14 December 2021
Merchant Taylors’ Foundation’s style of working with charity partners is rooted in compassion, honest and frank conversations and trust. From the outset of the journey together, Merchant Taylor volunteers make an initial visit to get to know the charity better through the Charity Visits Scheme. There, MTs assess how robust our support needs to be for the grant applicant, where further assistance may be necessary, or helpful. By meeting with the people behind the organisation, as well as some of those who benefit from the programme, our members have real say in where grants can go, and also ensure Merchant Taylors’ Foundation develops strong bonds with every organisation. As we support many different organisations, the role of our members cannot be overstated.
Recently, three Merchant Taylors visited Inspire at St Peter’s, to find out more about the organisation’s staff team and those it serves. What they found was dynamism, passion and reliability from its staff who are committed to empowering “local people to make significant progress in their areas, harnessing human nature for a better future.”
The MT group met with some of the children and young people at the club on the Friday evening as they played ping pong, video games and hung out with friends. While a safe space is vital, this space also affords young people to be themselves, to be young and enjoy themselves; away from worries and stress, young people can be comfortable and focus on themselves, what they want and what means most to them.
In the borough there is a widening gap between the services the council is able to deliver and what is needed by local people. Stepping up to fill the void is InSpire. Already delivering a free youth employment programme among other specialist community-centred programmes from ‘the crypt’ below St Peter’s Church in the heart of Walworth, Southwark, InSpire offers practical support, information and also provides advocacy and positive opportunities to individual residents and local neighbourhood groups.
Through their 2InSpire Youth Group, 11-18 year olds living in Southwark and surrounding areas can take part in activities on evenings through term-time and school holidays, with a week away in the summer. The focus is on those whose family background or their own behaviour means they’ll miss out on opportunities their peers may take for granted. A particular focus is placed on those at risk of drifting into criminal behaviour; the project prevents and helps young people to build something far more positive.
Activities can include simply socialising with friends over ping pong and video games, while outdoor football sessions take place, indoor sports, drama club and a specific timetabled session for girls and young women. The range of activities promote team spirit, independence and key soft skills in a relaxed but secure setting. The breadth of activities is mirrored in the impact reporting which involves young people’s self-reporting but also objective goals including stable friendships made, confidence, skills learnt and increased responsibility and well-being both within the youth club and outside of it.
Antisocial behaviour increases during school holidays. Offering opportunities not only reduces this by filling their time, but offers positive opportunities to many young people as an alternative path. Helping young people as early as possible makes a world of difference to those whose lives are directly transformed by what this organisation is doing. It also instils a stronger community feel that will have farther reaching impact too. This is already visible in the keen sign-ups the charity has each year from a new group of children.
2InSpire equips “future generations with the confidence and guidance they need to succeed.” Currently supporting almost 100 young people, through a team of five-six youth workers, a three-year grant of around £30,000 will empower this charity to remove barriers for local young residents by empowering them to find their own path.
We are delighted to be working with InSpire and if any members would like to work with the charity specifically, please get in touch with us.