Meet Vinay

Vinay improved his leadership skills, gained confidence and learned valuable life skills through HeadStart's Team Social Action programme

Team Social Action is a 12 week programme delivered in HeadStart secondary schools. Young people in Years 8 and 9 develop a social action project with a group of their peers that aims to help improve life for people living in Newham. They meet weekly and work with a HeadStart Youth Practitioner who supports them to bring the project to life.

Little Ilford School is a HeadStart school running the Team Social Action programme. The Little Ilford Team Social Action group named themselves ‘Health Squad’ and chose to raise money for two diabetes charities, as it is a growing health problem in the community.

Tracy Hughes, Year 9 Deputy Pastoral Achievement Leader, worked closely with HeadStart to recommend young people for the Team Social Action group.

“The students we put forward for HeadStart were the students who we didn’t think had massive behaviour problems – we looked at those invisible children who maybe needed a confidence boost by being part of the programme.”

One of the young people recommended was Vinay. Hiwot Ameneshoa, the HeadStart Youth Practitioner leading the programme at Little Ilford School said,

“When Vinay joined the group he was very energetic but did struggle to keep focus.”

Over the 12 weeks, Vinay took on leadership roles within the group. He presented the group’s social action project to the school’s Senior Leadership Team.

The group set out to raise £150 in total for Diabetes UK and JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) but managed to surpass their expectations and raised £256.40. They did this by selling healthy snacks at lunchtime and collecting donations. The group was featured on their Little Ilford School’s website and received a phone call from Diabetes UK in their final session to say where the money would be used.

Vinay showed commitment by attending the sessions weekly and his confidence was noted by school staff. Tracy said,

“The changes I’ve seen in Vinay since taking part in HeadStart have been massive. The confidence he now shows to make the right choices is the thing that we’ve most admired in him.”

While improving confidence and promoting positive relationships, Team Social Action also teaches young people valuable life skills. The young people taking part meet with a HeadStart Youth Practitioner regularly to talk about their personal goals and learning. Key benefits for pupils include improved problem solving and goal setting skills and increased connectedness to their school and community. Vinay told us,

“HeadStart helped with my resilience, leadership and teamwork skills which I can take on for the rest of my life.”

Find out more about how Little Ilford School and HeadStart are working together to improve resilience and well being for young people in Newham.

More Profiles