Lewisham Gateway Guest Blog: Matt Lewendon

06.12.23 4 min read by Matt Lewendon, Circle Collective

Circle Collective: Giving young people valuable insights at Lewisham Gateway

Matt Lewendon, Director of Operations at Circle Collective, a social enterprise and charity, explores how Lewisham Gateway has offered young people enriching insights into the built environment

For over a decade, Circle Collective has been helping unemployed and disadvantaged young people to secure sustainable employment in an industry they care about. As part of this mission, we have been working with Muse open the door to Lewisham Gateway and offer young people rare insights into the world of transformational redevelopments.

At Circle Collective, we operate streetwear stores across London, including at Lewisham Shopping Centre, where young people are able to gain valuable work experience, providing them with skills, training and confidence as a springboard into a career. Through our partnership with Muse, Circle Collective has been able to do even more to support young people in Lewisham. We have been working alongside Muse to give our young people the opportunity to experience the construction of Lewisham Gateway – a flagship redevelopment which is ushering in a renewal of Lewisham’s town centre.

On visits, our young people came across hard hats and boots, often for the first time, and were given a tour of the site, which included being introduced to many members of staff. Many of our young people initially had a misconception that job opportunities at construction sites were reserved for builders, but we were able to show them that it is in fact a microcosm of employment: the site also hosts engineers, administrators, lawyers, and more. The insights offered by staff onsite helped provide truly valuable insights into a world many of them had not considered.

Circle Collective on site at Lewisham Gateway

We are passionate about youth employment and supporting the next generation to fulfil their potential, and Lewisham Gateway has helped us to meet this purpose. Indeed, two of our beneficiaries are now going to be doing work experience at the Lewisham Gateway site off the back of the visit.

Our partnership with Muse has been successful because of our shared vision for helping local young people into employment. The value of welcoming young people to see such a significant development first hand cannot be overstated, not only for opening the curtain to a new industry, but for ensuring that local young people feel part of the process delivering this major transformation.

While our partnership with Muse has helped us provide further support to our growing network of beneficiaries, the Circle Collective are also excited about the development of Lewisham’s night economy which this transformation is catalysing. The new leisure and hospitality offering in the local area will enrich communities in Lewisham, meaning that more people will not only remain here but move here, too. This will lead to more access for our young people to be able to go into new and exciting local jobs.

Our work at together at Lewisham Gateway marks the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership with Muse and our trainees, helping disadvantaged young people to make positive steps into permanent work.


Circle Collective supports young people experiencing a range of barriers to find permanent, life-changing work. The charity, Circle Community, runs a successful Back Your Future programme, while its social enterprise, Circle Collective, runs three streetwear stores that serve as a training ground for our young people. Profits from the streetwear stores are reinvested back into the training of young people to help tackle youth unemployment in London.

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