Case studies

Kasey Newton


Kasey Newton

Kasey applied to join the The Foundation’s London Olympic Course when she was 17. She was living in the East End of London with her mother and working in Poundland. After five weeks intensive training with John Cole, documenting the impact of the 2012 Olympic Games on London, she went on to work with the charity for the following nine years.

Opportunities presented to her include photographing celebrities – Dame Judi Dench, Idris Elba and Hugh Bonneville, working with film crews to document production work and with musicians such as The Blockheads as well as photographing fashion shows for prestigious companies such as LK Bennett. Kasey travelled with the charity to Brazil where she worked as a newly qualified trainer, supporting John Cole and mentoring disadvantaged young people from the favelas of São Paulo, during the FIFA World Cup 2014.

She continued this work on her return to the UK, before travelling independently to China where she now teaches youngsters in Beijing, in their mother tongue – Cantonese!

“Before the course I didn’t know a lot of people and didn’t have a great deal of confidence in myself. I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career or how to get where I wanted to go. I was working in Poundland, Stratford East. Now I’m in China, teaching my own students. I would never have had the confidence to do this if it wasn’t for Wembley To Soweto.

I can’t begin to express the difference the course has made to my life. I could not imagine where I would be now if It wasn’t for this amazing project. It has completely and utterly changed my life. It has given me confidence in myself. The team have given me skills not only with photography but life-skills as well. I have met and photographed so many amazing people. Without the charity I would have never got the opportunity to go to the other side of the world to help teach more students in Brazil. This course just keeps on giving and passing on skills. It is truly an amazing project and I wish to see it continue to keep growing.”

Thapelo Motsumi


Thapelo Motsumi

Life before the course

Thapelo says:
“My life was ordinary. The fear of what I was going to do with my life was coming to reality now I was in high school. Half of us will do township management, as most young South Africans will do because of school drop out and teen pregnancy issues”.

Life after the course

Thapelo says:
“Being introduced to photography has transformed my thinking. I think positively about my community now, and document the strengths of the people and how they use learning to better their life. My photography has helped my self-confidence and I am more driven.

“The course has changed my life in various ways. I am doing more teaching and passing on the knowledge that I learned from the course. In this respect I was chosen to teach kids in Brazil during the FIFA World Cup. The purpose is to share our stories and carry the movement forward so that it’s not just us – other kids can benefit from the same experiences and we can work together towards a better tomorrow in our current world.

“Amazingly I became the youngest student ever to be accepted onto the photojournalism course at The Market Theatre Photolab, and after this the first black staff photographer at The Johannesburg Star Newspaper. I am a professional photographer now working with different media houses, shooting events. This is an other example of how the course has benefited me and others: I can feed my family through a camera, just like David and John used to say to us.”

Karmen Royal

Karmen Royal

Age 20. UK
Unemployed & Homeless

Following intensive photographic training with The Foundation, Karmen has:

  • Had photographs published in The Guardian
  • Exhibited globally and learned to curate her own shows
  • Developed a portfolio
  • Grown in confidence
  • Taken on a mentoring role for The Foundation for further courses, developing leadership skills
  • Worked as assistant DOP for The Foundation
  • Been invited to be photographer at The Media Society Awards dinner
  • Been invited to be official photographer at many society events
  • Taught for The Foundation on two Premier League courses
  • Developed an online magazine for The Foundation
  • Been offered an internship with Canon
  • Taken up a teaching role in a collaboration with Leica on a project working with former gang members in Los Angeles
  • Found paid employment

Charlie Law

Watford FC

Charlie was already interested in photography before joining the course but had little technical knowledge, claiming he only knew how to ‘point and shoot.’ By his own admission, he also felt unconfident in a group setting and uncomfortable with the thought of being with or speaking with people he didn’t know.

By the end of the course, his pictures showed he had developed the technical ability to take outstanding photographs. He freely spoke out in class, offering up his ideas without prompting, he fully engaged in teamwork and took portrait shots of people without hesitation.

In Charlie’s words:

“I was anxious and excited about joining the Wembley to Soweto course. I had heard about the opportunity from the Employability PL Works in Watford and felt lucky to be chosen but I was apprehensive to meet new people. However, the course has been brilliant. The whole style of teaching helped me gain confidence. There’s so much support and individual one-to-one help plus so much of the teaching and learning is outside the classroom that I’ve been able to really relax and enjoy it all.

“Before the course I’d never have gone up to stall owners at Ridley Road Market and ask if I could take their picture but now I feel I could do the whole assignment again, on my own! I probably won’t – but I could!

“I didn’t believe I could achieve much really, before I came on this course. Now I think a career in media or photography is a real possibility. I’d not have thought about a career in editing or photojournalism either but this course has taught me so much about photography and opened up doors. My horizons have been broadened without doubt.”

