Reaching Higher

“The government doesn’t provide enough funding for places like this, where they recognise the issues we face, try to help us and reduce societal problems too.”

London

Charity location

£79,880

Grant size

4 years

Funding period

Our partnership

Reaching Higher is a small, local charity in South Norwood, statistically one of London’s most deprived areas. The charity empowers local young people to break cycles of disadvantage and make positive decisions; helping them navigate challenges like academic exclusion, a rising drug culture and lack of career opportunities. Among them, those leaving care contend with additional challenges: they’re often in shared housing with people they might not know or find easy to live with, and they have to learn to cook, clean and budget, while going to college and being a ‘normal’ teenager.

The grant of £79,880 funds the charity’s main projects for care leavers as Chief Executive Mark Hobbs says “experience taught us that stigmatising care leavers isn’t helpful.”

Leadership and Personal Development Lead Cathryn Jackson adds: “We used to have a programme solely for care leavers, but we learnt that integrated programmes help them more. They get all the main benefits like everyone else but they can also build a strong friendship circle and have a chance to discover another side of themselves.”

Our funding contributes to programmes like Leadership in Training (LIT), where care leavers take part alongside other young people in sessions which build confidence, offer career guidance and academic support, and help with life skills like cooking and budgeting.

Reaching Higher also offers care leavers one-to-one mentoring to give them more intensive support. Cathryn explains:

“We do everything from being a listening ear to working out a budget together and accompanying them food shopping. It’s like being a big sister – a source of support and sometimes, an advocate too.”

Reaching Higher is hugely valued by the young people it supports, who feel they’re often forgotten in society. According to one LIT participant, Simon:

“If you’re in an unhealthy household or you don’t have any positive role models, you’re less likely to go to college or university and maybe you get involved in drugs or something, so you end up falling through the gaps and becoming another statistic in the cycle.”

Another participant, 15-year-old Lovena, adds:

“The government doesn’t provide enough funding for places like this, where they recognise the issues we face and try to help us and reduce societal problems too.”

Reaching Higher believes their Lloyds Bank Foundation grant gives them long-term stability and helps them achieve longer-term success.

Mark said: “We’re all about empowering overlooked young people to be the change in their communities and it’s powerful to realise that with a grant lasting four years, we can raise a whole new generation of leaders.”

Reaching Higher also received developmental support to strengthen their website and social media. Cathryn says the depth and benefits of the support both surpassed her expectations:

“I thought he was just going to pull up our website and tell us things that needed changing like remove a picture from here and there. But actually, it was a lot more focused than that. We talked about what we do as an organisation and what sets us apart from other charities before we even began thinking about what we want to get out of our communications. Now we use social media strategically and with a clear purpose. Whenever I upload a photo, I think ‘what is the goal of this post?’ and it’s paying off – more young people are engaging with us online, which translates into more lives changed when they walk through our doors.”

We’re all about empowering overlooked young people to be the change in their communities and it’s powerful to realise that with a grant lasting four years, we can raise a whole new generation of leaders.

Mark Hobbs, Chief Executive, Reaching Higher

What do we mean by Care Leavers?

People who are currently managing the transition from having spent time in care as a child. Such care could be in foster care, residential care, or other arrangements.

Our Impact on Care Leavers in 2018

6

new grants to charities helping people leaving care

62

partnerships with charities supporting Care Leavers

2.8

years is the average length of our grants for Care Leaver charities

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