Thank you to everyone who came along to the Network and Knowledge event on Friday 3rd May. It was a fantastic chance to connect with representatives from various charities and learn more about how the education sector is developing. We will be highlighting here the key messages from our brilliant three speakers; Patrick Green from The Ben Kinsella Trust, Kathryn Eastwood from School 21 and Louisa Searle from First Give.

The event took place at The Shard, hosted by one of our corporate partners Foresight, who kindly offered their office space for the evening. Attendees included ReachOut Project Leaders and Mentors, representatives from a range of charities in the education sector and ReachOut staff. It was a great opportunity for us all to get together and discuss in more detail about the charity and education sector. The session was brilliantly lead by Jenna Saidi (Project Leader) and Delphine Chui (Mentor).

 

Our first speaker for the evening was Patrick Green, CEO of Ben Kinsella Trust. He began by talking about how the charity was started by the parents of Ben Kinsella, who was tragically stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack at the age of just 16 in 2008 in Islington. They wanted to use Ben's story to educate young people about the true consequences of getting involved in knife crime.

Patrick talked about how the trust has set up 5 interactive rooms in Islington, all themed around knife crime. They take young people aged 10-16 on a journey through the eyes of being both the victim and the perpetrator using role play, immersive theatre and video content. The young people then see how their decisions have an impact and ripple effect on themselves and the people around them. Patrick mentioned that one of the biggest problems they are facing as a trust is that knife crime has gone up since 2015, and it is something many young people in London are worried about. They want to ensure that as many young people as possible can be impacted by the interactive rooms.

Our second speaker was Kathryn Eastwood, the Partnership Development Lead at School 21 in Stratford. School 21 is a pioneering state-funded school which aims to balance head (academic success), heart (character and well-being) and hand (generating ideas, problem-solving, making a difference).

Something they are really passionate about is project-based learning. Kathryn explained that this is when the young people have an authentic outcome in a situation and accountability for what they produce. They also focus on real world learning - with each year 10 student spending an afternoon a week at an organisation for work experience; wellbeing - with dedicated time put towards coaching the pupil; and oracy - how to instigate and have an effective day-to-day conversation. Kathryn also talked a lot about how School 21 has impacted the wider community as well as the pupils, through parents and the general public getting behind their mission.

 

We finally heard from Louisa Searle, the Director of First Give. They work in partnership with secondary schools to inspire and equip young people to take action to tackle social issues. The young people choose a topic which is relevant to them; the most popular topics including knife crime, homelessness and mental health. They then get in touch with grassroots organisations who are already making a difference surrounding that particular topic, and they find out what they can do to help.

Many of the young people will then either volunteer with the organisation or fundraise for them. Back in lessons they create presentations about the topic and learn important public speaking skills through doing so. Louisa showed us an amazing video created by some of their young people, raising awareness for Alzheimer's Disease. It was impressive to see such a complex and difficult subject covered with maturity and emotion, whilst explaining clearly the impact of Alzheimer's. It was a brilliant video, showing that the young people got a lot out of the experience with First Give.

 

After listening to the three speakers talk about their organisations, we then had a Q&A session, lead by our hosts for the evening Jenna and Delphine! There were a huge range of questions from the audience which was testament to the interesting topics put forward by the three speakers. Thanks again to Patrick, Kathryn and Louisa for sticking around at the end and answering any last questions from attendees.

ReachOut is proud to support other charitable organisations, particularly those that work with young people and/or disadvantaged communities. It was a fantastic event and a brilliant opportunity to integrate networks and ideas. Special thanks to James Bailey for organising the event, Jenna and Delphine for being outstanding hosts and Patrick, Kathryn and Patrick for speaking. Special thanks also to the amazing team at Foresight UK for hosting us in their office space and for ensuring everything ran smoothly. 

We hope to see you at our Network & Knowledge event in 2020!