Duke of Sussex visits Thrive teams mentoring youth
His Royal Highness, the Duke of Sussex, paid a surprise visit last week to Thrive Teams, an initiative of Innovista, an Oxfordshire-based project that trains and mentors young people living in disadvantaged areas around Oxford.
Following a walkabout in the local area, The Duke visited Barton Neighbourhood Centre, on the outskirts of Oxford, where he spoke to young people from the Young Leaders Programme and members of staff from Thrive Teams.
The Duke also spent time hearing from young men and women who have graduated from Thrive Team’s mentoring programme, who have benefited from the support and gone on to become a positive influence in their communities. Many young people have used the programme to overcome their challenging upbringing in a neighbourhood where underachievement and crime are commonplace.
Devon has benefited from being part of the Thrive Teams and local volunteers from the programme have helped him find, develop and release his stored up potential.
He said; “I’ve learned and grown so much and I feel like I’ve got a contribution to make. I don’t know if anyone realises what an impact Thrive Team’s Young Leaders training programme has had on me. Now I want to do that for someone else.”
Launched in Barton, Oxford in 2010, Thrive Teams is an initiative of Innovista, an Oxford-based Christian charity. Thrive Teams now live in three different communities in Oxfordshire, including South Abingdon and The Leys.
Despite its reputation as an affluent and prosperous city, some parts of Oxford are among the more deprived communities in the UK, and are characterised by poor health, high obesity levels, and hospital admissions for self-harming and alcohol abuse. One in four children in Oxford live below the poverty line and areas such as Barton and Blackbird Leys experience multiple levels of deprivation such as a skills gap, low incomes and high levels of crime.
Innovista exists to identify, equip and develop leaders to change their communities for good. The leadership training programmes that Innovista have developed, also run in a number of countries across Europe and Central Asia, and by 2020, the organisation hopes to be in a position to impact 250,000 people every month.
Jason Lane, Innovista’s founder and International Director, said; “The visit of His Royal Highness, to Thrive Teams today has brought inspiration and encouragement to young people who have been disadvantaged all their lives and who face a daily struggle to reach their potential. The Duke’s obvious commitment to young people will help propel them on the road of personal and community transformation”.
For more information about Innovista go to innovista.org or to read more about Innovista’s Thrive Teams visit thriveteams.org
Photos: Jonathan Self