Foundation Futures and their quest to find some funding for their vital bus


A specialist learning provider which works alongside local authorities and schools to engage with the hardest-to-reach children is hoping to raise £10,000 for a new bus to allow it to continue its life-changing work.

Foundation Futures works with some of the most vulnerable, disadvantaged and at-risk young people in the region, who have been excluded from mainstream secondary education due to their disruptive behaviour and poor attendance.

The not-for-profit organisation, run by qualified, specialist teachers, works across North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead and Northumberland to offer specialist support to such young people, embedding maths and English skills alongside offering practical life advice, work related experience and engaging them in volunteering activities to help boost their CVs.

From the most recent 13-strong group of young people to engage with Foundation Futures, five have now found employment or apprenticeships, with the other eight signed up for training programmes. While they had below 25% attendance in the past, they achieved between 75% and 100% for Foundation Futures sessions.

The organisation uses its bus to take young people on more than 100 outings each year – ranging from local volunteering opportunities, collaborative projects with local businesses and visits around the region, as well as to collect and return children home – but the vehicle is in urgent need of replacement and will fail its next MOT.

Foundation Futures, established by Sue Davison and Chris Henwood, has been working across the region since 2013 and has built up a strong network of support from schools, local authorities, North Tyneside’s off-site PALS education service and partner businesses, and has won praise for its no-nonsense approach.

But to allow its services to continue, the organisation needs to replace its bus at an estimated cost of £10,000. A dinner – #ChampioningFutures – is being held at Sage Gateshead, supported by numerous local businesses including Northumbrian Water, Kier Construction and Services, Warren Assist and law firm Sintons, to help raise some of the funds.

Sue Davison – who, alongside Chris, left her job in mainstream education after becoming disillusioned with the lack of proper support available for hard-to-reach troubled young people – said: “We are committed to helping young people find out what they can do, rather than what they can’t. Education is at the core of everything, it helps to change lives.

“Many of them come from the most troubled starts in life and have very low confidence and expectations, which is all at the root of their behaviour. A lot of the kids we work with are very bright and articulate, but just aren’t being given the forum or opportunity to express that.

“They are often act like frightened animals who lash out and behave aggressively through fear, but we work hard to engage with them and discover who they really are. The difference in most of them after just a few months, when they realise they do have the potential to achieve their ambitions, is startling.

“The bus is a vital asset to us and allows us to get to these young people, to take them places, to pick them up and drop them off, and also show them some of the world they’ve never seen before – we have children living in North Tyneside who have never been to Newcastle’s Quayside, and we want to continue to open their eyes.

“The one we use now is dilapidated to say the least and we desperately need a new one. It’s a vital asset for us and one which will enable us to continue to engage with our young people in the ways that we know works and truly does help them.”

  • The Foundation Futures Fundraiser #ChampioiningFutures, which Sintons are proud to be sponsoring is being held at Sage Gateshead on September 29. Tickets are £75 each for the black tie dinner with entertainment, all of which will go directly towards paying for the new bus. For more information, contact info@foundationfutures.org.uk

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