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Second Thrive Team Launches in The Leys

A new Thrive team has launched in The Leys.

Ever since we started Thrive in Barton, we wanted to take it to other communities. Now, thanks to our amazing supporters, we can.

Jump on the number 5 bus in Oxford city centre and you’ll be whisked away from the city’s dreaming spires over the ring road towards the tower blocks of Blackbird Leys.

Home to around 14,000 people, The Leys (made up of Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys) is a wonderful community, full of fantastic people. However the 4,000 young people growing up here in Oxfordshire’s second most deprived area can be hit with more than their fair share of ‘hard knocks’. Around one-third grow up in child poverty, and over 70% of 16-year-olds here are leaving school without 5 A*-C grades at GCSE level.

Rather than starting something new from scratch, the second Thrive team builds on the existing work of the Leys Youth Programme, a youth project that was launched in 1999 by a team of volunteers from Oxford Community Church.

In 2015, the Leys Youth Programme (LYP) approached us to see if we could pool resources to bring their existing youth work into the Thrive family. They had heard about Thrive through our work in Barton and wanted to see the young people they know helped to become leaders of change in the Leys.

Because both programmes partner with a local church to reach out to young people in a disadvantaged community, it made sense for LYP to become a Thrive team, combining their experience with Thrive’s focus on developing young people.

Richard Colbrook, a founding Trustee of LYP, says, “We realised that there were many similarities between LYP and Thrive but also some important differences which we can all learn from, which will be a huge benefit for the amazing young people here.”

The result is a new Thrive Team that combines LYP’s legacy and work so far with Thrive’s vision to see disadvantaged communities changed for good through the service of young people.

Of course, the big winners of the new Thrive team will be the young people in Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Despite their often difficult circumstances, these young people are full of energy, passion and creativity. They know what their community needs, and have the ideas and the influence to make it a better place.

They have the potential to bring about change not only in themselves, but also to act as positive role models and inspire the next generation to reach their fullest potential too.

Sarah Anthony, Thrive Director, says “We’re so excited to build on the wonderful achievements of LYP and see young people benefit from a Thrive team like we’ve seen in Barton. Together with our amazing supporters, we can see young leaders developed to bring fresh opportunities and possibilities to The Leys.”

And it doesn’t stop here. Already we’re looking at launching a third Thrive team in 2017, so that, together with our fantastic supporters, we can develop more young leaders to bring hope and lasting change to disadvantaged communities.

Photo Credit: Sabrina Lacha

What others are saying about Thrive

“All Thrive staff who work in Barton also live in Barton so this gives a real sense of embracing the young people they work with, some of whom will be those most socially excluded from everything else that takes place locally. Their Young Leaders, Mentoring and Outreach projects have seen some amazing results and they have succeeded where others before them have failed.”

Sue Holden, Company Secretary, Barton Community Association