The Us Charitable Trust is a registered charity begun in 2012. We are based in Harlesden, London and work with 220 marginalised ‘at-risk’ 11-18 year olds a year. In our early days, we ran after-school programmes to keep young people occupied and engaged while they waited for parents to get home from work.
Over time they asked for more activities – to create, produce and develop, both creatively and personally. To be prepared for life after school, whether in training, university or employment. This lead to the development of a series of programme, events and experiences designed to enhance cultural capital.
We began to work closely with Newman Catholic College (NW10 3RN) as this is where most of the young people we work with attended. We developed close ties with the school and our founder, Mrs Serena Balfour, soon became a Governor for the school and a Trustee for the Young Brent Foundation. Our Youth Panel has been key to our development over the years, as they tell us about their worries, hopes and fears, and has led to specific programmes to help get into University or find apprenticeships.
"I can state without equivocation that The Us Charitable Trust has had a transformative impact on the lives of the young people they engage. The courses are well attended and their work is recognised and valued by parents and teachers."
Headteacher of Newman Catholic College
We run after-school and holiday programs designed to enrich our participants lives while at school, improve educational attainment and to make sure they are prepared and supported to leave school. Our activities focus on personal development, cultural experiences, introduction to employment/education possibilities and provide responsive tailored support to individuals.
Employment will be the biggest challenge, after education, for young people in 2022 and beyond. Young people need as much support as they can get, the US Charitable Trust will be doing all it can to support them in 2022 in getting the education they need and the job opportunities they deserve.
WHAT WE DO
HOW WE WORK
We are a student-led organisation. We design our projects with our Youth Panel on an annual residential and also throughout the year. As a result, our programs and activities directly reflect issues the young people are facing and areas they are interested in. Over the years this has seen programs including: Film & Social Media, Wellbeing & Mental Health, Digital Skills and the Music Industry.
Our Alumni network is also key to our planning and evaluation, seeing how our ex-students find the ‘real world’. Many come back to act as volunteers or paid staff for US. We also have numerous student trustees.
We work with many other organisations in Brent and further afield, including: The Young Brent Foundation, local schools, Radley College, Imperial College, Multiverse, The Talent Foundry, Barclays LifeSkills, University of the Arts London, Princes Trust and the Metropolitan Police. We receive core funding from the National Lottery and the John Lyons Charity for our two full-time staff, meaning all funds raised go to direct project costs.
Our students live in Brent, in the top 10% of areas of multiple deprivation. We see child poverty, poor educational outcomes and youth crime systemically interlinked. We have a large number of refugee children, many from Syria, who have experienced intermittent education, traumatic experiences and are now in an unfamiliar country speaking a new language. With severe cuts to both youth services and education, it is vital these young people are nourished, supported and given the skills they need to flourish in the next stage of their lives.
Our participants are already deemed ‘at-risk’ and economically disadvantaged. Research has shown lockdown is affecting poorer sections of society disproportionally in terms of physical and mental health, domestic abuse and access to resources. Brent was one of the worst effected boroughs in London, with 40 people dying in our immediate ward by May 2020.