Supporting charities is a personal passion for the team at Origin Workspace. South Bristol Youth is one of five local charity partners we support.
South Bristol Youth was founded by University of Bristol colleagues in 2012 to help young people in south Bristol achieve their best. The area has one of the lowest higher education participation rates in the country and the charity is on a mission to turn this around.
Camilla Chandler was part of the founding team and has since headed the charity as Chief Executive. She explains: “We work with all the schools in south Bristol to support young people to go on to apprenticeships, higher education, or high quality employment.
“We want them to know that they can go to university if they want to – they are getting the results, they just need to see this as an option that is available to them.”
Inspiring leaders of the future
One of the ways they inspire them is by showing them what this could look like in the future.
“We work with all institutions in Bristol from the universities through to businesses – and we’re lucky that this includes Origin Workspace. The young people get to visit Origin and meet entrepreneurs, learn about the businesses that are based there, and feel comfortable in a professional environment.
“We want them to walk in and own it, to believe ‘I could be here, I could be one of these people.’ This helps to break down the barriers. While they’re there we use the meeting rooms to do public speaking training and personality profiling to give them career suggestions, or sometimes work with them on a CV.
“They get to go on the rooftop too which has an amazing view and they can see their homes in south Bristol. It’s very inspiring for them.”
Reaching the unreachable
The charity works directly with schools to identify the young people who will most benefit from this type of support and offers opportunities for them to develop their skills, knowledge and confidence.
As Camilla puts it, “we improve their personal agency, their cultural and social capital, and their understanding of their place in the community.”
The team is currently working with 25 schools in the region to offer opportunities to 1,500 young people a year.
In 2021-22 they delivered more than 426 activities including their Unlocking Potential Programme to improve communication skills, and Learning to Lead, developing primary school children’s sense of self-worth and confidence.
“Our focus is on ensuring equality of opportunity for all young people and getting them involved in what Bristol is about. It’s an amazing city full of culture and heritage and young people are a huge part of the city – it’s important that none of them get left behind.”