Phil Edwards Centre's Young Ambassadors

Students from the Phil Edwards Pupil Referral Unit in Croydon care deeply about the problems of gangs and gang violence.

Thanks to the Team London Young Ambassadors programme they were given a voice, influence and responsibility for their fellow students in the borough.

In recognition of the impact the students have had, the Phil Edwards Pupil Referral Unit won the Team London Award for 'Supporting and Inspiring' in 2017.

What they did

Year 10 and 11 students at Phil Edwards knew that young people can feel under pressure to join a gang when they start secondary school. Peer pressure can be powerful, especially before children build the confidence to lead their own paths. Students identified the prospect of protection and safety as reasons young people might feel tempted to join a gang. They wanted to do something about it. 

Armed with their research and zeal, the young volunteers decided to tackle the issue head on - by engaging with even younger pupils to help educate them. They knew it was important to discuss the realities of being in a gang with Year 6 students, before they moved up to secondary school.

They kicked off their campaign with a visit to All Saints CE Primary School where they delivered a strong message using visuals, role-play scenarios and questions for the audience. Their planning had been thorough, and the teacher was so impressed they were invited to return to speak to more students.

As well as the students being a positive influences on their younger peers, the project is helping the volunteers to develop other skills including public speaking, body language and presenting skills.

Their long term plan is to take their talk to all primary schools in Croydon so that every Year 6 pupil has the chance to hear their advice and guidance.

With their commitment to help others in the borough and their passionate desire to educate the next generation on this important issue the Young Ambassadors are doing themselves and the programme proud.