Testimonials for Norwood Community Group

By Jane Pickard, Councillor for Knight’s Hill Ward, London Borough of Lambeth, and Deputy Cabinet Member for Youth and Play.

jpickard@lambeth.gov.uk. 07805 943085

Norwood Community Group is a successful ethnic minority-led youth charity in Knight’s Hill focusing on building young people’s confidence, skills and employment prospects.

I have known Jamal Rahman for more than 10 years and watched him grow the group from small beginnings at the Old Library, a building that was closed by the council for many years and only re-opened in 2004 after a concerted campaign.

Jamal started running youth activities there soon afterwards and in 2008 founded the Norwood Community Group (NCG). It is one of very few youth groups in West Norwood, an area which has historically been under-provided with youth centres and activities.

Since then, many children and teenagers have been engaged by the group in sports, counselling and jobs help. The group has also provided training with qualifications in doorman/security duties for some of the older members.

Sports include football after school hours at Elm Green School, boxing, kick boxing and karate, with young people gaining AQA certificates and British Traditional Karate Association qualifications.

I have attended several of the group’s annual meetings where young people are presented with certificates and the pride in their achievement is evident.

NCG has recently become part of the Norwood youth consortium along with the Rathbone Society which leases and manages the Old Library on behalf of the council and High Trees Community Development Trust, a respected voluntary organisation in the Tulse Hill area.

This follows the Lambeth strategy, formulated in 2012, of handing over its youth centres and adventure playgrounds to the voluntary sector in the face of budget cuts. The council established the Young Lambeth Co-operative (YLC), an independent charity, to commission and monitor the services with the help of young people themselves who are trained in these roles. YLC has formed five consortia in the borough aligning with our natural town-centre boundaries so that groups can share information and best practice.

The YLC’s approach means that youth services in the borough need to pass muster with young people who are often harder to please than adult commissioners.

The fact that NCG has done this is testament to its strong community links and simple yet successful formula of sport combined with character-building.

It has also forged links with various other community groups including Rathbone, High Trees and the Tenants and Residents Association on the Woodvale Estate in West Norwood.

I’ve always been impressed with what Jamal has achieved and feel it is essential that NCG thrives. Norwood, like the rest of Lambeth, has areas of high deprivation and just under half its residents are black or ethnic minority. Although school achievement is high, there are too many left behind, particularly black boys. It is vital that we retain youth services to engage these young people. Local government budget cuts mean that groups like NCG need financial support from elsewhere to supplement dwindling council funding. I sincerely hope that Jamal succeeds in getting this support.

Jane Pickard, Councillor for Knight’s Hill Ward.




I joined the NCGS youth forum sometime in January 2008 because I believed that I had some ideas that could be used postively through Norwood community Group Services. Since I joined the youth forum it has helped me build up my personal developement, skills neede for the future; for example punctual skills and also my communication skills I have also gained AQA accreditation in basic self defence Kickboxing and first aid. These iniaitatives happened through me attending meetings and contributing with my own educational input and expressing the views of young people. Being a part of the forum has helped me, I was given a laptop to help with my studies, whilst attending college. Now a couple months down the line I am now running a football/basketball class with one of my fellow youth forum members which was designed by our forum of young people and also led by us. Great stuff!

Currently: Employed as an Estate Agent.




Hi my name is Mikhail Preddie – football coach/Norwood youth forum chairman and security for NCGS events. From the first time I got myself involved with NCGS in 2006 I knew it would help change my life and other peoples.

I became part of the youth forum, this was to make help a positive change in Norwood. I was  member of NCGS  for a year, then I moved on to college. I returned in 2008 I got offered a job to become a football coach which I teach every Tuesdays @ Chatsworth Baptist Church.

I am also a Youth worker, NCGS referred me on do a National door Supervisor Course Level 2 which I passed.

Currently: at University.



CASE STUDY: Hannah Yesufu- Muhammad

Female: British/Black African

Hannah has been a member of “Fit for Life” karate from 2011, since her attendance she has been very respectful to their peers, disciplined and well-mannered to all.

We have watched Hannah grow from a shy little girl into adolescent and this mild mannered young person is a living testimony of what can be achieved through dedication and hard work.

Hannah has trained consistently throughout the years and has also benefited from other off- site activities due to her membership of the “Norwood Community Group Fit for Life” Karate. In 2014 Hannah was able to participate in a karate completion at Reeds School in Sandy LaneCobham KT11 2ES, UK.

Hannah’s time and dedication has enabled her to progress with the Washinkai karate technique to achieve White belt, Yellow belt, orange belt, green belt and purple belt. This remarkable young person is still attending our karate classes and we are confident that Hannah will achieve black belt status

Other achievements include Introduction into Karate Assessment and Qualification Alliance (AQA)

“My name is Hannah I am 14 years old I’ve been training in karate for over 8 years and I am a purple belt now”.

