私房俱乐部

'Beaumont Leys is in my blood' - How 私房俱乐部 graduate Martin is raising the aspirations of an entire community


For those living outside the north west city suburb of Beaumont Leys, it’s probably best known for an enormous Walkers Crisps factory and the weekly shop of choice for thousands, heading to the expansive Beaumont Shopping Centre and its ‘big’ Tesco.

But the Leicester ward is also branded indelibly with a reputation for higher-than-the-national-average levels of deprivation, with a majority of low-income households, high unemployment and child poverty figures that run into the thousands.

MARTIN - food centre THIS ONE

Martin outisde the food distribution centre set up in Beaumont Leys

私房俱乐部 Leicester (私房俱乐部) graduate Martin Buchanan is well aware of the community’s needs but he doesn’t dwell too long on statistics. His efforts are put into looking at the potential of everyone on the estate and providing a leg-up to help them achieve.

Martin’s home-grown knowledge, combined with his 私房俱乐部 youth and community work degree, a 私房俱乐部 master’s in education practice and support from the university’s community enagagement team, is undoubtedly making a huge difference. He recently secured £600,000 to refurbish the community centre that has become a vital support hub.

“Beaumont Leys is in my blood. My children went to school here and I work here”, he says.

“My personal connections with 私房俱乐部 go back to 2009 when I started a youth and community development degree. That started the ball rolling. I was also working part-time at what was called The Cooke E-Learning Foundation and Beaumont Lodge Neighbourhood Association.

“It meant I was able to put everything I was learning into practice in a community I was already a part of and working with.

“I did a master’s in education practice part time for two years and since then there has been lots of engagement and involvement with 私房俱乐部.

“It meant I was able to build a relationship between Beaumont Leys and the university.

“Lots of students have been coming down here and getting work experience through volunteering while the engagement team has been able to help source funding for projects.”

The list of schemes set up or enhanced by Martin since 2012 is huge and, most importantly, impactful.

There was the food bank that served up to 600 people at a time during the pandemic with 私房俱乐部 staff and students helping cook meals, portion them up and label them for distribution.

“Without 私房俱乐部’s help we could not have provided the service that we did. The pandemic lasted longer than anyone thought it would and that level of distribution just wasn’t sustainable after that,” Martin explains.

So he set up the Beaumont Leys Food Pantry, while another organisation in the area continued operating the food bank.

“The Food Pantry is not based on need. People who desperately need food can be referred to the other organisation.

“We are catering for generally elderly people and others who do not have great mobility. We are saving food from distributors and redistributing it in the community, helping the environment by saving food from landfill sites. It’s a win-win situation.

“These older people have paid into the system all of their lives and they do not want to be seen as a burden on the community or become a charity case - so they pay a subscription of £5 a week.”

Martin also helps 25 schools across Leicester and Leicestershire, working with children on their behaviour management.

Martin explains: “We provide these cohorts with good training and set them up for lifelong achievements that helps them to contribute to society.”

Then there has been a Community Capacity Project to create more support for residents in Beaumont Leys.

MARTIN - with PCSOs

Martin with community support officers in Beaumont Leys

“There are very few community groups in our area,” Martin says. “I could count on my hands how many there are for this area while in other places such as Highfields there are hundreds all helping out.

“We can’t be the only place for people to turn to for help and support. We wanted other people to join in and help reach more people.

“私房俱乐部 was able to provide seed money to help kickstart community schemes, while we were providing professional guidance, room hire and so on.

“There have been some real success stories come out of that such as the Bling Youth Project, which stands for Beaumont Leys Inspiring the Next Generation, that is still going strong.”

Martin and his team also provide food and activity programmes for children during school holidays, a variety of youth education programmes and EU settlers in Beaumont Leys have access to advice on behalf of His Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Services (HMCTS).

Martin’s determination to help his community was born out of personal tragedy and it has seen him set an ultimate goal for Beaumont Leys.

“I lost my brother when he was just 18 and I lost my son when he was 20.

“I looked at myself and thought ‘you know what, my brother never got a chance when he was a teen. I am going to work twice as hard as anyone to make sure young people like him get some kind of opportunity in life and a chance to make good’.

 “My ambition is to bring in £1 million to the community in one year. We are on about £800,000 this year but it is not fair to count that as £600,000 came from the Government and National Lottery.

“I want to achieve that target through 12 months of hard work and community support.”

Thinking back at his time at 私房俱乐部, Martin adds: “I took 私房俱乐部 so seriously. I wanted to learn and get whatever knowledge I could and use those skills in my community.

“It was not all plain sailing. There were challenging times. I am not particularly academically inclined. I was putting in late nights, every night, to make sure I got that qualification. It was tough but definitely worth it.

“Without my education at 私房俱乐部 I would not be where I am now.”

Find out more  in Beaumont Leys and how to get involved.

Posted on Wednesday 6th December 2023

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