Carwayne Watt, 22
Carwayne was referred to Street Elite from the Croydon Youth Offending Team. She had recently been in prison for attempted import of drugs into the UK from the Caribbean. She served two and a half years and now wants to get her life back on track.
We remember her arrival to the centre where the sessions take place. She walked into the office with a beaming smile asking for further information. On instinct, we immediately felt she had something to offer and a genuine interest in making a change. Her main fear was applying for jobs while inside because of being judged on her conviction. But she realised she wasn’t going to let that mistake hold her back. Carwayne is continually developing her public speaking skills and techniques in youth work. She is now the most positive and engaging member of the group. She has secured a place with Change Box, a youth work training consultancy. She has a bright future in youth work and will be a great asset as a peer mentor in the next Street Elite girl’s cohort.
Brett Grace, 23
Brett had spent time in prison on more than one occasion. He grew up on the Alfred Estate in Bow and got involved in anti-social behaviour and violence. He has a son and was desperately trying to get some traction with his life. He was all set to start the programme but ended up back in prison due to a previous offence.
On release he got in touch and wanted to start straight away. Brett acquired a child protection certificate during his first week. It was his first real qualification. He was bouncing off the walls with excitement. He said he would do anything required of him to catch up and learn more. During the estates delivery phase, Brett coached next door to the shop where he got involved in the fight protecting his brother, after which he’d ended up in prison for 8 months. It was a huge personal step forward. Five months later, he completed a work placement and is now an assistant site manager with Berkeley on a construction site in Aldgate. He finally has some stability and can support his family.