“From the time I stared I’ve always loved karate it boosts your confidence, focus and much more”.

“I have competed in multiply competitions which I have been ale to demonstrate the skills I have learned”




Community acknowledgement.

Norwood Community Group Services are Lambeth Champions & also received 

The Lord Scarmen Civic Award for providing recreational activities in West Norwood and the surrounding areas

These are two quotes from parents who nominated Norwood Community Group Services:


” I would like to nominate Jamal and the group because of their vision in providing timely services for the youth such as football and karate amongst others.These services give the youth such as my children something to look forward to weekly and keeps many of the youth from bad influences which would attract them if they were left idle. In Jamal there is a positive role model for the young men in partcular and a caring a compassionate individual in general.”


” I am nominating Jamal as he is an extremely friendly and committed person and is dedicated to involving local boys in his Friday night football club which he runs at Elmgreen School. Involving 10-18 year old, the football club enables boys of all abilities to share a common goal, to commit to a healthy and competitive sports club, whilst providing them with a safe and fun environment in which to spend their time.”

Lambeth Champions

By Jackie Meldrum Councillor for Knight’s Hill Ward, London Borough of Lambeth

Norwood Community Group Services Is one of the few groups working with young people in West Norwood and does excellent work. Your karate classes at The Old Library are popular and it is good to see your football programme making use of the excellent sports facilities at Elmgreen School. You work closely with the local Youth Forum ensuring young people have a real say over the activities and the young people have gone on to form their own football team. Such experience fosters confidence and self-esteem, essential qualities for young people reaching adulthood & seeking employment in these challenging economic times.

Government cuts are impacting on many public and voluntary sector services. Norwood Community Group Services is to be congratulated on a successful bid to the Capital Community Foundation. This grant funding will enable your organisation to continue & build on the last four years of invaluable work with young people in Norwood, helping them develop skills and gain qualifications. Many have already gained AQA, BIIAB and City & Guilds accreditation’s and are able to start work as security staff.

Norwood Community Group Services plays a key role in West Norwood, maintaining important links with other organisations and the wider community. As local people, you really understand local needs and how to meet them.

Congratulations again and thank you for all that you do. West

Norwood is lucky to have you.

Jackie Meldrum Councillor for Knights Hill Ward 

From Lambeth’s Strategic Commissioning TEAM

Norwood Community Group Services has demonstrated particular capability in achieving outcomes around increasing access to employment and training. Young people have been supported to gain a range of accreditation’s and qualifications to improve their employability.

Provider has developed key partnerships to support the achievement of these outcomes. These include Connexions,
NACRO, Business2Business and Train to Gain.

  • Improved physical well-being and fitness through active participation in sport- football, basketball and karate.
  • Improved emotional well-being through mentoring
  • Improved access to education, employment, training and volunteering

Over 80 young people have achieved accreditation in AQA, 40 plus in City & Guilds and BIIAB in Level 2 Award in Door Supervision and others in sports leadership/coaching. A good example of data on IYSS that clearly shows the quality of interventions in helping young people make decisions about choices they are presented with. Very consistent in recording of young people’s attendances and evidencing what was delivered. To date over 103 Young People have used the service which is more than NCGS was originally contracted to provide for.

Mark Foster
Commissioning Team



Fernando Hunte (11) (attends both Karate & Kickboxing projects)

Kickboxing and Karate are useful because it can make us fitter and it teaches us how to defend ourselves. Exercise is key in life and we do a lot of it. I love it, it tires me out but I love it. Mondays and Tuesdays are my favorite days of the week because of it. Also, I have made some new friends during my time there. And I’m getting fitter.

4th June 2018


Leonardo Bozza (16) I have been attending karate since 2012, Initially I never wanted to go to Karate  I hated it, because I was lazy and was always put out of my comfort zone. However, in hindsight, I am so happy my dad insisted, because I have now realised that Karate equips me with the confidence, resilience and discipline (on top of other important life skills) that help me succeed. I have applied these crucial skills to my work ethic in school work, which I believe translated into the good grades I have achieved. I am sure it will continue to grant me success/enable me to succeed in the future.

Moreover, apart from the physical benefits karate brings, it is also an extremely enjoyable sport which can help free your mind and reduce stress.

Finally, I just wanted to highlight the quality of the teaching that is provided at Norwood karate club – the staff are friendly and dedicated, and the instructors are especially talented people who are experts in their field. The instructors that kindly give up their time thoroughly understand Washinkai karate and, if you listen to them, will really push you and help you fulfill your full potential.

5th March 2019

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