South West London
In 2012 Kerry Astin started FAST, a young people’s project in Patmore, South West London, as a heartfelt response to the need she had experienced through her work in that community.
Her compassion for the young people and their situations inspired action. Gang violence, disproportionate levels of poverty and an air of hopelessness motivated her to take a courageous step of faith. Kerry set up a charity and began to champion and inspire those young people with a similar approach to e:merge.
e:merge and FAST believe in the same thing, share the same motivation and approach to young people, and the same desire to make a difference. On the 1st April 2015 the two organisations merged, making FAST a part of e:merge. As a result FAST is able to benefit from the strength of a larger and more established organisation, whilst e:merge is able to enhance our services and increase our voice for young people.
Since Kerry left the organisation in February 2018, e:merge and an amazing team on the ground have continued the work she started.
Our Local Area
- The area is in the bottom 10% in terms of income deprivation
- There are 25 known gangs in the borough of Lambeth and 13 in Wandsworth. The Patmore Estate is on the border of the 2 boroughs
- 1 in 3 people in the area are unemployed and have never worked
- Local young people rated youth provision under 2 out of 10
What We Do
Regular outreach takes place in the afternoons and evenings, with pairs of youth workers walking the streets, meeting young people, making initial contact and building relationships. This is important foundational work that is based on going out to meet the young people where they are at, in their own environment.
We pair up young people with staff members or trained volunteer mentors, giving them someone to journey through life with. Alongside this we run mentoring groups, that address common issues. The young people will look at identity and self discovery to create a vision for their lives and the path needed to reach their goals.
In response to high youth unemployment rates on the Patmore estate, our employability work provides computer access to enable CV writing and job searches. Staff work with each young person to create a personalised education, training and employment action plan. We work with local employment organisations to increase opportunities and we also bring in specialized trainers and mentors to teach and support the young people where required.
Providing a safe space away from gang activity – a community where positive boundaries are set and where relationships can develop leading to deeper work to help the young people.
We run events that give the community the chance to come together, build relationships and share life. We are encouraging members of the community to take on roles and lead in the organising of the events. Previous events have gathered over 200 people and involved partnerships with many local organisations.
“FAST does brilliant work in a very difficult part of the borough and reaches so many of the young people on the estate. They are great mentors to these young residents helping them in so many ways including building their confidence and encouraging interviews which are leading to work. FAST helps the young people of Patmore find better and more fulfilling activities to engage with on the estate with sports and social activities. They have the ability to work and engage with all residents and outside partners too.”
Cllr Nicola Nardelli (QT), Local Councillor