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.
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!