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Helping into employment and education with sport

Marcellus Baz

Marcellus is the founder and CEO of Switch Up CIC and Nottingham School of Boxing. The two organisations utilise sport, mentoring, and counselling to transform the lives of young people and transition them into employment, training, and further education.

Marcellus was born in a deprived area of Nottingham, UK, and groomed into criminality before dedicating his life to supporting communities affected by crime and violence. In 2016, Marcellus was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of The Year Award and a British Empire medal.

Marcellus Baz is a fellow of the Acumen 2020 Fellowship Programme in the United Kingdom.  

What are you working on?

 

When and why did you come to the decision to do it? 
I set both these organisations up in 2013. The reason why I set these organisations up was because there was a need within our community and it is derived from my own personal experience, coming from a deprived area groomed into criminality, having the shackles of a criminal record, preventing me from integrating into society.

youth inclusion

And I wanted to make a change and I wanted other young people that were in the same experiences as me to have an opportunity to become full citizens of our society. And that’s the reason why we exist.

What has been the impact / greatest experience so far? What have been your biggest challenges so far?Some of the biggest challenges that I face as my team has been growing is how do I continue to keep that passion, that quality within the organisation, how do you keep that ethos, the values of when you first started the organisation and keep it focussed and agile to continue really helping those that are in need as your organisation and team is growing. Some of the other challenges are having to continuously prove yourself, you know, coming from the background that I've come from, you get that saying that a leopard never changes its spots and having to move away from that stigma.

We've had some great experiences and recognition worldwide for our model, and the fact that it works has also been a great experience; to see it actually working and changing people's lives. We want to change that some people are completely written off from society. When they have been told, they're not going to make it, they're going to jail, or nobody can work with them - we come and giving them the opportunity to become a tax-paying citizen. If they turn around and live a productive life, becoming a full citizen - that is an absolutely amazing achievement for us. So far, the impact and the outcomes have been phenomenal because the model works.

marcellus bazGet in contact with Marcellus via twitter @MarcellusBaz

Apart from your fellowship, what kind of support for your work do you need?
It’s absolutely fantastic to have the support of the fellowship but we always need more support, support in training opportunities, in developing, in growing as a leader, to be able to influence change and systems and power, to have our community's voice heard and listened to.