ReachOut was founded in 1994 by Xavier Bosch, Joe Evans and Brian Kerrigan. They were concerned that poverty and family breakdown were barriers which stopped many young people taking full advantage of the educational opportunities offered by society. As a result many young people were not able to reach their full potential, often because they lacked support in the community and the character to make good choices. Parallel to this was the fact that thousands of young adults were going through university education with minimal engagement with their local community and finishing with little more than a degree.
Starting out as a simple homework club, ReachOut developed into a more formal mentoring project which led to the university student volunteers becoming much more than just tutors. They developed long, lasting relationships with the young people they supported, and became mentors, big brothers, big sisters, role models. They helped the young people to improve their academic skills, but more importantly they also helped the young people develop character.
ReachOut grew in Manchester, and expanded to work in London at the request of Hackney Council in 2004. We changed the way we work so that working people could also become mentors in 2007, and now over 600 people volunteer as a mentor with ReachOut weekly.
ReachOut isn’t just a place to keep children and young people off the streets. Our mentors are inspirational role models who transform lives, and help the young people we work with achieve their full potential and go on to lead good, happy and successful lives.
ReachOut continued to grow and now supports more than 500 children and young people each year, helping them to improve their academic attainment and develop their character. We run projects in several schools across Manchester, Oldham and several London boroughs – Hackney, Camden, Tower Hamlets, Islington and Haringey. We have developed three mentoring programmes, the Club, Academy and ACE, which enable us to provide one-to-one support for our young people from the age of 9 to 18. Many of our young people have gone on to become mentors themselves, supporting others and helping to change their own communities for the better.
We are very proud of our achievements so far and wish to express our gratitude for the continued support of so many generous individuals and institutions who have made the journey both enjoyable and exciting, and helped us to make a real and positive impact on the communities in which we work.