St Edmund’s Society is one of six fantastic winners at this year’s Centre for Social Justice Foundation Awards. Our Award winners are dedicated organisations stopping at nothing, neither a global pandemic nor a cost-of-living crisis, to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people across the UK.
The awards from the Westminster-based Foundation celebrate the nation’s small charities who have been central to supporting the most vulnerable in their communities and doing everything in their power to give vital skills, help and time to those in need.
The Foundation’s mission is to ensure that the voices of those working to tackle poverty around the country are heard by decision-makers in London. The awards, presented at a dinner in Westminster on Monday night attended by leading politicians and media stars, reward the most outstanding small charities fighting poverty on the frontline.
St Edmund’s, based in central Norwich, provides vocational trade-related qualifications to marginalised, socially excluded young people mainly between the ages of 11-18 who are struggling or have struggled within mainstream education and failed to achieve. These young people tend to be largely written off or ignored and find themselves adding to the ranks of those considered NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training).
St Edmund’s allows them to learn and excel in a range of disciplines from construction trades, and mechanics to hair and beauty alongside assistance with English and Maths where they have had problems at school. They are given access to meaningful work-related experience to boost their chances of employment. Additionally, they are given welfare and pastoral support to help overcome the individual barriers to learning and progression that they have previously encountered.
Last year St Edmund’s programmes supported 128 students through outreach in 2021/2022. Of those: 78 per cent achieved a qualification and they had an 86 per cent retention rate on courses.
Commenting on the award, Lorraine Bliss of St Edmund’s Society said:
‘By providing vocational training and support to many young people who, through not being “school shaped” have struggled through the traditional “one size fits all” education system which has simply failed them. They have become known as “The Forgotten or Ghost Children”, many of whom come from disconnected and marginalised families in poverty making them vulnerable and at risk of CCE (Child Criminal Exploitation). We presently have a full cohort of post-16 and school students for the academic year 2022/23. With the CSJ Award, we intend to continue fulfilling our short-term aspirations to reach even more young people and families while raising awareness of a neglected but growing problem for society as a whole and to ensure that all young people actually receive an education suitable for their needs irrespective of academic ability. We will continue to campaign for proper registration to become recognised and funded accordingly, by both the DfE and ESFA. as well as recognised as a ‘specialist vocational alternative provider” and an alternative to FE college for those with promise but lacking the educational entry requirements. These young people are our future and should not be written off.’
Nathan Gamester of the CSJ Foundation said:
‘We are absolutely delighted to be giving this award to St Edmund’s Society. We scoured the country looking for the very best grassroots poverty-fighting charities and this year’s winners are all superb. Our independent judging panel were incredibly impressed with St Edmund’s Society’s impact and their dedication to serving those in their local community. Huge congratulations from all of us at the CSJ Foundation.’
About the CSJ Foundation:
The CSJ Foundation was set up by Westminster think-tank the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) to promote the essential contribution of charities, amplify their voice in the corridors of power, and help them recover by boosting their fund-raising efforts.
The CSJ Foundation tackles the root causes of poverty by bringing the voices of local grassroots charities to national decision-makers and philanthropists on poverty, making the case for forgotten regions, showcasing their innovations and successes, and directing much-needed funding to small, poverty-fighting charities across the UK.
The Foundation has offices in Manchester, Newcastle, Leicester and London.