I began it all with £200 in my pocket and no experience in fundraising, but a huge wealth of passion and energy. I organised my first fundraiser and raised just over £2,000 and from these humble beginnings I will grow this charity until I am able to change the lives of many young people, whilst always keeping the ethics that came from the roots of Full Reach. All the money reaches the cause in full allowing children to reach their full potential. This is where the name Full Reach grew from.
A Bit About Me...
I have experienced many difficult things I my life, but I have learnt to look forward now, never back!
This wasn’t always how I was, as a teenager I was on behaviour and attendance cards and was hanging out with the other ‘bad’ kids. I know what makes a ‘bad’ kid and deep down, all children just need safety, comfort and stability.
I have seen and felt that.
Every behaviour is a reflection of a need, which is something I know from experience, my own and through others. The need to have boundaries, the need for stability, structure, to be noticed, to feel like they matter, and the need to be loved. I went on the wrong path for a big chunk of my life, and as a result suffered depression, anxiety ad feelings of low self-worth, alongside self-harm through most of my teenage years. It’s very hard to speak openly about it, but it’s something that I feel if I want the young people I care for to talk about, I need to talk about it openly and with pride for getting through it, instead of embarrassment.
“This stopped me reaching any goals, as I didn’t believe in myself enough to make any.”
Mental health issues affect so many young people and for young people to reach their goals, they need to address the root causes. I know this as when I sought help t deal with my issues, I began to open my eyes to who I really was and what I could achieve. This is why I feel so strongly in providing therapies to young people, alongside care and education, and in my business plan, budget is set aside for each child for therapies.
I had been out of work for nearly 2 years when I began doing a couple of hours technician work a week at pottery centre. One day the teacher was ill and I was asked to watch over the kid’s class. The children walked in and without thinking, I sat down and started teaching the class. I loved it so much and found I Was actually good at it, to my surprise, and from that day taught the class every week.
The first day I began to step out of my depression, towards a hopeful future, was when I taught for the first time.
I applied to university and despite not having the grades, got in, they said they could see my passion and determination. I began training towards being a teacher and after a year of getting the highest grades in my practical work, I found that I wanted to do more than educate, I wanted to really help. I started volunteering in a school for Children with severe behaviours who have been excluded from mainstream education, and I learnt that before these kids could learn maths, history or English, they needed to learn to respect and love themselves, and to care about their own future.
I had a long talk with the head teacher who told me that over 80% of the kids in that school, were in or had been in care. Some of the children opened up to me about parts of their lives and harrowing stories that saw were far too common. I felt that these were the people who needed help.
On my search to help children like this, I got a job working with kids in care, the most difficult and most rewarding job I have experienced, yet. The staff were amazing, overworked, underpaid, but so dedicated. I just couldn’t get my head around how little money there was for the children to do things they wanted to do.
I did a lot of research into Children’s Home, or Residential Support Units, and realised that there are huge profits being made, and that didn’t sit right with me at all. If profits were not a consideration, there is huge wealth of money that could be put into therapies, extracurricular activities, group therapies to rebuild family relations, and opportunities to have hobbies or go on trips that would help give these children the opportunities that children do have when they grow up in a financially stable, loving home, which is shown to be the best environment conducive to learning and achievement.
I worked, planning the education of a girl who was in her teenage years and who was not able to attend school or college as her behaviours was so extreme. Her history was enough to make you cry and her behaviour was such a reflection of how past experiences can make you lash out. This girl loved to sing, it was her only passion and when she sang her eyes lit up and she felt good about herself. It was the only time she felt like she has a worth, I understand this feeling, and it gave me so much drive to want to help
her. She told me she wanted be a singer, but felt she could never achieve that.
So I planned her whole education around singing, one that met the assessment needs and met her needs. For example: English lessons were writing song lyrics and looking at the lyrics of the songs, metaphor, simile, rhyming patterns for example. Maths lessons were looking at the financial side of the music industry as a business. History lessons we looked at the progression of music and how what was going on in the world at the time affected that music, music became a base in which to put history into context for her.
Through singing I was able to motivate her and use the fact that singing made her feel good, to improve her self-esteem, which showed itself in more areas of her life than just education, when someone loves themselves they are less likely to engage in destructive behaviour.
Thank you so much for reading and if you would like to support, please donate
- Alterego Project, a small art group for disabled young adults. We showcased the work in exhibitions at the Edinburgh College of Art.
- Volunteering in a school for children who have been excluded from mainstream education dues to SEN, behavioural, social or emotional issues
- 3 years involved in community projects teaching art to teenagers with disabilities. Organized and managed exhibitions at Fruitmarket Gallery
- Received training from the Princes Trust, including creating proposals, planning fundraising events, writing business plan, setting up after school clubs, applying for funding
- Completed highest level of business training from Outset Bristol, awarded one to one business mentoring
- Complete VOCSUR training on running charity organisations
- 2 courses around speaking to carers and parents about young people and drugs and alcohol and club drugs and new legal highs
- Ran first charity fundraisers with over £2,000 raised for Full Reach Children’s Projects
- Raised over £5,000 for Full Reach from living on 1 pound a day for 30 days over the 2013 Christmas period, walking barefoot, sleeping on the streets and living deaf, blind and silent.
- Certificate of Higher Education in ‘Education’ (Teaching assistant)
- Ran government subsidised pottery class for children from deprived area
- ASD (Autism Spectrum) training
- 4 courses in teaching sports to children with special education needs
- 2 college courses: Contemporary Art practice and Art and Design
- Have taken part in running a sports day for children with various disabilities
- Have taught and continue to teach pupils with English as a second language
- Run an after school club for children who have newly arrived to the UK to help tem lean English and socialise into community, including refugees and asylum seekers
- Trained in all aspects of caring for people with have a disability.
- Attained food hygiene, safeguarding, health and safety courses, in line with learning the skills needed to set up and run a Children’s Home.
Have worked in care from babies to adults, with all different needs, so as to really understand how people move though care and all the different aspects of care for different people.