Following a period of poor health Lorraine Bliss MBE has decided to stand down as Chief Executive Officer of St Eds, with effect from the 17 April 2023. She has been head of the organisation for over 30 years, leading it through the foundation and development of its highly valued training centre. Both the staff and the Trustees wish her all the best in her retirement.
General Manager, Serena Davenport, will be Acting CEO until a replacement is appointed.
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 Societysaid:
‘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.
We learnt about how trauma as a child can impact relationships, self-esteem and behaviour of an individual throughout their adult life. We also learnt about how trauma can lead to defensive behaviour, and halt a young persons capacity to learn.
Lots of this training included Healthy Brain Development, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) and Resilience.
We have developed a centre-wide approach to better support our students throughout their time in education and beyond.
Check out some of the photos of the fun we had during the training.
We are delighted to announce that we have been selected as a finalist at the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) Awards 2022.
The CSJ Awards are national and high profile, recognising charities that are innovative in tackling poverty and exclusion in Britain. They exist to ensure that the voices of those working to address these issues are given access to decision makers in Westminster.
As an organisation, we are delighted to be recognised for the outstanding work we do in supporting vulnerable young people through vocational training. We raise their self-esteem and confidence, whilst enabling them to gain trade related qualifications, employment opportunities and a much improved quality of life as well as being accepted in the community.
We are very grateful for this opportunity and the positive outcomes it will bring.
St Edmunds Society Vocational Training Centre has yet again been accredited to the matrix Standard, demonstrating the high-quality Careers Information Advice and Guidance services we provide to young people.
The matrix Standard is the international quality standard for organisations that deliver information, advice and/or guidance (IAG), either as their sole purpose or as part of their service offering.
Roger Chapman, Head of the matrix Service for The Growth Company said:
“This is a fantastic achievement for St Eds and I would like to congratulate the team on their success. We believe that at the heart of high-quality advice and support services are strong leadership, excellent service and a focus on continuous improvement, all underpinned by effective use of the resources available. The matrix Standard is designed to benchmark organisations against best practice in these areas. With their accreditation success, St Eds is working to provide the best possible support to their students.”
About the matrix Standard
The matrix Standard is the international quality standard for organisations that deliver information, advice and/or guidance (IAG). Either as their sole purpose or as part of their service offering.
Any organisation which manages, administers and delivers an information, advice and/or guidance service to support individuals in their choice of career, learning, work or life goals can become accredited to the matrix Standard. It does not matter whether the service or services are delivered face-to-face, through training, learning, remotely, or through a website.
Organisations that have benefited from working with the Standard include Training Providers, Universities, Further/Higher Education Colleges, Schools and Academies, Sole Traders, Next Step Providers, Voluntary and Community Organisations and Private Businesses.
The matrix Standard is owned by the Department for Education and is managed by The Growth Company on their behalf.
St Edmunds Society are proud to be joining the Norfolk Community Foundation and Sir Norman Lamb, as part of the Coalition for Young People.
The Coalition is open to voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations providing services in Norfolk to young people aged 0-25 years, who actively contribute to their wellbeing.
Being part of the Coalition provides us an opportunity to develop our existing offer, recognising the value of the vital support we provide to young people, with an ambition to show how Norfolk can lead the way by coming together to make a real difference.
Did you know you can raise free donations for St-Eds every time you shop online with Amazon?
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