The Mayor of Southwark, Cllr Michael Situ, today visited Camberwell-based charity St Giles Trust to learn more about their work addressing poverty and helping young people overcome barriers which are holding them back from positive progress.
St Trust is one of three charities hand-picked by the Mayor to benefit from fundraising activities and support throughout the year. The theme for this year’s charities is Building for the Future: Empowering Young People.
The Mayor visited two St Giles Trust projects in Southwark; the St Giles Trust Pantry on Camberwell Church Street and the Brewbird Café on nearby Havil Street.
He met the team at The Pantry who help south London-based clients of St Giles Trust access affordable, nutritious food alongside advice and support to help address any underlying issue which might be trapping people in poverty. The cost-of-living crisis is having a disproportionate impact on the people St Giles Trust works with as many struggle to cover the costs of basics. For a £3.50 weekly subscription and shop, people using the Pantry can access fresh produce where they can choose their food. Meanwhile, staff on site at the Pantry provide advice and support so people can get help to address issues such as debt, unemployment, housing problems and other similar issues.
The Mayor then met the team at Brewbird. Opened in 2018, Brewbird is a social enterprise café run by St Giles Trust. It gives young people from disadvantaged backgrounds an entry into employment whilst providing them with support to help them make the next step towards their career goals. Young people undertake paid work placements at Brewbird cafe to gain valuable vocational experience in a range of areas such as hospitality, customer service and catering. They are supported and coached by staff at St Giles Trust who help them identify, search and apply for further opportunities.
Over 80% of those who have worked at Brewbird have gone on to have permanent positions elsewhere in the hospitality, retail and charity sectors, and over 90% reported feeling more confident and better skilled.
While visiting the Brewbird café the Mayor was shown how to make a latte by the staff, something he had never done before.
The Mayor of Southwark, Cllr Michael Situ, said:
“It was a pleasure to meet the St Giles Trust team today and learn more about their life-changing work. Projects like the ones I saw today in Camberwell show how, with the right opportunities, young people facing significant disadvantages can overcome the barriers and achieve their potential. I’m looking forward to working with St Giles Trust during my term as Mayor, supporting them to raise the profile of the fantastic work they do.”
Tracey Burley, St Giles Trust Chief Executive, said:
“We were delighted to welcome the Mayor of Southwark to St Giles today and are looking forward to working with him over the year. His support will be vital in helping us transform the lives of young people in the borough who need extra support to achieve their full potential.”