July 23 2014 Latest news:
Kay Atwal, Chief Reporter
Monday, March 24, 2014
East London residents of all ages took part in a community showcase event that marked the achievements of young people.
The event included street dance from a troupe whose youngest member was five-years-old, a comedy act, a singing performance and a quadrille routine from elderly Newham residents. The showcase, which was held at Stratford Circus, celebrated the achievements of people who have taken part in East Thames’ community programmes.
In particular, it celebrated the achievements of East Thames’ foyer residents. Young people who join the foyers have faced hardship in their lives and have often had to leave their homes before they are prepared for independence. The foyers provide a stable, secure environment where support workers can help them prepare for independent living or return to their family. They also help them get back into employment and address the underlying problems they have.
The night’s performances opened with 19-year-old Flavio Da-Gama’s rousing rendition of pop classic Feeling Good. Flavio, a resident at Focus E15 Foyer in Stratford, said the support he received from the foyer had “helped me get on my feet” and given him the practical skills he needed before he could even dream about getting into music. He said: “I got kicked out of my house and as a young person, I didn’t know how to deal with things like rent.”
Comedian Julia Thomas explained after her act that she had come a long way since living at Focus E15 in 1999. She said: “I went to university with the help of East Thames. I wouldn’t have been able to go the route I have done if I hadn’t been in Focus.”
The event culminated in an awards ceremony to celebrate foyer residents who had worked hard and inspired other residents. One of the winners was Ali Giir, 19, who has been at Drapers Foyer in Bethnal Green since September when he was forced to leave the family home.
Claudette Tavares, Community Programmes Manager, said: “This was a fun event, but it celebrated the achievements of people who have overcome obstacles in their lives to really achieve something.”