BreakThrough is a modular training programme that Bridge is running in partnership with Wild Earth. We are passionate about helping to provide young people with opportunities to achieve their ambitions and goals. In the UK, young people in the age group 16-24 have suffered more than most when it comes to job prospects, with many now falling into the NEETs category (Not in Employment, Education or Training). It's important for young people to stand out from the crowd if they want to increases their chances of getting a good job. It's also our experience that many companies throughout the Midlands are experiencing skills shortages, and so how do we go about briding that gap. One way is to provide additional training for young people, but for a lot of young people, it's often a case of helping them to broaden their thinking and their horizons.
The Butterfly Project - Uganda
This very worthwhile project aims to help disadvantaged young people in Uganda to become change-makers and potential future leaders in their communities. Founded and run by Ben Parkinson of Social Enterprise Africa, the project provides schooling for children and young people from the slum districts of Uganda who have previously had very limited opportunities. Many of the children have to work in the quarries to help feed themselves and their families. This is highly dangerous work, and indeed there are children killed and seriously injured every year undertaking this work.
Our managing director, Denise Taylor, has been mentoring young people at the project on business and social enterprise skills, and Bridge has also provided sponsorship money. We are also working with partners in Coventry (Totem Learning) to provide access to serious games to further enhance the young people's business skills.
Sponsoring a child or young person provides them with school fees, clothing, and equipment they need to attend school. At little as £20 per month makes a huge difference.
Education 4 Conservation (E4C)
E4C is a not-for-profit organisation based in Warwickshire. Our managing director, Denise Taylor, is the founder of this organisation and has some exciting plans for workshops and projects throughout 2014. She has spent her time over the past two years focusing on building Bridge PR, but in the New Year we will be helping her to devote some of her energies to revitalising the work of E4C which is aimed at providing environmental education and wildlife conservation projects.
PCF is the brainchild of a remarkable woman, Jane Walker, who started the organisation as the Philippine Community Fund and campaigned tirelessly to change the lives of the Filipinos desperately trying to cope with extreme poverty by scratching a living from the dump sites of the Philippines. Children as young as four and five have to work on the dumps in order to survive. Jane and her team raised funding to build a school and centre and to provide better opportunities for the children and their families. PCF in the Philippines is now self-sustaining, so Jane has moved her focus to PCF in the UK where the organisation focuses on helping people who have "fallen through the cracks in society". These include vulnerable women in the prison system, children affected by poverty, and asylum seekers and refugees.
It is a strong part of our ethos and philosophy to support charities and worthy causes, and give something back to the community. We chosen a number of charities to support, some of which we have supported for a number of years, and we are also in the process of developing our own projects working in partnership with clients and other companies in our business networks. Our focus is on environmental and wildlife issues as well as supporting charities that provide services for young people, both here in the UK and internationally.