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I first became aware of Elevated Minds CIC at a presentation for Metropolitan Police Recruits at Hendon earlier this year and was amazed at the raw honesty that was being allowed to be delivered to the recruits, something I know would never have happened before George Floyd.

I have observed closely since, weary of this not lasting or waiting for some interference from someone high up the chain dictating the narrative. In all honesty, I have seen none of that, but instead, I have since grown empathy and understanding. I have witnessed a real coming together of hearts and minds. Don’t get me wrong; I am not naive to the fact that there are still many barriers and hurdles to overcome. However, through steady partnership and the continued desire to put our differences aside for the greater good, I am cautiously optimistic that we are on the right path.

Elevated Minds was formed by Doreen Sinclair-McCollin and Akeila Browne as a result of working with vulnerable young people who were permanently excluded from mainstream schools. Many young people had very low self-esteem, believing that they were incapable of academic success or academic progress. Their attitude toward the education system was very much nothing to lose, nothing to gain!

Interview with Co Founder Akeila Browne of Elevated Minds.
Interview with Doreen Sinclair (CEO ELEVATED MINDS) @ the 2022 Awards.

The main focus of Elevated Minds is to give young people alternative strategies to improve Mental Health & Well-being, focusing on social and emotional development, leadership skills and entrepreneurial skills.  We deliver accredited, early intervention programmes to improve the emotional intelligence of predominantly BAME vulnerable young people permanently excluded from mainstream school, on the verge of exclusion or those regularly absent from school. We guide young people to learn alternative strategies that will build self-esteem, build emotional intelligence and resilience by showing them how to think and learn and shift their mindset to determine better future outcomes and increase their locusts of control. Young people will acquire the skills and attitudes necessary to be productive and responsible in their communities and develop their independence.

Young people will feel empowered by developing their self-awareness, self-knowledge and self-insight through a strengths-based coaching approach. Their first step to a successful self is engagement and participation in the IDENTITY Project, followed by engagement in the Leadership Programme.

The Evening’s Awards 

The evening’s awards were to celebrate the achievements of all the young people that had passed through the Elevated Aspirations programme as well as those who have played key roles in ensuring the success of the programme, including ex-headteacher Doreen Sinclair-McCollin, Mindset Coach Akeila Browne, Commander Dr Alison Heydari, Metropolitan Police Safer Schools Officer Nsikan Etuk, retired Chief Superintendent Dr Victor Olisa QPM, Superintendent Daniel Ivey, Detective Constable of Specialist Crimes Parveen Raheeman, Constable Joy Kyei, businesswoman Dixie-Anne Joseph, Barrister Stephen Akinsanya, John Azah OBE, Dr Mark Prince OBE of Kyan Prince Foundation, retired Executive Principal Devon Hanson, NATO Trainer David Otto and Gangsline Founder Sheldon Thomas.   

One of our own regularly featured resident columnist on Black Wall St. Media – Anthony Peltier, has had a 40-year career in education, including 17 years as a headteacher in the Primary phase and Executive Headteacher for a group of secondary PRUs. He is also an Ambassador at Elevated Minds CIC.

The ceremony was held at one of London’s best-kept secret venues who came to the rescue in the 11th hour after the London City Hall venue fell through. But as they say, everything happens for a reason, and in the view of many that attended the event, the location and the ambience could not have been more perfect.

The event saw an audience of Community Champions past, present and future and although the evening was to celebrate Elevated Minds, what I saw take place was a meeting and celebration of Hearts and Minds. Elevated Minds demonstrated what can be achieved through determination, passion and collaboration.

What is important to understand is that this project was born out of the Black Community to serve the whole Community. As I have always stated, we are best placed to understand and remedy our problems and uplift our community. With the help of other organisations such as the Met Police, we can truly build trust and confidence on both sides.

At a time when there seems to be so much negative news around young people, in particular, young black people and their poor relationship with the Metropolitan Police, it was refreshing to be part of an evening of hope and togetherness as the young people who were there to celebrate spoke about their experiences and perceptions of police before and after the programme. They spoke about how through learning more about the challenges of policing and getting to know individual officers, they now saw officers as individuals instead of all the same. They now understand the importance of their role in society to be the change they want to see, whereby they themselves be positive role models and leaders within society through their chosen vocation.

During the evening, we also heard from the most senior officers of the Metropolitan Police Service, Acting Deputy Commissioner Helen Ball, Commander Ade Adelekan, Commander Helen Harper and Dr Commander Alison Heydari, the highest ranking Black female officer in the UK. They spoke about their journey into policing and why they felt it was important to represent.

We spent the evening entranced by the most talented pianists and singers who kept us captivated with their brilliance and reminded us of actually how much-untapped talent there is in our community and why work like that undertaken by Elevated Minds is so important in unlocking that talent and assisting young people in finding the ability to look inside and discover how brilliant they are and how valuable they are to society.

Ultimately, I think what we all witnessed on the night was the proof in the pudding that programmes like Elevated Aspirations, with the right support and funding, can deliver on the Mayor’s Action plan, which is why I felt it was so important to attend this event, volunteer my services to work alongside them and get the message out there that hope is coming, that change will come, but now it depends on us to share, support and get that message out there to all the right places.  Our future depends on the need for money to be poured into programmes such as Elevated Minds.

As Commander Adelekan stated during his closing speech on the evening, ” Do this for your community.”


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