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New project tackles poor academic standards among youth

EMPOWERING YOUNG PEOPLE: Nicole Brown, the brains behind Visionaries Learning Centre

VISIONARIES LEARNING Centre (VLC), a non-profitable organisation which provides education tuition for young people from socially deprived backgrounds, is making its mark on social change by helping to address the lack of opportunities for additional academic support and removing barriers to accessibility.

The community-interest initiative based in Enfield, north east London, is the brainchild of Nicole Brown and was set up specifically to help young people. including those from black minority ethnic families, access private tuition lessons in maths, English, science and drama. VLC is focusing on secondary and primary school tuition lessons.

VLC is geared towards making an impact in the lives of young people in the borough and is also reaching students who have been permanently excluded from school or youth offenders who have been socially excluded from the mainstream education system and by extension society.

As many young people head back to school this week after the summer break, there are some from socially and or economically deprived backgrounds who are likely to face higher rates of permanent exclusion, have poor academic performance, poor success rates of going onto further education and much slimmer chances of future opportunities than their counterparts.

This is where VLC is hoping to make a difference. CEO and founder Brown explained her inspiration for starting the venture.

“My number one reason for starting VLC was and still is to make a meaningful impact in the lives of young people. My own experience with growing up with a single mother and living in social deprivation allowed me to see first-hand just how difficult it was to get access to the right opportunities and being able to break free from the limitations which come with such circumstances,” Brown said.

She added: “I longed for the opportunity to get the extra support with my studies, but accessing the extra support also meant being able to afford it. It meant that I had to figure it out on my own, but I was determined that I was going to make it no matter what. My mother, who was born in Jamaica, was a tremendous source of encouragement and always instilled in me that education was priority and the one thing that could never be taken away from me. I soon realised that it was also the way out of my circumstances and the key to breaking the cycle of deprivation.

“I worked hard and kept my head down but even then, I couldn’t help but wish that if we could afford it, things would have been so much easier for me. Many of my peers did not have the same mindset as I did, nor did they have the support of a parent/parents to push them to be ambitious and to do well but were sucked into the cycle.

“I recognised that one of the ways in which I could help other young people was through social change; giving them access to that educational opportunity which I myself longed to have as a teenager; this was my motivation for starting the project. VLC is also supported by Josiah Obeng, Director and Science teacher, as well as our dedicated volunteers and teachers who help to make it all happen.”

VLC are currently delivering lessons in Enfield at the St. Mary Magdalene Church Hall and operate every Friday during term time from 5-7 pm. To get in touch to learn more of the programme on offer email: