Jimmy Carter visits Spear project
The former United States President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Jimmy Carter, paid a visit to St Paul’s Hammersmith to learn more about the work of Spear, an employment coaching programme for disadvantaged young people.
The Spear programme is hosted at the church’s recently opened St Paul’s Centre.
Mr Carter warmly endorsed the value of the programme, joking that he himself wished he had attended the course as so many of the lessons it teaches took him years to learn.
Past and present students shared their experience of Spear with Mr Carter, who said that Spear’s achievement of seeing 75% of its graduates remain in work or further education a year later was extremely impressive. He added that he would like to see more Spear programmes in the UK and that he believed Spear’s approach would also be beneficial in the United States.
Tom Jackson, Chief Executive of Spear, responded with a short address, saying:
"We dare to believe there are young people in our midst, even this morning, who will make a transformational mark in our nation. For this reason, it is a special day for us to be visited by a leader who has personally demonstrated how much can be achieved."
Afterwards, representatives from Spear were invited to meet with Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland. The events were organised by the Elders, a small group of global leaders working for peace and human rights. They were visiting the UK to promote Mandela Day and the role people play in making a difference in their communities.
For more information on Spear see spearcourse.org.