In a special guest blog, we invited Fight for Peace Programme Manager, Carolina Velasquez to talk us through some of the work being done around the UK with Alliance partner organisations. The Fight for Peace Alliance is a network of organisations trained in Fight for Peace’s methodology which promotes the exchange of skills, knowledge and support to maximise impact on young people in local communities.

Creating Pathways is the name we give to a series of initiatives designed by Fight for Peace to support Alliance partners in developing projects for young people in communities affected by inequality and high levels of crime and violence. 

The first Creating Pathways programme, which focused on education, was launched in 2019 with five UK-based Alliance members and was funded by the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF). During the programme the organisations designed and implemented projects that increased their ability to support young people to re-engage with learning and build confidence.

Building on this, in 2022 Creating Pathways to Work was born. This time we were supported by Laureus Sport for Good, in their effort to respond to the growing need for employability opportunities for young people in marginalised communities across the UK. 

Creating Pathways to Work involves eight partner organisations embedding employability activities into their work, supporting young people in accessing resources and opportunities, and providing the additional support needed to make significant steps towards meaningful employment.

During the programme Fight for Peace has built partner organisations’ capability to design, set up, and deliver context-specific projects, offering funding through Laureus and Sport England Together Fund to pilot sports plus employability strategies.

To date eight organisations (five in England, one in Wales, one in Northern Ireland) have implemented their pilots and we are proud to say that they have all increased their capacity and skills in establishing and running employment programmes in their communities. Impressively, five of them have secured further funding to run a second cohort, which will help them add a new component to their programmes, going beyond sports and using it as a tool for change. 

Pictures: from Go the Distance, Durham

Melvin McDonald, a Youth Worker at Hideaway Youth Project, one of the participating Alliance partner organisations, reflected on the programme: “As this is a very new project for our organisation, it has been an eye-opener in terms of what we can offer. Using the gym to engage young people is a terrific pull and something we want to continue. This model will now branch into other parts of our project, allowing us to reach a broader audience and offer substantial opportunities such as paid work along with training and development.”

During the pilot phase of Pathways to Work, participating organisations impacted 169 young people with 98% reporting increased confidence and self-esteem, 83% feeling more positive about their career prospects, 73% gaining better knowledge of employability resources, 79% improving their CVs and job applications, and 80% better understanding what is needed to pursue a career. In addition, 93% of participating young people reported being able to manage their mental health better, with 86% reducing anxiety about their future.

Pictures: from Go the Distance, Durham

Although hard employability outcomes are not easy to identify in the shorter term, so far we have identified an impressive 13% of participants who have obtained new qualifications, with 10% accessing employment opportunities and 11%  having progressed into further education. 

By focusing on impactful stories and concrete data, we aim to continue building pathways to a brighter future for young people. The Founder of Burnage Community Wrestling Club, Mohamed Osman, shared a success story from the programme he ran, highlighting the impact on the futures of young people:

“A young person who struggled with low self-esteem and medical conditions attended all the programme training sessions and workshops. After the support they received, they became a peer mentor, volunteering to help other young people. They’ve made significant progress in wrestling and plan to enter the British Championships in the heavyweight category next year. Their involvement has given them purpose, improved their lifestyle choices, and developed their interpersonal skills, making him a great role model.

Meanwhile, a young participant from another programme delivered by Alliance partner organisation The Compound Wellingborough shared their experience: “I feel it was a very supportive project that educated me and helped me feel more knowledgeable and confident entering the working world.”

Sharing our learnings with our Alliance partners and helping them be their best for the youth they work with is key to our success in impacting the lives of young people across the UK. The contributions from our partner organisations have been invaluable in understanding the applicability of Fight for Peace employability principles in different contexts and have paved the way for us to scale the impact of the programme by widely sharing it with more organisations interested in implementing employability related programmes. 

If your organisation is interested in being part of this initiative, please contact to get our Creating Pathways Manual and support.

Pictures: from Go the Distance, Durham

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