By: Georgia Rigg

We are a Manchester agency and we’re damn well proud of it! We love our home city and there’s so much inspiration and opportunity around us to thrive from. But we also know that these opportunities don’t come as easy to everyone.

It was Hannah that came across a wicked campaign by RECLAIM and we all wanted to get involved somehow. “RECLAIM - what’s that? ”I hear you ask. Well actually no one could tell you better than the lovely Georgia who I’ve had the pleasure of working with on RECLAIM's new alumni project which we at Rapport are super excited about and can’t wait to see it flourish and be the success it deserves it be...

I’ve been working at RECLAIM for almost two years now, and watching it evolve and grow has been amazing. RECLAIM was founded by Ruth Ibegbuna back in 2007, and the aim of the first project was to challenge the negative perceptions of young black males from Moss Side. Since then, the organisation has expanded its work, both in terms of geographical area (we now work across all regions of Greater Manchester) and in terms of demographics (we work with young people of all genders and ethnicities – as long as they’re from a working class community). But the core mission of our work has remained consistent; to equip working class young people with the skills, knowledge and networks to create meaningful social change. We aim to end leadership inequality within a generation.

As a charity, our reputation and profile has grown substantially; our young people met Richard Branson last month, we’re regularly featured in the National Press and our young people speak on TV and Radio. Yet despite this, behind the scenes, we are under resourced and often struggling to make ends meet. As a staff member, this is what’s so challenging but exciting about my role. I’m a Jack of all trades; constantly having to change hats, learn new skills and often just wing it! We rely on the pro-bono support of companies and organisations who are willing to offer their expertise and time.

My role now is to create a new programme for RECLAIM ‘Alumni’ – an ‘Alumni’ being any young person who has completed a RECLAM project in the past. Our programmes usually finish when young people turn 14, but we’ve realised that as they get older, they face new challenges and arguably need our support more than ever. We have almost 900 alumni, dating back from 2007 – so the job of getting in touch and re-engaging them is a big one.

Rapport Agency, after seeing one of our billboard campaigns, got in touch to offer their support. I’ll be honest – we are offered support regularly, which is great – but it’s rarely the support that we actually need, and is often more work for us to facilitate. Rapport, on the other hand, looked at my workload and offered to help in whatever way they could.

Rapport have given me a massive amount of practical administration support. Amy collated all our old database into one, beautiful spreadsheet. Then several members of the Rapport team helped to track down and call alumni (which was often like detective work, as most numbers from 2007 were no longer in use). Next they’re helping run a young person consultation day, which will be held at Rapport offices later this month. They have offered me strategic support, allowing for head space to air my thoughts and ideas in a safe space. The amount and variety of help Rapport has given has massively reduced my workload, allowing me to focus on other priorities such as applying for funding, programme planning and working directly with young people.

Not only this, but the team are a joy to work around – funny, sharp and enthusiastic. I look forward to our continued collaboration, and want to use this opportunity to send a giant thank you their way!

Twitter: @RECLAIMproject

Categories: Community