Circle Collective is about more than hoodies, trainers and bags. The skate and streetwear stores, based in London’s Dalston and Lewisham, were created by Turly Humphreys to help young people break down the barriers keeping them from work. From CV coaching to confidence-building, the support received by young people in her Big Issue Invest-backed stores goes well beyond the shop floor – and helps an impressive 76 per cent of them into successful working lives.
Originally from Bedford, Humphreys forged a career in commercial business and franchising. But there was something missing. “You just get disillusioned,” the 59-year-old explains. “I wanted to make a difference, and I’ve always had a passion for seeing young people reach their potential, regardless of their circumstances.”
She was also tired of mistruths she heard peddled about young people. “They say young people just don’t want to work. Maybe that they’re lazy. It’s nothing like that.” Last year it was estimated that across the UK there were nearly 800,000 16 to 24-year-olds not in education, employment or training (more than 11 per cent of all people in this age group).
Here's Eric, a former volunteer, buying one of our very own Circle Collective Decks! Come in store today to buy one of our boards and have your own #TransformationTuesday learning how to be down with the kidz!???????? #charitytuesday#skateboarding#socentpic.twitter.com/CECqn3UFEx
— Circle Collective (@circlecollectiv) April 9, 2019
“Some have mental health problems or huge confidence issues,” Humphreys continues. “Loads just don’t have the money to even get to a job interview. And it’s more difficult than ever to get a job without work experience nowadays – which you can’t get without a job. They’re receiving no support from the government.”
In 2010, Humphreys found herself at the helm of a local charity shop and was struck by an idea. She went to her nearest job centre and asked for nine young people to come on board as staff. The project grew into Circle Collective.