Meet our Fundraiser of the Year

Meet one of our amazing Project Leaders and crowned Fundraiser of the Year, Tanyel. After the Hackney Half was postponed last year, he decided to run virtually. This year he is back again to show us how it’s done.

Tanyel, how did you get involved with ReachOut? 

I had been mentoring with ReachOut at Petchey Academy since October 2019. I remember stumbling across ReachOut after wanting to get involved with an extra-curricular youth outreach project outside of work. My day job is in higher education and I love working with young people, so it was a no brainer for me to get involved! I really value ReachOut’s mission and overall impact. To be a part of that is so rewarding; I have since extended my involvements to become a Project Leader.

Why did you decide to fundraise for ReachOut? What was your motivation? 

 Good question! My desire to give back to the community, combined with a passion for fitness that I’ve developed in recent years, led me to decide to run the Hackney Half in May 2020. I’m fortunate enough to have scenic views along the Thames riverside near my flat. This route didn’t make it as difficult to find the motivation to train, even in the wind and rain!

How did you find fundraising during a pandemic?

I was pleasantly surprised by how supportive and generous friends, family and colleagues were to support my fundraise. This is particularly touching when you consider it was the middle of the pandemic, which provided many (financial) challenges for people. Despite this, people were very giving and encouraging with their donations. In fact, I co-fundraised with a friend and ended up raising most of his share as well!

What did you do to reach your target?

I am not on social media and so this this was not so easy. I only shared my page with a close circle of friends, family and colleagues via WhatsApp and LinkedIn. I was conscious to express my gratitude for any donation, no matter how small, as I realised finances may be tight due to the pandemic. I think this helped. I also feel that promoting the ReachOut mission whilst sharing my personal story really touched people’s hearts and enabled me reach my target.

What was the most motivational song on your running playlist?

There was something about running to a banging beat (sometimes out loud with a speaker in my rucksack!) that really kept me hyped. I curated my own Spotify playlist of (mostly) hip-hop tunes, I couldn’t pick just one! Lots of Giggs, Skepta, Dave and Headie One. I later found though that podcasts helped to hold my focus and made the time pass quickly. This was helpful especially during the final stretch of my training schedule when I was going for longer distances.

How did you feel when you had finished your run?

Immediately? Well, exhausted and barely able to breathe. Haha! But then, I was quickly filled with a sense of pride. Running the race virtually near my flat, it was humbling to be spurred on by passers-by out for weekend walks and bike rides with their families. They could tell I was in the zone for something but wasn’t quite sure what! It was lovely to get that extra encouragement. I also felt so satisfied later that day, barely moving from the sofa apart from to demolish a ridiculous mountain of pasta afterwards.

What would you say to someone who is considering fundraising for ReachOut?

Nike were onto something – Just Do It! Prior to committing to fundraising and running the Hackney Half, I had not really run properly before. Only the odd game of five-a-side football or on sports day back in primary school. You’re not only giving back to ReachOut, you’re doing something for yourself too. If this past year has taught us anything, it’s the importance of self-care. You’ll feel so good for it and you’ll be inspired to take on more challenges!

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“At first, I was really hesitant to take on the Project Leader role, despite having mentored with ReachOut. However, with the support of the team I’ve really developed my skills. For example, at the Mentee Graduation, I stood up in front of 200 people and presented an award which is something I would never ever have been able to have done before, and isn’t an opportunity I could gain in my other situations.”

Amy McCutcheon, Project Leader at ReachOut Academy, Dean Trust Ardwick, Manchester.


“Being able to spend the summer working at Rede Partners, was an amazing experience. Whether it was working in HR or Finance, I learned so much about the world of private equity, made great connections with fantastic people and I got to learn first-hand what it would be like to work there! I really believe that I can go onto build the career I want now I’ve been a part for a workplace for real”

Victor Adekunle, 18 years old, ReachOut Ambassador, London


“When I first my mentee, she was very reluctant to participate in the sessions. Now, I see a completely different person! Her confidence has grown and she is happy to join in! She still has some self-doubt when it comes to academic work, but that’s what I hope to help her overcome, because she is a very bright person!

Through mentoring, I’ve learnt I’m a lot more patient than I realised. There will be days where she refuses to participate and those are the days that I really see the importance of the character strengths, for both the mentees and the mentors. It also makes it easier for the mentee to understand the character strengths, when I use them myself”

Myrtle, ReachOut Club mentor at Tufnell Primary School, London


“There are more distractions than ever outside of school, and the commitment of our students to attend ReachOut sessions is testament to the value they place on the relationships they foster there, and the challenge and enjoyment they provide.

ReachOut’s focus on communication skills and character development has become an important aspect of our provision of support for these students. The opportunity to relate to a positive role- model other than their usual teachers is key to the programme’s impact, and the evidence of this has been seen in the students’ attendance, resilience and to their overall progress across all the subjects in the school.”

Thomas Janvrin, Assistant Vice Principal at the Petchey Academy London