Big Brother Burngreave: Leaving party held as Sheffield youth leaders pass on the baton to successors

Two teenagers have come to the end of their journey as inspiring youth leaders in Sheffield – and they were waved off with a grand farewell as the pair left for university.

Wednesday, 7th August 2019, 4:08 pm
Abdul Malik, left, and Sahal Barre, right, with fellow Big Brother Burngreave member Tesfahun Awoke, centre
Abdul Malik, left, and Sahal Barre, right, with fellow Big Brother Burngreave member Tesfahun Awoke, centre

Big Brother Burngreave, which offers activities to dissuade young people from getting caught up in dangerous gang culture, is an important initiative in an area where the majority of residents are black or from other ethnic backgrounds.

Leaders Sahal Barre and Abdul Malik, both 19, headed football training sessions and took members under their wing. Now they are both about to start courses in sports therapy at Leeds Beckett University.

“Big Brother Burngreave has changed my life,” said Sahal. “I started this project three years ago to keep me focused and off the streets. One of the biggest things I will take and keep with me is to always take a risk and don’t be scared to fail.”

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He said his family had kept him focused on the project.

“My mum has a lot of trust in me and I didn’t want to break that trust. I’ve got other siblings that look up to me as well, so I wanted to make sure I stay on the right track. I didn’t want my mum to lose all her kids just because one of them went the wrong way.”

Well-wishers gathered at the Virgin Money Lounge in Sheffield city centre for a leaving party. Games and workshops were held, and there was music and food.

Salah and Abdul were presented with gifts, a cake and certificates for their dedicated efforts.

Atiba Lyons, a coach with the Sheffield Sharks basketball team, attended to show his support. “The emotion we’ve seen today is passion and love,” he said.

Community worker and mentor Lloyd Samuels said a few words of encouragement as well.

“You guys are more than a community project - you’re a family,” he said. “Us as community workers in this city dream of a room like this.

“I started off in the same spot where I was volunteering in a youth club and I’ve elevated to other things but you guys are going to go way further than me because we’re going to support you. Keep doing what you’re doing, we all see you and we are all proud of you.”

Pauline Neita, mum to a Big Brother Burngreave member, said: “I’m proud of the organisation and what they’ve done together. They are good positive role models – my son loves it.”

New leaders Tyrone Opoku Yeoah and Rafiqe Sabran will take over from Sahal and Abdul.