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Young Londoners gain life-changing training

Words by Smiley Team

Aimed at empowering young people in the south London town of Croydon, CHANGE campaign is offering young Londoners invaluable access to training, educational institutions and career coaching. The initiative is supported by TV star and vocal coach CeCe Sammy-Lightfoot and is driven by the founder of youth organisation Music Relief Foundation (MRF) who overcame significant challenges as a young person herself.

Launching on 30th March, the programme will unfold over four weeks and consists of emotional, wellbeing and goal-setting support, followed by skills training and career-oriented courses. Those who complete these initial steps will gain access to a scheme tailored to their personal aspirations that will lead on to apprenticeships, internships and work experience.

The brainchild of MRF’s inspirational founder, Magdalene Adenaike, this support for young people was made possible after she overcame significant obstacles to achieving her own dreams. 

As a lover of music and art, Magdalene set up the foundation after becoming a teenage mum in 1999. “I went through a harrowing experience of been ostracized from the church,” she explained, “and within my community, because I was told I had brought shame to my family because of the pregnancy. I tried aborting so that my parents never found out but could not go through with it.” 

Twelve years later, in 2011, she transformed this tumultuous period in her life into a motivator for helping others. 

“Upon completion of my first degree in Music Industry Management, I had an idea to work with teenage mums and somehow combine that work with music,” she said.

After several years of networking, delivering talks and workshops in schools and other organisations, Magdalene’s foundation supports young people aged 11 to 25 in the community. The foundation inspires, engages and motivates youths through music and the arts to help them reach their full potential.

Building a launchpad for young people

Today, the CHANGE campaign will help more young people facing adversity achieve their goals just like Magdalene herself managed to do.

Supporting the campaign, CeCe Sammy-Lightfoot, known for appearances on The X Factor and The Voice, is proud to be employing her celebrity profile to support others.

She said: “I am at a stage in my life when I want to give something meaningful to those who have not been as lucky as me. If I can use my platform to help even just one person to achieve more than they thought was possible, perhaps to build something lasting for their own family, it would mean the world to me.

“If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it is that by working together - creating strong communities - we can overcome tremendous challenges and achieve great things. Now feels like a time to put aside some of the more meaningless and ephemeral trappings of celebrity and focus on issues that really matter. Fame and achievement may give you a buzz and fuel pride but they do not bring peace, love or joy.  Supporting causes that may actually make a difference in people’s lives bring a sense of fulfilment that is unique.”

Find more information about the programme here.

To support the MRF’s work inspiring young people and building strong communities, donate here.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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