Ruth Ibegbuna is the Founder and CEO of RECLAIM, building on her successful teaching career to develop innovative strengths-based work which enables young people to achieve their potential.

Originally from Bradford, Ruth was a senior teacher in a South Manchester state school and supported young people in obtaining some of the best GCSE results in the country.  Looking for new ways to transform young people’s lives, she moved to a position at a Manchester cultural centre. There, in 2007, she began developing the RECLAIM Project out of her frustration at seeing so much wasted potential in young people; often written off due to their postcodes or through appallingly low expectations of their outcomes.

The project is now in its tenth year: the organisation Ruth set up has gone from strength to strength, picking up numerous awards along the way. This has included:

  • Manchester Peace Activist of the Year, 2008;
  • Manchester City Council Women's award for Outstanding Contribution, 2009;
  • National Business in the Communities Sieff award for best collaboration with business to benefit society, 2011.

Ruth was a member of the Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour; and was a member of the HLF North West committee for 3 years. Ruth is now a Clore Social Fellow and an Ashoka UK Fellow, and wrote ‘On Youth’ to showcase the stories of five RECLAIM Alumni. 

Ruth was listed in The Sunday Times as one of the 500 most influential people in the UK, in The Debrett’s 500 in 2016. She was also listed by Virgin and Ashoka as one of the top six female change makers internationally.

Ruth is a bold and pioneering CEO, with a relentless focus on working side by side with young people to build a fairer future. She is an expert in encouraging young people to believe in their inherent abilities and to demand the best for themselves and their lives. She is an inspiring leader.

If you have any media enquiries or would like to get in touch with Ruth, please send an email to k.whitelegg@reclaimproject.org.uk

Recent articles by Ruth Ibegbuna

Young people have spoken of sexual abuse for years. We just haven’t listened, The Guardian, 2014

I appear on Newsnight and Woman’s Hour – why do I feel like an imposter? The Guardian, 2015

The reluctant CEO – Pilotlight Blog, 2015