Peaches Campbell aged 15, arrived at The Albion Foundation (TAF) Kicks project back in 2012 accompanying some of her friends to The Albion Foundation Community Sports Hall Wednesday evening session.
At the time, Peaches was a vociferous character that loved to socialise, engaging in music production and dance. Growing up in West Bromwich Central posed many challenges for Peaches during her teenage years including exposure to gangs, anti-social behaviour and youth crime.
Compared to 7.5% nationally, 13.9% of 16 – 24 year olds are not in education, employment or training in the Midlands. These factors can contribute to: low self-esteem, lack of career ambition, truancy and crime for young people. West Bromwich is the strategic centre of Sandwell local authority area and is the largest of the boroughs six towns. Peaches lives within the town labelled as ‘West Bromwich Central’. Out of Sandwell’s 24 wards, with number 1 being the highest, West Bromwich Central ranked the following: Proportion of NEETS – 3rd; Most deprived – 6th; Highest rate of ASB – 2nd; Unemployment – 3rd (Sandwell Trends SMBC Public Health data 2014).
Peaches stated that she had a positive experience at Hollylodge Academy in Smethwick, achieving good attendance and GCSE grades. She said “I loved school…I was a prefect and really got on with all the staff”. As Peaches progressed into Sixth Form studying BTEC Sport, ICT and Travel and Tourism. Although results were still encouraging (Distinction, Distinction and Pass) her experience was less than positive.
Whilst still at sixth form Peaches soon became a regular participant to the session, achieving excellent attendance and quickly building a rapport with the Kicks staff. When interviewed Peaches stated “I came along to Kicks with my mates as I wanted something to do, with no money Kicks was great because I could dance and access the music studio for free”.
From that moment on, Peaches become an integral part of the ‘TAF’ Kicks session. During this time Peaches also became a peer mentor for Hollylodge at The Albion Foundation After School educational programme. It was soon after that she was referred into the Foundation’s Volunteering Pathway. Peaches stated “I was amazed at the opportunity to volunteer for the Foundation, things that were never offered to me”.
Peaches quickly accumulated over 100 hours volunteering at Kicks and other Foundation projects within Education and Inclusion. Peaches has always applied herself to learning and integrating into the projects and staff teams. Her drive and focus quickly earned her paid employment within the Foundation.
Such projects that Peaches have been involved include Kicks TAF School Youth Club, alternative education programmes for KS2-4, Premier League Enterprise, staff charity GiveBack Days, Sandwell Council Parks Projects, presenter of Live The Kicks Dream video (https://youtu.be/yNAwO2jUrrU), Primary Inspire, Girls Football, Netball coaching.
Hayley James, Employability and Out Of Hours Coordinator said “Peaches has become a great example of the pathways, support and opportunities that we, at the Foundation can provide. She has become an outstanding role model to her peers and participants demonstrating commitment and enthusiasm”.
Peaches’ ambition is to become a physiotherapists specialising in sports. Pursuing that goal, she is currently a second year student at University College Birmingham studying Sports Therapy, enjoying the changing environment and the posed challenges. Continuing with her volunteering, Peaches now dedicates her time to a local football club – Dudley Sports, assisting with first aid, massage, injury treatment and referral. Peaches said “Kicks showed me the worth in the volunteering. It helps you gain experience and get to where you want to be”.