Toyin, 23, from Hackney had been out of work for over 2 years. A keen dancer that heard about Street League through her support worker at Young Hackney, Hackney Council’s youth support team. Street League were a new partner at Forest Road youth hub and our Dance Teacher, Sophia was attending an evening youth session to tell the group about our new programme in Hackney. Sophia explained that we are able to support 16-24 year olds with employability skills alongside free dance classes. Toyin expressed an interest in the dance classes and explained that she was not really looking for a work. Toyin has autism and the thought of working was a scary prospect. Having had limited work experience in the past and a lack of support in her last role, Toyin was apprehensive for the future.

Toyin attended every dance session and worked with Sophia closely. In these early days our Progressions Coordinator, Chris Davies started to talk to Toyin about the kinds of jobs that interest her in an informal manner. After a few months, Chris was able to sit down with Toyin and put this onto an action plan. Administration, office work and art gallery were potential next steps. Toyin became a much recognised face in our dance sessions and would speak to the team weekly about her options. In July 2016, Toyin joined dancers from Islington, Hackney and Glasgow for a performance at the O2. Her energy and positivity within the group was great to see. A few days after this Toyin was invited to a photoshoot with her fellow dancers and this imagery has been used on Street League’s website and marketing tools.

We understood throughout this time that Toyin needed long term support. Through the dance classes we were able to offer this and Toyin was able to talk to potential new recruits about her experiences at Street League, whilst attending dance events with Sophia. Through working in the local community, Toyin met an organisation called Resources for Autism. They were so impressed with her enthusiasm and passion for talking to people, they asked her to volunteer as a Support Play Worker. Again, Toyin impressed and has now been offered a part time role. This is amazing as she will gain the additional support that many employers are unable to offer. As Toyin is part time, she is still able to attend our weekly dance sessions and will perform at our next show at the Dorchester Hotel.

“I love dancing and Street League has been a huge help to me in improving my social and dance skills. It was an amazing opportunity to perform at the O2 arena and I can’t wait to perform in shows like this in the future”

 To find out more about our programmesClick here. Or to join Street League, Click here.