"Our goal is to CHALLENGE young people to be LEADERS of their OWN LIVES."
Reaching Higher was formed in 2010 as a response to challenges in the community. Reaching Higher works in an area in South Norwood in the bottom 15% of the National Statistics for Deprivation and where childhood poverty is high - 28% of children in South Norwood are defined as living in poverty versus the UK average of 19% and the London average of 23%. Within this community we work with a high level of BME children (90%) the majority lacking role models and who are at risk of exclusion, gang involvement and teenage pregnancy. 20% of the young people Reaching Higher works with are within the care system and require additional support navigating through life and preparing them for adulthood, a transition that most of these young people are not equipped for therefore remain in a cycle of disadvantage.
We define leadership as the opportunity for young people to have an active and informed role in the decisions that will positively impact their future. Leadership is about helping young people navigate away from the cycle of disadvantage and recognise what opportunities are available to them. The work we do is about levelling the playing field and to do this we have to unlock the leadership potential we know exists in all young people and help them harness it in the right way.
Reaching Higher has always been about serving young people in their local community. We create a coaching environment where young people can engage in a wide range of activities, which are used to build their self-esteem and to develop problem solving, communication, team working and leadership. The activities we use are Performing Arts (dance, music, drama), Creative Arts (fashion, design, art), Sports, with a particular emphasis on football, Media (film, photography, graphic design), Life Skills (cooking, financial management, career support) and 1:1 Mentoring.
We have over 50 volunteers who work across all our projects with a range of backgrounds and skills. Over half of our volunteers are past beneficiaries demonstrating our “Full Circle” approach. They reinvest in the next generation offering the same support that Reaching Higher was able to give them.
We meet young people with limitless amounts of potential, talent and ability and we help them to unlock it. Through our relational approach to work, the result has been a generation of young adults willing and excited to reinvest in other young people.