With a vision to feed more than just the bellies of those most in need in Parkwood, a group of people came together to be the change they want to see in their community.
Registered NPO Rise Up was started in April 2020 when two men decided to work together and come up with a plan to help a community struggling with poverty, gangsterism, drugs and social ills.
With the start of the national lockdown many families suffered job losses. It was then that Abduragiem Adams and Bradley Smith saw the real need for a feeding scheme in Parkwood.
As time went on the need became bigger and with both men being involved in local soccer clubs Southampton and Lazio, they came up with an idea to incorporate soccer and recreational activities to give children and young adults a platform to better themselves and their community.
Chairman Mr Adams said the main aim of the organisation, in which about 20 people are involved in different capacities, is to take back the community.
“We want to take back our community from gangsterism, gender-based violence, abuse, rape and the many other challenges our youth face on a daily.
“It started out small with both soccer teams handing out food and we combined our efforts to come up with a long term goal to develop the community instead of only feeding their bellies.”
Co-founder Mr Smith said many children in Parkwood don’t have direction, guidance and support from family.
“It started through soccer with children seeking advice and support that they usually don’t get at home and we blossomed from there. We want to give them a sense of belonging.”
They came up with the idea to upskill and educate children and young adults through various programmes including soccer and netball tournaments, a clean-up campaign, health awareness, anti-drug and anti-gansterism as well as anti-bullying programmes. The group is also in the process of acquiring a space where they will offer counselling, a library and a safe space to study, do their homework and for a safe space for those in the LGBTQI+ community.
Mr Smith said the name Rise Up came from the need to raise the community. “We’re becoming better individuals, we’re helping each other and we’re basically spreading the message of love, positiveness and to be there for one another.
“With all the negativity around us, we can either be a part of that or we can be the difference and the one thing that brings everybody together and the thing that most people are passionate about is sports so we’re using that as a means to a greater purpose”.
The organisation also hopes to eventually branch out to other areas but need help in terms of volunteers, professionals and other organisations who are willing to help them with their objectives and offer additional programmes and training.
“We have taken a book out of the page of Farouk Majiet, who was a stalwart in Parkwood, to dedicate our lives and give our everything to build up the community and the people of the community,” said Mr Adams.
For more information about the organisation or to help or offer services contact Abduragiem Adams on 068 212 9098.