Sport Across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent has worked with Engage Communities over a number of years implementing the Sport England’s Satellite Club intervention and Sportivate projects across the county. Engage Communities have been a key partner in supporting young people from different cultural backgrounds integrate with their peers and local community through participation in sport. With a focus on encouraging young people from different social and cultural backgrounds to take responsibility and develop their leadership skills, Engage Communities has created excellent examples of how sport can help change young people’s lives for the better.

Mark Thornewill – SASSOT Partnership Director

I have been with engage for almost 3 years. In those 3 years it has helped me with my behaviour, confidence and in my academic studies. It has given me an opportunity to meet new people and make friends. Within Engage Communities, I have been going to the Taekwondo project. I have physically become stronger and better at the sport, as well as mentally stronger. I look forward to going to the training, having a laugh and having a good time. A big thanks goes to Yaser, Jamal, Atal and all the other staff at Engage Communities for the great time I have been having.

Hashim, 15, Newcastle-under-Lyme

I initially met up with Yaser Mir about 3 years ago who told me about the work which Engage Communities had been doing with young people in the north of the city, during this meeting he also spoke about the approaches he was using and outlined his vision for Engage Communities. I was blown away and have since had the pleasure of working alongside his service and witnessed them grow and start to realise their enormous potential. They now work across the city and link in fantastically well with the community and partner organisations providing a specialist youth service provision who can build a rapport and engage superbly with young people. They provide a wide array of activities and always ensure that young people are at the heart of what they do. I look forward to working alongside Engage Communities as they continue to grow their already outstanding service and strive towards achieving their vision.

Marvin Molloy, Community Development Worker, My Community Matters

Engage communities have been delivering enrichment activities at The Co-operative Academy of Stoke on Trent, for almost 2 years. Both the ‘boxing club’ and the ‘football club’ have continued to become increasingly popular and successful. Our students have benefited from the links we have with Engage Communities and we are privileged to have such a positive working relationship. The coaches provided are excellent role models. The club itself has demonstrated a high standard of commitment and it is a key member of the enrichment programme as it encourages all students to be their best, and see the social, moral and physical benefits of being involved in physical activity. The coaches take responsibility for planning and organising activities and competitions and have embedded these links within the community. Yaser is a passionate leader and always works with determination, encourages others around him and exhibits an excellent attitude towards educating others within the wider community. The students are making excellent progress as a result of the quality coaching they receive. The contributions and enthusiasm of Engage Communities have been most welcomed by staff and students.

Mark Rogers, Head of Faculty, The Co-operative Academy of Stoke on Trent

“I started using Class A drugs when I went to University in Luton. I also started selling drugs when I was at University and got involved in gangs and serious crime in my area in Reading where I live. We built up a fearsome gang in West Reading and had ‘beef’ with another gang in East Reading. The two gangs had created an American type East Coast versus West Coast gang warfare, the only thing was this was not America it was East and West Reading in Berkshire, UK. My addiction to heroin got so bad that I was once doing a drug deal and I got robbed, stabbed and was bleeding to death, I was left to die and nearly did die. Life had hit rock bottom for me and enough was enough I wanted to change. I was very lucky to come across the organisation Engage Communities. The organisation helped me to get my health, fitness and well-being back again. Engage helped me to change my life around. They provided me with one-to-one mentoring and coaching which helped me to get my career back on track. I now run a charity, which works with drug users and gangs in Reading. The educational workshops I did with Engage helped me to finish my dream of getting a degree. I am at the University of West London in the final year of my Criminology degree. I also have my own business, a travel agency, I want to use profits from the business to help organisations like Engage that are doing a fantastic job with vulnerable people, who are in the situation like I once was. Engage never gave up on me and were always there when I needed them.”

Bobby, 32, Reading

"I am Michael Cunningham's dad. He is a very active pupil at Engage Communities. I would just like to give my sincere thanks and gratitude to everyone who is involved in the project. Since Michael has been attending, I am happy to say that I have seen a vast improvement in his attitude and social skills. Michael is very enthusiastic and he is always eager to attend the sessions. This has had a massive impact on our family life and speaking from a fathers point of view it brings me much joy and reassurance. Michael is seeking a career in physical education and being involved with Engage Communities it is opening doors and pointing him in the right direction. Michael has been given the opportunity to do his work experience later this year at Engage. I would just like to give my thanks and appreciation. Thank you so very much. Keep up the excellent work."

Mike Cunningham (SNR), Parent

“I am proud to be the Patron of Engage Communities, an organisation that creates positive changes in the lives of socially excluded and disadvantaged people within our communities. I believe that tackling Social Exclusion and Health Inequalities is everyone’s responsibility and Engage Communities inclusive approach empowers people and focuses on their potential to make a difference for themselves. Engage Communities it is a vital community resource that can create life changing experiences for everyone within the local community from individuals to families and neighbourhoods.”

Lord Kamlesh Patel

“Every young person faces so many challenges. Whether it’s getting and keeping your life on track, getting the most out of your education, finding work, or making where you live a better place to live – organisations like Engage Communities are making a difference and are there to support.”

Joan Walley MP for Stoke-on-Trent North

“Urban Expression Cobridge has been working with Engage Communities since April 2013 on our ROC Sport project. Engage is a very professional organisation. The quality of the coaching has been exceptional. The coaches understand the needs of young people, particularly those from disadvantaged communities. They are both encouraging and challenging and have been able to bring out the best in the ROC Sport members. Whilst there are still challenging behaviours, we have seen changes not only in footballing skills but also in the general attitudes of the young people towards others. We would unreservedly recommend Engage Communities.”

Dr Iona M Jones, Urban Expression Cobridge

“Before I was always fighting on the streets, I was being rude to my teachers, misbehaving at home and not getting the education I needed. I was making life worse for my family and myself. Now I am not fighting on the streets. I am doing well in school. I now go home to see smiles on my families’ faces instead of frowns. That itself tells me I’ve accomplished something. I truly believe that I am now setting my straight path to success. After I get good grades in school, I would like to go college and study law. After I have passed my A levels I would like to go to university to get a degree in law. If I was still fighting on the streets then I would have no chance in reaching these goals, instead I would be working in a take away, which is not the life that I want.”

Asif, 14, Stoke-on-Trent