Thank you to everyone who came along to the Networking and Knowledge event on Friday 7th December. It was a fantastic chance to connect with representatives from various charities and learn more about how the charity sector is developing during quite uncertain political times.

The event took place at BlackRock - one of ReachOut's corporate partners - who kindly offered us a space for the evening. Attendees included ReachOut Project Leaders and mentors, representatives from a range of charities, members of our university society partnerships 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 Project Leaders Anna and Laura who offered to be hosts for the evening! 

Click here if you would like to find out more about our 2019 Leadership Programme - where you can train to become a Project Leader!

 

Our first speaker of the evening was Katie Potter from Leap Confronting Conflict - a youth charity that provides conflict management training and support to young people and the professionals working with them. Katie is a former ReachOut project leader, so it was inspiring to hear how she has applied the skills and values from her project at Heartlands High School to her job with Leap.

Their purpose is to give young people the skills to manage conflict in their own lives, reduce violence in their communities and help lead our society. They believe that no matter the choices a young person has made in the past, or the current circumstances they are facing, they have the ability and potential to harness the positive power of conflict. Katie explained "We don't see conflict as a bad thing, it can be a productive thing!" - meaning that young people who are able to learn to manage conflict in their life are more likely to be able to form better relationships, an increased chance of staying in education or work and learning to step away from negative situations. 

Katie is leading the new Young People in Care programme - "Under our Roof" - after researching and securing funding for the initiative. It's estimated that 1/3 of children in prison have spent time in care and 40% of care leavers are not in education or work. Under our Roof aims to build on young people's potential and supporting them to become to become experts in managing conflict. 

We wish Katie all the best as she continues leading this exciting new programme and we're looking forward to hear about the impact it has on many young people in care.

 

Next up we welcomed Gabby Edlin - the founder of Bloody Good Period! She spoke to us about how this initiative started as a status on Facebook, asking friends to donate menstrual supplies to a local food bank, and is now a growing enterprise with a vision to end period poverty for good. Bloody Good Period currently supply 16 asylum seeker centres in London and Leeds with sanitary supplies, as well as donating large quantities of products during emergency situations, such as the Grenfell disaster in 2017. Gabby estimates that they have supplied menstrual products for over 24,000 periods!

Gabby explained that they specifically target asylum-seekers and refugees as they are unable to work while their claims are being processed. This means they are more likely to be living in poverty for long periods of time and menstrual products are a luxury that many cannot afford. 

It was interesting to hear about how the drop-in centres are now a social place for many women during their monthly collection of products - the sense of community and "women taking care of other women's health care" is what Bloody Good Period is all about. However, they're not stopping here, Bloody Good Period has big plans for the future including expanding their drop-in centres to other UK cities and even lobbying the government for period policies.

 

Last but not least we had CEO of Alive and Kicking (A&K), Ben Sadler, talk about how they use football to tackle poverty in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. Since 2004, over 900,000 Alive and Kicking balls have been hand-stitched and printed - 50% of which are made from waste. Most of the balls are sold locally in African retailers, but they can also be purchased internationally on their online shop! They create ethical, full-time employment opportunities for 140 people producing the balls. Each of their staff support an average of 6 people with their wages, meaning A&K support a community of over 800!

Ben explained that they also aim to educate young people about health using sport. After selecting a couple of volunteers from the audience, Ben demonstrated how football training drills can be used to teach children about the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDs and Malaria. A&K have trained over 300 community coaches these techniques, reaching so many young people in a sustainable (and fun!) way. As ReachOut is an education charity, also using sports to engage our young people, we were really fascinated by Ben's passion for promoting health through fun drills and games. 

 

We then had a Q&A session with the three speakers, lead by our hosts for the evening Laura and Anna! There were a huge range of questions from the audience which was testament to the interesting topics put forward by the three charities. Thanks again to our speakers for sticking around at the end and answering any last questions from attendees.

ReachOut is proud to support other charities, particularly those who 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 Mehmet Aygun for organising, Laura and Anna for being outstanding hosts and Ben, Gabby and Katie for speaking. See you at the next one in 2019!