Set for Success is designed to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and sees them receive mentoring sessions with inspirational athletes.
After an initial pilot phase the programme will now expand from 15 to 150 schools over four years and benefit up to 3,900 pupils across 30 regions in the UK, thanks to significant investment by Barclays.
Redwood Park Academy in Portsmouth joined Set for Success in 2020. The school had an ambition to help more of its students with special educational needs (SEN) progress into full time employment and provide the opportunity to develop leadership, resilience, and independent skills.
Dave Turner, vice principal at Redwood Park Academy, said:
“The values that Wimbledon are promoting - resilience, communication and independence – is what underpins our whole curriculum, to get students ready for adulthood and employment.
“The first session was a challenge because it was different, but over time the pupils got more resilient to being challenged and led by someone different. That’s a life skill, working with new people.”
In Set for Success’ initial phase, 72% of young people on the programme said they had developed skills that would help them succeed in the future, 82% felt more positive about future employment – and three-quarters (75%) reported more self-belief. Closer to the classroom and sports hall, two-thirds of participants (67%) felt they were doing better at school, 70% of participants increased their physical activity and more than three-quarters (77%) were more confident taking part in sports.
Young people at Redwood are now reporting improved communication skills, particularly learning to listen and how to interact with others, alongside improved team-working skills. The school said the chance to take part in physical activities led by the Youth Sport Trust’s Athlete Mentors was pivotal to supporting the development of these skills.
Emily Reynolds, National Programmes Director at Youth Sport Trust, said:
“We have seen young people gain so much through the programme to date. They’ve not just developed life skills, but had fantastic experiences and made friendships for life. We are proud to be working with Wimbledon Foundation and Barclays on this and our Athlete Mentors absolutely love sharing their skills and supporting young people to see how sport is for everyone and it can give them skills for life. It’s so much more than winning or losing, its communication, teamwork, planning and managing emotions. We look forward to being part of expanding Set for Success so even more young people can benefit.”
Students will access the Set for Success Employability Toolkit and Barclays LifeSkills through the programme – the bank’s initiative dedicated to giving people the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to succeed in work. Students will also get opportunities to attend annual empowerment events to connect with local employers and visit the home of The Championships, Wimbledon.
As Wimbledon is set to begin, a number of students and supporting teachers currently taking part in the programme will be invited by Barclays to The Championships 2023, Wimbledon. They will have the chance to celebrate their own achievements and watch the tennis action unfold on Centre Court.
To read more about Set for Success and its impact to date visit www.youthsporttrust.org/news-insight/research/set-for-success-evaluation