Mariah grew up in one of the country’s most deprived areas in Southwark. Here, unemployment is extremely high, and many young people don’t see university as a possibility.

Mariah is 13 and has always been shy. Before we met her, she thought she’d be shy her whole life and didn’t think she was good enough to go to university.  

Taking part in the SportInspired Young Leader programme changed this. Mariah developed key communication skills and learnt that she didn’t need to be shy and worry about what other people think or do.

She had the opportunity to visit Oxford University where she had a tour of the campus and listened to talks on university life, courses and future careers by students from the university.

Seeing the other schools on the university visit and hearing stories from students and lecturers on campus she now believes she can attend university.

Mariah is now more outgoing in class, putting up her hand to offer opinions and discussing subjects with classmates.

We asked her how she feels now: “I’m more confident about taking my GCSE’s, I think even if you don’t do your best you can still do better in the future!”