Former Olympic sprinter Kriss Akabusi launches project at Carrow Road

Former Olympian Kriss Akabusi MBE at the Project Macenzie launch event at Carrow Road Stadium in Nor

Former Olympian Kriss Akabusi MBE at the Project Macenzie launch event at Carrow Road Stadium in Norwich. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Former Olympian and media personality Kriss Akabusi has launched his new project to support care experienced young people in Norfolk. 

Project Mackenzie will create a tailor-made four-week programme for a group of 20 young people aged 16-19 to develop their skills and support them into employment and education.

The potentially life-changing initiative is being run by Norfolk County Council’s Virtual School for Children in Care and Previously in Care and The Akabusi Company.

Over his career doing relay and hurdles, Mr Akabusi won three Olympic medals, three World Championships medals, and three European Championships medals.

Former Olympian Kriss Akabusi MBE and The Virtual School for Children in Care staff members, Jamie R

Former Olympian Kriss Akabusi MBE and The Virtual School for Children in Care staff members, Jamie Robson, learning and employment advisor, Clare Cloves, post sixteen advisor, June Sewell, head, and Anna Hogg, advisor for looked after children, at the Project Mackenzie launch event at Carrow Road Stadium in Norwich. - Credit: Danielle Booden

The Olympian has since appeared frequently on panel shows like a Question of Sport and Through the Keyhole and also worked on shows like the Big Breakfast and Come Dine With Me.

Speaking at the launch at Norwich City's Carrow Road ground, Mr Akabusi, who is care experienced himself, said: "I’m delighted to bring Project Mackenzie to Norfolk. The young people who take part in the project will have the opportunity to meet with local employers and have access to expert training across a variety of areas.

“When I was growing up in the care system, meeting someone like Sgt Mackenzie quite literally changed my life. To have someone identify and nurture potential in me, helped me go after my dreams with passion, pride, and a can-do attitude.”

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John Fisher, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This is an exciting project and a great opportunity for our care experienced young people to learn valuable skills to help prepare them for work, training or further education.

Former Olympian Kriss Akabusi MBE at the Project Macenzie launch event at Carrow Road Stadium in Nor

Former Olympian Kriss Akabusi MBE at the Project Macenzie launch event at Carrow Road Stadium in Norwich. - Credit: Danielle Booden

“The most important thing is that we will be making sure they feel fully supported throughout the programme to make the most of this opportunity and we will continue to provide support afterwards.”

Project Mackenzie was first run by The Grand Union Housing Group and The Akabusi Company in 2013 and has helped a total of eight groups of young people.

The programme will run in November and will include opportunities for the young people to meet with local employers and training providers as well as receive specialist advice on areas including money management, safe social media, CV writing and interview skills.

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