking lesson where they helped to cook a 3 course meal on a budget.
In March 2012 Duncan Tate, CEO of UK Fujitsu, led a "Prince's Seeing is Believing Visit" with Kay Horne and other Senior Business Leaders in Tottenham. The delegates visited the Boxing Academy and this allowed Anna to showcase the Academy to these leaders and Kay subsequently brokered significant support from these companies. Fujitsu donated £15,000 of computer equipment and accessories to the academy for students and teachers to use (a total of 20 plus network installation). This will enable the Academy to offer more GCSEs, offer web based qualifications and support the students to take part in The Prince's Trust XL programme. The Senior management team of Fujitsu returned to the Boxing Academy to talk to the students about their company and their own career paths into their current role. They also discussed opportunities for jobs and apprenticeships with Fujitsu. In exchange, the students gave the CEO, COO and CFO a Boxing lesson! In October 2012 the academy's students spent a day at Fujitsu's Head Office. The students were given information on apprenticeship schemes on offer, attended a Senior Business meeting and had a tour of the building. Pincent Masons have also supported by giving The Boxing Academy employment law advice.
Anna Cain said "I did not know I needed at Business Connector before I met Kay. She has helped me gain business support for our charity which I did not know how to approach before and I did not frankly have the time to focus on. Kay's suggestion of a wish list of needs for the Academy has been very helpful, just this week I had a visit from a philanthropist where I was asked what our needs were. I was able to articulate this straight away securing much needed financial support".