2019 marks the birth year of Team Upside. In this article, I will reflect on our purpose, achievements and strategy going forward into 2020.
Team UPside is a youth-driven social enterprise, that is committed to supporting young people from less privileged backgrounds in achieving their full potential. We provide academic and career support, completely free of charge, in an effort to break down information gaps so that all young people have a clearer understanding of what options are available to them - enabling them to make the most informed decisions about their future plans. Success is the by-product of opportunity and meaningful hard work. Team Upside serves as the bridge that connects all young people to opportunities, whilst also promoting a culture of hard work and perseverance.
1. Email Help-Desk Service – students can email us with their academic and career-related queries and expect a response, providing them with an answer or guiding them in the right direction within 48 hours. In the past, we have received requests to help draft CV’s, edit university applications and offer subject-specific advice for A Levels. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Bi-Weekly Newsletter – every two weeks, Team Upside’s amazing secretary Hafsa Yuusuf edits Team Upside’s newsletter which includes information about opportunities that young people can access, short inspirational articles (written by student volunteers) and podcast/book/article recommendations etc. Google sign up form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1IDGC0hrHD7NTeI02c5zR4yVIjcUktcNSHOIXU_GxcW4/viewform?edit_requested=true
Despite only being in our infancy, we are proud of our achievements thus far:
Personal testimony from student who took part in the Oxbridge Mock Interview Day:
‘’Please keep doing what you are doing, it is absolutely invaluable that people such as yourselves are willing to help others. You most definitely have inspired me to pursue any sort of access work whether that be at Cambridge or elsewhere and I thank you for that.’’
A few weeks ago, the Guardian’s Today in Focus Podcast published an episode called ‘Growing up with gangs, poverty and knife crime’. The episode used the case study of South Acton, West London, to highlight the negative impact of government cuts to community centres and youth services. Ealing Council declared that their government funding has been cut by 64% and their Youth service budget has fallen from £1.8 million to under £800k. As a community it is clear, that with or without government support, we are going to have to help ourselves.
At Team UPside our strategy is to use our network of volunteers and their wealth of knowledge and experience to support young people with all their educational and career-related needs. We want to help young people: thrive in school, access economic opportunities and empower themselves and their families. At Team UPside we believe in the power of the multiplier effect and believe that by helping one young person access an opportunity, they otherwise wouldn’t have known about or been confident enough to seize, we are causing an unquantifiable ripple effect that can transform society.
In the near future, we plan to carry out workshops and assemblies in secondary schools all over London. We plan to establish a mentoring scheme for a group of young people who are eager to learn from those who come from similar backgrounds and have gone on to achieve remarkable things. Moreover, we are determined to launch an ambitious project in Summer 2020 that will be announced soon.
If you are interested in helping, volunteering or sponsoring Team UPside, please get in contact with us and share our services with all the young people in your family and wider community.