The Positive Transformation Group Trust (PTG)
This document will outline the direction for the PTG Trust. It is based on the information gathered through the Pilot phase of our Ending Digital Poverty (EDP) program. It demonstrates, how with just a little passion, any corporate can contribute to turning young lives around.
Following the EDP Pilot
On 21st July I met Tyrell Davis-Douglin. Tyrell works with the Mayor’s Violence Reduction Unit. Tyrell was just one of the students who received a laptop as part of be the PTG Ending Digital Poverty pilot.
The visit took place at Evolve housing in Thornton Heath. On that day I met with many young people who were hopeful of starting out on a career, using the laptop that had been given to help them either with their study or to help them find permanent accommodation. I met Anthony Edwards who is the Centre’s Work and Learning Coordinator. Anthony is responsible for helping the residents further their education and look for full time employment.
I will return to Anthony later.
My visit to Evolve Housing was very interesting. Tyrell, because of his work with the Mayor’s office understood the importance of getting as many people as possible (especially the younger people) who reside in the facility, off the streets and into work placements In order to do that, these young people needed help and guidance, but most of all digital skills and access to the technology that could ultimately release them from their inevitable life cycle.
Within the building of Evolve Housing was a storeroom. A relatively large room with nothing but boxes and old junk. Tyrell worked with Anthony to clear this room and together they began gathering old IT equipment to hatch together some form of training room. To say it looked a little Heath Robinson would be an understatement.
Tyrell was so enthusiastic about what they had achieved, and the fact that Anthony and himself were now able to offer CV writing sessions. They were also able to help these young people apply for jobs and housing which meant, for them, it could potentially change the lives of many.
On 2nd Oct 2021 Tyrell was featured on the BBC London news. He spoke about the unit he works for, and how he spends his time interacting with and helping knife users. His point is that the Met Police have shared more than 2000 images on social media of knives seized in the last year.
Tyrell feels this display of knives encourages knife users to “go one better”’ and that the Met Police should refrain from the public display of heroism with tackling knife crime. Similar knife crime charities by comparison have displayed may be one or two in the same timeframe.
So far this year over 71 people have died through knife crime alone. Tyrell is passionate about what he does and why he wants to make a difference.
As Milbank (www.milbank.com/en/offices/london), where I also work as IT manager, were going through an office move, Evolve Housing were offered some of the equipment, furniture, kitchen utensils etc that could not only change the training centre at the facility, but also help when some of the young residents were offered accommodation with things like cutlery and items that they would have to otherwise buy for themselves. This was a great initiative supported by Milbank, but ultimately led by Anthony.
Anthony has spent almost half his life in care. His early years were spent in social care in a home in Thornton Heath. This facility fell into disrepair and was eventually demolished. Evolve Housing facility now stands on the exact site of Anthony’s original care home. Anthony is passionate about what he does for these young (and not so young) people who have found themselves living at the home.
When I offered Anthony the opportunity to come to Milbank’s offices at Gresham Street he was overwhelmed. With the equipment he took for the training room - docking stations, monitors, and other “tech” items he has been able to set up not only a training room in Thornton Heath but also another facility run by Evolve housing nearby.
Anthony’s passion for all things technology, along with that same passion to share knowledge and support people in the facility to explore career avenues and apply for social housing is contagious.
I have kept in touch with Anthony throughout this journey and it has been an inspiration to listen to his journey and continued learning development for the home.
In early December Anthony contacted me to say that his role was not going to be funded going forward and that he had to start thinking about his future. He had researched the possibility of working as an apprentice in technology which he feels would be a great place for him to start his “new career”. I whole heartedly support Anthony’s decision to make this change. I will explain why shortly.
I have put Anthony in touch with George Greaves, who has already managed to get Anthony on a day course promoting apprenticeship schemes, which Anthony has attended and is now actively seeking a role within an organisation to start an apprenticeship in technology.
This excerpt from the Evolve Housing information pack sums up Anthony and why I support his decision for a career change.
“I’m Anthony and I am the Work and Learning co-ordinator for anyone under 25 who needs support getting back into education or training, looking at employment opportunities and helping you move into independence. We have built up a great set of education and employment partners and can link you in with what you need. 2020 has been a rough year for us all and unemployment is at an all-time high, leaving feelings at an all-time low however it has also dawned the age of digital interviews, remote learning, and employment opportunities. For me as someone who loves technology and enjoys new and creative ways of doing things it’s an exciting time to come into the role and I’m always open to suggestions on how to improve please don’t hesitate to hit me up if you have a link you think should be shared to all. I’ll make a point of coming and introducing myself as soon as I can. If you need any support around education or employment, get in touch with me.”
Bear in mind this was written by someone who isn’t that well connected, doesn’t have the luxury of corporate funding and probably doesn’t get much by the way of pay and benefits for himself but is willing to give up his time freely to help anyone else that needs it.
Unlike Dan I have never been homeless. I grew up the youngest of 6 in a house full of love, but not much else. I didn’t pick a new pair of shoes for myself until I started my Saturday job at 16...... thankfully my sisters had good taste in shoes.
The road to Milbank wasn’t easy, opting to start a degree in my late 30’s with two young children and the main carer for my sick mother. I worked nights at law firms in their document production departments, whilst I studied all day and fitted in the children and nursing in between. Dan Brown, The Founder of PTG, gets up at 4 am, but I would unlikely be in bed much before then and up again at 6 to get the kids ready for school. But very much like Dan, I had the drive and passion to forge ahead. This is where I landed.
If there is anything I’ve learnt is that I always want to provide enough food, so no one is hungry. Laugh loud enough so everyone can hear and have enough love in my heart to forgive.
I am looking forward to forging ahead with the PTG Trust, which will focus on stories such as these.
Annette Brown, Head of Trust & Charitable projects, PTG Trust (PTI)