How one resident is helping young people achieve their full potential
Team UPside is an educational charity with a clear mission – to ensure that every young person is given an equal opportunity to access high-quality education and un-tap their potential. We chatted with Team UPside founder, Sulaiman Iqbal, to find out how the charity came about and its plans for the future.
Now studying to become a solicitor at law school, Sulaiman was born and raised in Havelock, Southall. While concentrating on his studies, Sulaiman became aware of the lack of educational guidance and support for young people in his local area. He, therefore, came together with friends to attempt to close this gap. He says, ‘A group of friends and I started Team UPside because we were all deeply aware and concerned by the educational inequalities within British society.
‘In 2019, we responded to the vacuum left by the state and attempted to reinvigorate youth activity and community participation by hosting drop-in sessions for young people during the summer holidays to access free educational and career advice.’
Since then, Team UPside has gone from strength to strength while remaining rooted in the local Ealing community. Sulaiman explains, ‘One of the core principles underpinning Team UPside’s work is that every child deserves an equal opportunity to access high-quality education. The UP in Team UPside stands for Untapped Potential.’
‘Growing up on the Havelock Estate, I have many friends and neighbours who I consider have untapped potential. Individuals who, with a concentrated amount of guidance and support, could without a doubt change the world for the better.’
‘Team UPside aims to address this inequality in guidance and resources through our three key services - online community schools, school workshops, and community mentorship clinics.’
With their free online Maths and English GCSE tutoring programme for Year 11 students and workshops, presentations and youth mentorship drop-in sessions, it’s clear that Team UPside is well on its way to fulfilling its mission.
Sulaiman is keen to emphasise how much this is all thanks to the volunteers who help make this happen. ‘Team UPside’s volunteers have a breadth and depth of experience navigating the education system and the professional world.
‘However, more importantly, all our volunteers who deliver presentations and workshops to young people in the community come from similar backgrounds as the students they’re engaging with and have gone on to achieve educational excellence in various fields.
‘This approach is integral to helping us make sure we connect with the young people we’re working with, in both a relatable and inspiring way.’
Peabody recently nominated Sulaiman for the prestigious Diana award for his exceptional ability to inspire his community. His response shows his passion for Team UPside’s mission, ‘I am proud that the dedication, effort, and hard work of the Team UPside community is being recognised. I hope the Diana Award will help increase awareness of the work that other organisations and we do to tackle the deep-seated educational injustices within our society.’
Find out more about Team UPside
If you’d like to support Team UPside they’d love to hear from you. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org