During the October half-term, we at Esports Youth Club teamed up with some of our favourite people over at 2k games to host an NBA2k23 themed pop-up space in Brixton for 9 consecutive days. This space proved to be a wonderful spot for young people to come through and play the latest video games. On top of this, they had the chance to participate in our tournaments, win some great prizes, eat some hot food, demonstrate the latest Fortnite dances (as always), chill and make some new friends.
The team here at EYC are finally back to full energy after hosting the super intense, and highly rewarding pop-up. The space, rented to us kindly via the great people at Bureau of Silly Ideas, presented an ideal location for us to set up shop for the week. It was situated in a railway archway just off Brixton Station Road and had an excellent layout which enabled us to line the walls with consoles - PS5’s, PS4’s, Xbox’s and a high-spec gaming PC to finish it off. The PC was provided to us by our amazing partner Frankie Ward, who has helped EYC immensely on our journey so far.
EYC staff members setting up the space
So, we set ourselves up with a perfect space to operate in, with some pretty handy equipment ready to be used. Now we just needed to fill the space with excited, local young people! We collaborated with many of our existing partners and a few new ones throughout the week - all of them inspiring community groups and charities doing amazing work for young people in Lambeth and south London. Check out the list of partners we worked with below, or by checking out our post on Insta here:
Opening Saturday & Sunday
We kicked off the pop-up with our opening weekend being open to the public. All local young people were able to come through, completely free of charge, use the space to play latest video games including NBA2k23, get some hot food and interact with other people there. It was great to see some new people attend, as well as some familiar faces from our previous sessions! Shout out to my Uber driver who came and dropped his kids off after seeing the set up on the Friday.
Some of the young people on the open weekend
With the first weekend complete, the EYC staff’s spirits were high for the upcoming week. We had already experienced some really great moments with the young people over the weekend, and our partners 2k were very generous in supplying some codes for NBA2k23 for some of the early entrants.
Monday - High Trees
Moving onto Monday, we welcomed the amazing High Trees group who are based in Tulse Hill Estate. We had been running some sessions earlier in the year over at Tulse Hill Estate, so it was really great to see some of the young people attend on Monday. Fair to say that they definitely seemed to have an amazing time - the energy levels were through the roof. The young people were locked in all afternoon which was great to see, and we split up the session by getting some pizzas in which went down a treat. To add to the energy levels, some truly great gaming technique and skill was put on display, lots of real talent to come from Tulse Hill as you would expect. We expect to see some professional gamers from the area in the years to come, that’s for sure. Oh, and hopefully we’ll be back running sessions in Tulse Hill Estate soon, to help to aid this journey of success for the young people.
Showing some of the young'uns the ropes!
Tuesday - Step Out Mentoring, Brixton TopCats
Next up, we welcomed two groups through the doors on Tuesday. We kicked off the day with local charity for young people, Step Out Mentoring, which was a really nice relaxed session, filled with good games, music and hot food for all. Immediately after, we welcomed in Brixton TopCats for the first of two sessions with them. We were so happy to see the amount of people come through the doors - around 25 young people all getting involved. We hosted a super intense quick-fire NBA tournament, and gave out copies of the new game to 6 lucky winners!
Well, I don’t think there was much luck involved… The level of play on display was to a super high standard, as to be expected from the local basketball legends! Some of the young people had been practicing during the week leading up to it, which we love to see. The practice definitely paid off.
Some of the competitors and proud winners
Wednesday & Thursday Afternoon - CEFI & SLRA
During the week, we were graced by two wonderful organisations - CEFI & South London Refugee Organisation. This was a time for the young people who were part of these organisations to experience latest gen games on next gen consoles for the first time. It was an amazing opportunity for us to be able to guide them through this journey, showing them the ropes on a range of games and eating really good local food along the way - shoutout to the Afghan Kitchen Brixton supplying us with a beautiful lunch! The young people left the sessions with smiles on their faces so we were happy too. We trust that we will be seeing you guys again for future sessions.
Some of the young people through our doors on the opening weekend
Thursday Evening - Brixton Topcats Round 2
After a more relaxing couple of sessions, the Brixton Topcats were back meaning business on Thursday night. Loads more fresh young faces turned up to ball, and we captured more stunning moments of NBA2k23 play. We hosted another tournament which was another roaring, intense session with plenty of prizes up for grabs. Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you again to Brixton Topcats for coming through. Your vibes are always on point, but you know that already!
NBA2k23 getting worked!
A tense & fun game
Friday - Cadets
Wrapping up the half-term of partners and local organisations, we finally said hello to the young people of Lambeth Volunteer Police Cadets through the pop-up. Their energy was really positive and they didn’t waste any time in getting involved in all of the games we had on offer. We hosted them from around 10am-3pm, with some of the more eager young people turning up before 10am to get some extra gaming in! We have to respect the hustle!
Winners and competitors from the local cadets
Final Open Weekend & Closing
The second open weekend of the popup was a beautiful way to finish the event. Numbers were high, with people queuing outside the doors before we opened both days! Young people who had attended in the week with an organisation, came back independently to hang out with their friends and get some solid gaming in. It was fantastic to see young people from a range of different organisation play games and compete together with such positivity the whole way through. It truly felt like a real community hub with a lot of families filling up the sofa areas and relaxing while young people joked over the latest games. This moment on the last weekend really captivated us and proved just what Esports Youth Club can provide to young people.
On top of this, the event as a whole would not have been possible without the help and support of the team at 2k. We want to extend a huge thank you to you, and can’t wait to see what we are able to cook up next.
Finally, if you made it all the way to the end of this update, then thank you, I appreciate you!
Please get in touch if you’d like to collaborate on future projects with EYC, drop me an email via Lewis.Kay@esportsyouthclub.org. Until then, keep your eyes peeled for our next events!
The EYC core team - Mark, Fin and Lewis