Hakeem Ranger

Arsenal FC

Hakeem was familiar with the teaching environment before the course, having worked with Arsenal In The Community before. He had always enjoyed creative projects and prior to joining the course had used a digital camera but never had any lessons.

In Hakeem’s words:

“Before joining the course I’d spent time learning how to cook and I enjoyed gardening. I was particularly interested in joining the course so that I could learn how to take sharper, more interesting photographs.

“I really enjoyed being part of the course and part of the small group. Of all the assignments I most liked working in and around the Arsenal, especially on the assignments that focused around sport.

“Knowing Arsenal in the Community, where the course was held, I felt quite relaxed about joining a course with new people and I was excited to develop my skills and understanding of photography.

“The teaching was really good and I’ve learnt a lot. I am now looking forward to exhibiting, to show my work but I’d also like to help other students and share what I have learnt.

Mitchell Broomfield

Southampton FC

Mitch had previously faced challenges in group situations but quickly integrated into the Communities In Focus group and demonstrated enthusiasm and teamwork. He was always proactive – asking questions, eager to learn more and diligent in his efforts to understand every assignment. He learnt how to manage a variety of situations – from taking photographs pitch-side to paying a hotel bill! He has expressed his wish to continue working with the charity and pass on his knowledge to others.

In Mitch’s own words:

“I had never used a SLR digital camera before the course and hadn’t really thought about learning photography but as soon I heard about Wembley to Soweto and the opportunity and how the course would run, I didn’t bat an eye-lid: I really wanted to join.

“I did have concerns though: I‘m not good in large groups and although it’s been a fairly small group I was also worried that we wouldn’t all gel and speak to each other. But it’s been brilliant. Everyone’s got on and we’ve worked so well as a team. My confidence has grown so much I feel I could do anything now, anything I put my mind to.

“I’ve learnt I really love sports photography and not just because it’s busy, loud and fun! The Saint’s Foundation has been amazing and they have already found ways to help me use my photography at the club. For example, I’ve just discovered I will be working pitchside for the Under 18’s – so things are already starting to happen and I’m excited about that.

“The three leaders – David, John and Susan have been amazing and so supportive but it’s been absolutely fantastic having Karmen and Victor. Having mentors who’ve been through what we experience on the course is really helpful and, I’m not being funny but they are more our age so that helps at times.

“I definitely want to continue to use my photography and I want to be involved with Wembley to Soweto going forward so I’m going to speak to David and put my name down for being a mentor. Who knew, eh? That I’d have this passion and belief I could do this after only a few weeks. It’s been amazing.

Natasha Thompson

Fulham FC

Before joining the course, Tasha had shown an interest in photography but did not own a digital camera and had therefore only been able to take photographs using her mobile phone. She was excited at the prospect of learning how to us a digital camera and improve her creative ability.

On the first day she was happy to contribute her comments and make jokes but seemed to find concentrating for any length of time quite challenging. By the end of the course she was fully engaged in listening to others, assessing her work, generously complimenting the rest of the group.

In Tasha’s own words:

“Before the course, I had always wanted to learn photography. I really wanted to increase my understanding and technical knowledge but it’s impossible to really learn with a mobile phone and I couldn’t afford a proper camera so I was looking forward to joining up and working with a digital camera.

“I’d never had any photography lessons so it was a lot to learn but I loved being given a big range of different assignments and learning about taking photographs in different situations.

“The teaching was quite intense but that was good because it pushed you to learn all the time. One of the biggest challenges for me was learning how to be decisive: what images to keep and which ones to delete.

“The mentors were really helpful. Victor and Karmen were great role models – they’d been on the course so could relate to what we needed. It was great having them around.

“I’ve now learnt so much about photography and I’ve also learnt that I’m better when I’ve got clear goals and I know what I need to achieve. What I’d now like to do is become a freelance photographer, ideally photographing sport or working in an area around mental health to capture the stories of those who are socially excluded from society.”

Sonny Vaye

West Ham United FC

Sonny had previously used a digital camera before joining the course. He was interested in digital technology and had used a SLR camera to make a short film but he didn’t have much in depth technical knowledge of how to shoot in a variety of settings.

Probably the quietest member of the group, Sonny was diligent and always willing to learn more.

In Sonny’s words:

“The benefit of a small group is that we can easily communicate and share ideas. We can be heard and we get to know each other well.

“It’s been a great course and a great opportunity for me. I think it was for all of us really.

“I’ve learnt so much from John – techniques, styles and how to use a camera in different settings.

“I definitely want to keep taking photographs and would be really interested in working with the group as a mentor, in the same way Victor and Karmen do.

“Thank you for having me. It’s been a brilliant opportunity.”