Expanding the Street Factory Kingdom – Plymouth’s force for good obtains official charity status

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Authored by Mary
Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2020 - 11:01

It’s official! Plymouth-based social collective Street Factory is delighted to announce that they have officially become a charity after more than a year of active campaigning to make the Hip Hop dream come true under the name “Street Factory Give Back”.

Street Factory, run by married couple Toby and Jo Gorniak, was set up 14 years ago and has since supported young people via access to Hip Hop dance sessions, mentoring, clothing, food and vital transport through an unspoken sponsorship based on their individual needs. The new charity status will allow for an even greater impact to help the people in the community who need it the most through fundraising, funding streams and gift aid.

With its new charity status, Street Factory is hoping to increase its capacity to help in new ways that will really make a difference for its members. This could for example be helping with driving lessons, supporting with vital tools so that they can start their own businesses, providing laptops to help them complete their education or helping with a deposit for a flat so they can have a safe space to live.

Some of the issues and challenges facing the Street Factory community include bullying, mental health issues of all kinds, low aspiration, racism, poverty, ageism, special and additional needs, homelessness, unemployment and lack of immediate opportunities. The Street Factory service therefore supports a major number of people through these personal journeys on a day-to-day basis.

During the COVID-19 lockdown period, Toby G has continued his transformational mentoring programme ‘Creating Change’ which allowed him to continue to wrap his arms around those who needed him the most. This mentoring programme empowers the members to reach their full potential, discover their own personal genius, and live their best lives despite the challenges of COVID-19. Toby and Jo now feel the natural progression to becoming a charity is the last piece of the puzzle as it will allow access to a dream based on the proverb “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.

Street Factory is also in the process of raising funds for its very own ‘Hip Hop Kingdom’, which will hold the first Hip Hop theatre in the UK, a music studio, film and media suite, community café, dance studio and a safe space for the community to call home. This international centre will be built in the heart of Plymouth and will unite people from all over, nurturing home-grown talent. The team is currently fundraising and is hoping to reach the target of 3.5 million by 2021.

Richard Stevens DL, Board Member and Managing Director of Plymouth Citybus and Trustee of the New Charity, said: “I am hugely proud to be working on this exciting new charity born out of the amazing Street Factory; I believe that as we come out of the national emergency the people we aim to support will need us more than ever. By enabling access to Hip Hop culture, we are helping vulnerable people reclaim their lives and dignity by improving their health and wellbeing.”

Jo Gorniak said: “We are beyond excited about the direction we are now taking Street Factory in. Becoming a charity means so much as it opens up doors that we previously have not been able to open and will help us achieve our ultimate goal: to support more people in the community. We want to continue to help our ‘family’ by giving them independence, pride and empowerment through Hip Hop and a positive environment. Everyone, no matter your background, abilities or start in life, deserves the opportunity to access positive activities and talent should be nurtured to grow. The foundation to all the work that we do here is based on five pillars that we value above all else: respect, peace, love, unity and fun. This will also be the foundation to the charity and will do exactly what it says on the tin.” 

Toby Gorniak MBE said: “Throughout the years we have seen many young people be completely transformed after walking through our doors. It makes us incredibly proud every time someone spreads their wings and realises the potential that lives within them. Our first big project as a charity is to raise enough funds to create the ‘Hip Hop Kingdom’ in the heart of Plymouth. We feel there is a need for this venue now more than ever, especially with the divide we are currently experiencing through Black Live Matters and uncertainty of the pandemic. The Hip Hop Kingdom will be a safe place for many young people and we hope to raise the full amount as soon as possible.”

If you are interested in the great work that Street Factory is continually doing for the community in Plymouth and beyond or to find out how to donate, please visit www.streetfactory.co.uk or the charity’s social media streams.

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