This Giving Tuesday is a time to show support for the causes we care about and, for Ark, a moment to celebrate the generosity of our partners and donors.
Holly Mumford, Ark's Head of Development, reflects on the progress and successes we've seen thanks to this fantastic support.
Thank you to all our supporters
Last academic year, more than 520 volunteers from 59 partners gave their time to support our students through various activities, including careers talks, mentoring and insight days. Our partners also shared their expertise and access to their networks as part of our in-kind programme to support the development of our programmes and schools.
The gift of music for every child
Music is an essential part of how young people grow, teaching them basic life skills such as teamwork, resilience and timekeeping while also developing overall well-being and involvement in the school community. This year, we have provided access to classroom-based music lessons and extra-curricular activities, including choirs, ensembles, and performances supported by professional artists.
The reach and breadth of our programme is against the backdrop of declining music provision in state schools. While 85% of independent schools have an orchestra, only 12% of the most deprived schools do. To create opportunity, preserve the role of music and cultivate talent in Ark schools, gifts from our supporters in 2021/2022 allowed us to:
- Provide 20,000 Ark students with music lessons
- Enable 600 students to perform at the Barbican as part of the Ark Music Gala
- Give 15 students with exceptional musical talent a music scholarship as part of the new Ark Scholarship Programme.
Encouraging participation in sport
We have launched several new sports initiatives, including the first Ark junior 7-a-side football tournament. More than 250 students from twelve Ark schools participated, with excitement and friendly rivalry on the pitches. The two competitions – boys and girls – were held at Ark Elvin, with Wembley Stadium as the backdrop.
We also held our first network-wide athletics championship at Croydon Sports Arena. With Year 7 and 8 students competing in a range of track and field events, we do not doubt that we will be able to identify the first of our sports scholars as we look to run trials next year as part of the Ark Scholarship Programme.
Embedding mental health into our schools
We know that young people need a lot of help and that all schools are working hard to have the right mental health provision. Our young people learn better when they have the right support. Thanks to our supporters, we have provided many schools with funding to train their staff and embed good mental health provisions. You can read about Ark Swift and Ark Tindal's work in this area.
Exciting career choices for every student
Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions we make. With the help of our partners, we have:
- Delivered four industry insight conferences, bringing together more than 800 sixth-form students. Several university and employer partners, such as Hilton, PwC and Salesforce, have supported these events.
- Awarded 54 students with bursaries worth £760,000 from partners such as the Spencer Steadman Trust, our newest supporter.
- Paired 65 students with an Oxbridge alum from Ark's partner organisations, including Bain, Capgemini, McKinsey and Marshall Wace, who provided support with applications and mock interviews.
- Helped 30 students find and apply for competitive apprenticeships thanks to Pfizer, Salesforce, Boeing, the Competition and Markets Authority and Deloitte. You might be interested in reading about Michail Savas's experience after participating in a mentoring apprenticeship programme.
- Given 150 students access to health professionals, including practitioners, GPs, physiotherapists, nurses, prosthetists, occupational therapists and dietitians through our Medicine and Healthcare Careers Fair supported by partners, including Imperial College London, St George's, University of London, and Medicine without Barriers.
Supporting families in times of hardship
Alongside the many great opportunities we're giving children, we can't ignore the current cost-of-living crisis. Leading the charge is Ark Elvin's joint initiative with Sufra NW London, funded by the Raheem Sterling Foundation. Every Wednesday evening, the school opens its kitchen and provides a delicious three-course meal for hundreds of guests. While schools are working locally, we are looking at how we can help them support families more broadly.
Want to help?
There's still so much to do to ensure every child has access to the best education and opportunities to thrive. There are many ways you could get involved with our work.
If you're interested in supporting what we do, please contact Holly Mumford.