Inspiring Futures in South Leeds

Health for All’s Inspiring Futures project has continued to grow, supporting young people of South Leeds from Chinese, Eastern European and Bangladeshi backgrounds.

The Project, funded by Children in Need and the Youth Futures foundation, is aimed to support young people in overcoming challenges through workshops, group sessions, events, 1:1s, trips out and coaching. The project develops the passions of the young people as they start defining their own paths. It has provided social integration for children and young adults who are more isolated in the community due to language barriers, bullying, not being enrolled in school and limited life chances. Together the project workers – Janetta, Huazhu and Rebecca – and users continue to explore and address the issues that affect young people during these crucial years of their life.

The team has worked collectively, flexibly and creatively together over last 18 months to facilitate a safe space where the young people have a voice and can see their own influence in designing the sessions and their futures. The project has continued to encourage the development of crucial transferable skills such as confidence, critical thinking skills, teamwork, beautiful friendships which promote healthier, happier and more inspired futures.

Basketball sessions, co-operative games and board games have all been well received activities which have promoted the development of such skills. Other exciting activities have included an exciting trip to York to explore the railway museum and its history; meeting the programme lead of the Violence Reduction Unit; an inspiring visit from a NASA scientist; meeting an entrepreneur at one of her restaurants in the city centre; self-defence classes for boys and girls; an NHS dietician describing her career path and also highlighting the importance of healthy living; a playhouse workshop called ‘Elephant in the room’ which culminated in a visit to see the thought-provoking ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ by the Leeds Playhouse.

Some young people went litter picking in the park and demonstrated their proactivity and creativity through suggestions on how the community could maintain a cleaner and greener space. Some suggestions included educating the community on litter, providing more beautiful and attractive bins and reducing waste.

This year has been about empowering all involved young people as they make these choices! Highlights have included an ‘English as a Second Language’ conversation course which has built the confidence of the young people who are newer to our neighbourhood. An exciting and competitive sports day was co-ordinated and led by two girls who recently received their sports leadership’s certificates! A collaboration with the Violence Reduction Unit to launch a video on community safety and protection of knife crime for young people.

There have also been partnerships with local groups Bangla Square and Happy Chinese Families to build connections and identity for young people within their community. One young person from the group, Omar shared his feelings about being part of Inspiring Futures:

“The sessions and trips inspire me to try and do my best for my family and future … it’s nice to meet people and make friends”.

The project has been privileged to be part of the success of one exceptional individual who successfully campaigned for a place in the UK youth parliament. We are delighted to announce that the feedback for Inspiring Futures Project has been incredible, with stories shared, culminating in being nominated and shortlisted for a Child Friendly Leeds award in the category of ‘Schools awards for local businesses/ organisations’. We hope to promote the dedication, passion and innovative work through an impact report which is led by the Pfizer leadership program. So far the project has supported 230 young people through holiday activities, career fairs, trips out, sports clubs, music workshops and community festivals.

Vikrant Bhatia from Health For All says:

“Big thank you to our funders Children in Need and Youth Futures Foundation for Funding this excellent initiative. The project has given us the opportunity to reach out to BAME young people from diverse backgrounds. The project will have a lasting impact on the lives of many from South Leeds.”

Plans are being developed to sustain the good work in the future. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the Inspiring Futures project please contact Huazhu, Janetta and Rebecca on


This post was written by Rebecca Cartwright

We encourage anyone living or working in South Leeds to use this website to tell their news. You can either use the Create an article for South Leeds Life page, or email us at: