Waterfront Sports and Education Academy

A truly inspirational club with truly inspiring people

Set in the backstreets of Leicester amongst the houses; amongst the people; in the heart of the community, Waterfront Sports and Education Academy is full of energy and hope. It’s a place where young people are empowered and encouraged to take responsibility for its running, its programmes, its reach and most importantly, its future.

Sarah Lewis, Project Manager at UK Youth recently had the opportunity to visit Waterfront Sports and Education Academy and was truly inspired by what she witnessed. Not only impressed by the range of facilities and programmes offered, Sarah was moved by the passion and sense of belonging from the young people, who only had admiration for their workers and their club. As the CEO, Michael Burgess, comments ‘these young people will be running the centre, they are the future, and this club needs their voice, their ideas’.

Michael ensures young people feel ownership of the club, supporting and training them to have the skills and confidence needed to be entrepreneurial and run the club - even their IT system was set up by one of their young volunteers! With their insight and management, the club is a hub of activity, bringing all ages of the community together to create an inclusive environment, a welcoming place, a place you want to be part of - even as a visitor.

However, the youth group Sarah visited was very different 18 months ago. After sadly experiencing a fire, local young people were left devastated that they might have lost everything. The setback didn’t deter them for long as Micahel and the community rallied together. Less than two years later and all you can see is hope, dedication and passion for rebuilding a home for all the community; encouraging young leaders and volunteers (young and old) to make a difference and support others. Today young volunteers are busy running activities for their peers, creating community cohesion, while the youth workers are leading development programmes so local young people can access the support, advice and training needed to build bright futures.

Speaking about her visit, Sarah said: “Often the fantastic work that happens in youth groups across the UK is overlooked or taken for granted. Sometimes we all need to be reminded of the great work that goes on behind closed doors and the impact youth workers have on the young people involved. 

 “I feel so proud to work with such passionate and life-changing people. It’s great that UK Youth programmes can support youth groups, just like Waterfront, all around the country with training, funding and support. Thank you, I truly am inspired.”

Waterfront Sports and Education Academy is just one of the incredible youth groups in our network. They currently deliver many of our world-class development programmes including Active Youth, Change Squad and the UPS Road Code programme.

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