ReachOut Summer Reception 2018

ReachOut Summer Reception 2018

ReachOut Summer Reception 2018

Wednesday 13th June 2018 marked ReachOut’s Summer Reception event at the House of Commons. The Terrace Pavilion was filled with over 200 supporters including MPs, young people, mentors and funders.

Meg Hillier MP and Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP both hosted and spoke at the event. Nicky Morgan MP, a firm believer in character education spoke about how essential our character strengths are, saying “all four strengths that ReachOut seek to develop are hugely important but the last one, staying power, is particularly under-developed in far too many of our young people”.

Several young people on our projects also attended the event, and Richie and TJ from The Petchey Academy spoke about the Impact that their ReachOut mentor has had on them: “both my mentor and my Project Leader have noticed an improvement in my Staying Power” and “the Maths and English is really good because it helps me in school”.

Gavin Alexander, who used to attend ReachOut as a young person, also spoke at the event, describing himself as a “little terror” back in the day, but how “having positive role models was so important to help [him] start considering [his] actions”. Gavin now attends SOAS, a top University in England and has also become a Project Leader at ReachOut where he is a now a role model to other young people.

This year ReachOut is supporting 739 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, however there are still a staggering 1.9 million disadvantaged school pupils in England. What is the impact of this? Disadvantaged young people are 40% less likely to get five good GCSEs than their ‘better off’ peers meaning a whole host of opportunities are closed off to them by the time they’re only 16 years old.

Peter Blackwell, ReachOut CEO, called on us all to consider how we can help ReachOut to continue to support as many of these young people as possible. He gave us three suggestions:

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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