In 2009 3.5 million calls were made to the police about anti-social behaviour. Chance UK is a charity that works across the boroughs of Islington, Hackney and Lambeth to help reduce youth crime and anti-social behaviour.
The charity provides one-to-one mentoring for children with behavioural difficulties aged between 5 and eleven years. All mentors are volunteers who spend two to four hours a week with children who are often on the verge of being excluded from school. Through activities such as sports, visiting museums or anything else the child may be interested in mentors work to help raise a child’s self esteem.
“Many of the children we work with have parents that are involved in crime or are substance abusers,” explains Gracia McGarth who is Chance UK’s Chief Executive. “Our mentors work with children for one year and rather than take responsibility from parents they act as a temporary support. For our work to have the greatest possible effect on a child’s life we need to engage with parents.”
In 2007 Chance UK approached the Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales to fund the salary of the ParentPlus Programme Manager, who provides support and advice to their beneficiaries’ parents. The charity successfully completed the Foundation’s online eligibility questionnaire after which one of the Foundation’s Grant Managers visited them to talk about their work and funding request.
“Having a Grant Manager come and visit us was extremely useful,” continue Gracia. “It made us feel the Foundation really valued and understood our work.”
Following the assessment visit the charity was advised to apply for funding and it was awarded a two year grant of £15,000 to help fund the salary of the ParentPlus Programme Manager.
Grant Manager, Jude Stevens, recalls the visit: “I was really impressed with Chance UK it was very apparent that they truly believed in their work and they had research and data to back up the impact it had on its beneficiaries.”
Since the funding the ParentPlus Programme Manager has run parenting courses which are five to six weeks long and offer advice, training and counselling services.
“The attendance to the parenting sessions has been phenomenal,” says Gracia. “By building relations with parents they realise they can trust us and that we are not enforcing things upon on but are simply there to help.
“Working with the parents in this way has a really positive impact on the children we work with and will continue to do so long after the mentoring process is over. Many funders are more than willing to invest in the work we do with children and although many understand the importance of working with parents few are prepared to actually support this. The Lloyds TSB Foundation funded where many wouldn’t enabling us to make a real difference to the lives of the children we work with.”