Students from Tottenham swap London for Arundel countryside

Twenty-five young people from one of the most deprived communities in London have been given a chance to leave the capital for the first time since the COVID lockdown to enjoy a whole range of outdoor activities and experiences at Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation.

The group of Year 9s from Duke’s Aldridge Academy headed south to visit us for a three-day residential stay combining sport, life skills and adventure challenges. Duke’s is a secondary school situated in the Northumberland Park area of Tottenham, which is among the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in England.

Our Inner London Borough Programme is designed to help students from challenging areas or backgrounds develop confidence and discover new skills. The residential experience was funded in partnership with the Aldridge Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping to raise the aspirations and develop the life and employability skills of disadvantaged young people from deprived and challenging communities in Sussex, Inner London and the north west of England.

The Aldridge Foundation also has strong links to the development of cricket in communities that have less access to the game, partnering not only with the ACCF but also Sussex Cricket. Aldridge uses the disciplines of cricket to help young people not only to keep fit and healthy but also to develop core skills such as team-working, problem-solving and considered risk-taking.

As well as honing their cricket skills, the Duke’s students enjoyed the surrounding countryside and woodland, building dens and camp fires, visited the beach and explored the stunning Arundel Castle and gardens, learning about the history of the area. Through the activities the students were also encouraged to focus on their wellbeing, with time and space to reflect among beautiful green surroundings.

The success of the three-day programme and the impact of the Sussex countryside was underlined by what the students had to say about their experience:

“We’ve been stuck in lockdown for such a long time. This trip really helped. I did things I wouldn’t normally have done and it actually felt like I was releasing negative energy and creating something positive.”

“It was such a lovely experience. In Tottenham it’s just concrete, and sometimes you can feel really closed in. Arundel was absolutely beautiful, with greenery, birds singing and the castle was amazing.”

“It was so green compared to Tottenham. I loved the castle and playing cricket, but I really enjoyed the den building, and working as a team. I feel like I’m good at teamwork now, which will help me in school too.”

Tim Shutt, Director, Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation said:

“We are adamant that the education-rich experiences we offer here are provided to those that will benefit most and this was certainly the case for the Duke’s Aldridge Academy students. These young people live in a very urbanised area, some face very challenging circumstances, so to offer them the range of experiences we do here at Arundel was a pleasure. For many, the activities were a ‘first’ for the young people, whether it be their first time away from home, or first go at cricket, but they all embraced them with wonderful enthusiasm”.

Shona Nichols, Chief Executive, Aldridge Foundation, said:

“This was an amazing opportunity for the young people we support to take part in new activities, spend time outdoors, develop new skills and experience different surroundings away from their usual environment. Sports and outdoor activities are an amazing way to benefit young people’s health and wellbeing, help build important life skills and increase self-confidence. They are also two of Aldridge Foundation’s main focus areas, which is why this residential trip and our partnership with the Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation is so important to us.  Going forward, we’re keen for this trip to be an annual event, part of our programme to give students, whatever their background, an equal chance to develop ‘non-curriculum’ skills during their time at school. We are actively looking for partners and funds to make this opportunity available for more young people facing disadvantage.”

To find out more about our Inner London Borough Programmes follow this link: Inner London Borough Programme

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