Gaming and esports non-profit organisation Esports Youth Club has launched an Esports Academy in partnership with Changing Lives Lambeth, an initiative run by the London council of Lambeth.
The free academy will kick off on October 18th and provide 40 structured esports training sessions for young people from the London borough.
Esports Youth Club (EYC) is a non-profit social enterprise that provides facilities, structure and equipment to widen access to esports amongst young people in South London.
The Lambeth Esports Academy will offer 40 free, structured esports training sessions to local youth. EYC said the programme will run across 36 weeks and provide participants with access to gaming equipment and guidance from esports professionals.
Sessions include a free hot meal and team members will be provided with team kit. Participants will also be taken on trips and given the chance to meet professional gamers, according to EYC. Signups are currently open to young people aged 10-18.
The aim is to put together a team to compete in tournaments while also providing career insights and experience in the UK gaming industry, the organisation said. EYC hopes the Academy will help players to build community by leveraging their passions, while also improving their skills inside and outside the game.
The Esports Academy programme is supported by the Changing Lives Social Value Fund, a social value initiative run by Lambeth council in partnership with private companies. The fund, which supports a range of projects, said it was ‘delighted’ to support the Esports Academy project in a release.
Esports Youth Club co-founder Mark Bird commented: “We’re so excited to launch the Esports Academy; we’ve been putting on free gaming sessions across Lambeth for 2 years now and have seen some great talent come through.
“The Esports Academy will allow our most dedicated and talented youth gamers to flourish through structured sessions, invaluable industry insight and an environment to excel at their passion.”
Esports Youth Club was founded in 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and now runs a range of sessions promoting gaming, esports and community building amongst young people in South London.
The non-profit said it engaged over 650 youths in 2022, and that 80% of the young people it works with do not attend any other youth clubs or sports.