Young people will tonight take over the eleventh floor of the iconic KPMG building to mark the tenth anniversary of treasured Manchester youth charity, RECLAIM (1).

Joined by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, the teenagers will host a night of fundraising and celebrations, looking back at RECLAIM’s decade of building youth leadership and pride in stigmatised working class communities across the city region.

The event comes the day after the publication of a major government audit underlining the scale of class and race inequality that is blighting UK society.

With an eye to the future the young people will make a powerful appeal to people and organisations willing to donate time and money to the cause and support authentic Northern leaders of tomorrow.

RECLAIM was founded in Moss Side in 2007 by ex-teacher Ms Ruth Ibegbuna, recently named in Metro’s top 10 ‘inspiring female politicians and activists’, who was then Head of Learning at Manchester's Urbis Centre. In the 10 years since it was founded it’s worked with over 1000 young people from all corners of Greater Manchester living in communities too often marginalised and overlooked in a society still deeply divided by class.

Despite a harsh financial climate the charity’s success in areas such as Gorton, Bolton, Wythenshawe, Salford and Rochdale led this month to the charity expanding outside of Greater Manchester to work with 12 and 13 year olds in Port Talbot, Wales.

Through award-winning programmes blending leadership development and mentoring with activism, business skills and a focus on community pride, RECLAIM has supported countless young people from the age of 12-22 to fulfil their aspirations in the fields of their choice and develop their own solutions to the problems they see in the world. One example is REIGN (3), a group of young female survivors of child sexual exploitation, who now run hard-hitting awareness campaigns and provide consultancy services to schools, police forces and social services working on the frontline of the issue.

The organisation is also home to it’s own youth campaigning group, Team Future(4) - who will tonight lead a call out for support. Founded in the wake of the Brexit vote by working class teenagers the group has canvassed over 4000 young people across Greater Manchester about their views on politics, and led dramatic demonstrations through the city centre to demand a greater voice in society. Spokespeople from the ever-growing group have represented working class young people in the national news, at the Labour party conference, and even at the UN.

The charity remains 100% independently funded, having grown through the goodwill of the communities it supports, funders and Manchester’s thriving business community. 

QUOTES

CEO and founder Ms Ruth Ibegbuna said:

There has never been a greater need for the work we are doing at RECLAIM - and not just here in Manchester. Our team have just returned from our first project in Port Talbot, Wales where we met 35 amazing young people who shared the same brilliant drive, passion for the future, and barriers to achieving their dreams that are affecting young working class people here in Manchester.

We are living in dangerous and divided times politically. Instead of comment pieces talking about ‘left-behind- communities’ and ‘protest votes’ it’s time for serious investment to end the suffocation of opportunities and aspiration that is killing strong working class communities and starving society of the diverse leaders it badly needs. I know that the event our young people have planned tonight will be a timely reminder of this.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said:

Young people are at the heart of my plans for Greater Manchester and RECLAIM are a fantastic example of how young people can shape their futures by making their voices heard.

I want to make sure all young people in Greater Manchester have the opportunities to achieve their ambitions. That’s why we have established the Youth Combined Authority, introduced half priced bus tickets, half priced Metrolink tickets to come alongside quality traineeships and apprenticeships.

Congratulations to RECLAIM on their first ten years and I wish them well for their next ten! The hard work of organisations like RECLAIM will also make a huge difference to unlocking the talent of our future generations.

Precious Adefioye, 15, Blackley said:

RECLAIM is about giving a voice to young people from working class communities, giving us the time and effort we need to grow and mature into leaders of the next generation. It has helped us reclaim our voices, without this charity we would not be where we are now. We wouldn’t have strong opinions or the courage to let them be heard.

Working class young people bring different expertise to working life; they offer an honest, pure and realistic element to businesses, and society. But due to our post code and accent, we are denied opportunities that could really benefit everybody.

 

 

Ogechi Idoye-Michael 15, Manchester  said:

RECLAIM gives a voice to working class young people, like myself. Not only do they do that, but also they give us an opportunity to plan and grow independently.

RECLAIM is different; I know that through RECLAIM I can have an impact on how the world actually works. I have had the opportunity to find myself and find things that I am interested in that I wouldn't have been aware of without them. I don't go to RECLAIM just to have fun, I go because RECLAIM gives me a purpose.



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CONTACT:

Diverse working class young people and staff available for interviews and commentary.

High res images of RECLAIM’s work available in this folder: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0By8A5R_5A9iLc2RNQ1g0aFBqVUk

For more information or to arrange interview please contact Jessie Barnard on 07715210101 or [email protected]

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. RECLAIM is a youth leadership and social change charity active in working class communities across Greater Manchester. https://www.reclaim.org.uk/team-future
  2. More information and video of the Walk for Change here: https://www.reclaim.org.uk/Event/walk-for-change-2017
  3. Team Future is a youth collective building the power and voice of working class young people. More information and background here: https://www.reclaim.org.uk/team-future
  4. More information about the REIGN programme here. https://www.reclaim.org.uk/reign
  5. DONATION link for RECLAIM - https://www.reclaim.org.uk/donate/donate/5/credit-card