We are incredibly proud of how much Olive Academies Foundation has accomplished since launching in May 2022, much of which is thanks to you; our valued supporters.
Our ongoing fundraising efforts have, so far, raised in excess of £50,000 which has opened the door to so many opportunities for the marginalised young people we work with.
Thanks to these generous donations, we have successfully delivered the first phase of our Venture Beyond programme, providing tailored enrichment projects to develop essential traits that will benefit each student’s education and work opportunities, and their role in society. And I am delighted to share below a selection of those projects, as well as some of the benefits we are starting to see.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to share with you the foundation's first annual report and accounts providing an overview of our progress since we registered as a charity in 2021.
I hope you enjoy the newsletter and may I thank you once again for your valued support.
Chair of Olive Academies Foundation
Through our Venture Beyond programme, we have provided a range of outdoor challenges that have supported students to push their limits, build confidence, develop resilience and broaden their horizons. Planned and delivered by OA staff, who have expert knowledge of each student's needs and abilities, in conjunction with specialist outdoor learning providers, each session has been tailored to ensure maximum impact and lasting results for all participants.
Our students' self-confidence, willingness to complete tasks and ability to communicate feelings have developed exponentially. This has been reflected in improvements across the curriculum as well, notably in English, maths, science and PSHE.
Working with specialist provider Grangewaters Outdoor Education Centre, helped by Venture Beyond funding, we were able to extend outdoor learning at our Thurrock academy to include water activity and safety. Whilst learning in teams how to sail and paddleboard, students gained first-hand knowledge of safety on and around water and the responsible use of equipment. Participating students have now achieved an AQA qualification in Water Safety and Activities.
The activity was demanding and designed to support physical and mental health, which is integral to our approach at Olive Academies. Grangewaters´ instructors also upskilled our outdoor learning staff and, as a result, we have started to time-table paddleboarding for students attending our Thurrock academy. The experience of these shared learning experiences with students have had a very positive effect on classroom relationships back at school.
Venture Beyond has helped students develop new skills and interests by offering them opportunities and experiences they would otherwise not have. Through our archery sessions, students have been able to master the discipline-focused challenge of hand to eye co-ordination and a level of competition.
Led by our partner, East Coast Adventures, archery was a popular option and also gave our students the opportunity to learn about the context of the sport, which our teachers linked to the history curriculum.
I'd never done archery before. At first, I was nervous. I didn’t think I would be able to do it but the instructors showed us the techniques and after a few tries, I managed to start hitting the target! It felt really good.
We've seen a positive impact in the classroom as a result of linking these archery sessions with the history curriculum. Students have been genuinely interested to learn about the role of archery as an ancient hunting skill and form of entertainment.
Over the year ahead
We are delighted that Venture Beyond grants are helping our academies to develop a range of outdoor and adventure skills among their students.
In the year ahead, two academies will be offering students the opportunity to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s bronze award, which will involve volunteering in the community as well as learning mountain-biking, camp-craft and wakeboarding.
Another of our academies will be focusing on farming and horticulture, learning practical skills about growing fruit and vegetables at the academy and attending a therapeutic farm to support students’ wellbeing and learn the practical skills of animal husbandry.
We have been successful in applying for some further small grants for specific Venture Beyond projects including from BNI Foundation UK, the Haslers Foundation, St James Place and our first European funder; It’s Great Out There Coalition.
This summer Olive Academies Foundation held its first sponsored event; a 10km circular walk around Cambridge, which raised just over £14,000 far exceeding the £11,000 target. We can confidently make plans for 2024 that will emulate this successful model of community fundraising and could include exciting sponsorship opportunities with brand activation.
Thank you for your support
Our supporters have helped our academy staff to further transform the lives of some of our at-risk children and young people. And, with renewed support, there is so much more we can achieve together. We have ambitious plans as we extend the reach of Venture Beyond across all our academies. We will be taking a systematic approach to evaluating the difference the enrichment learning programmes will have for even more young people.
To find out more or to contribute to our plans for 2024 please contact us.
Phone: 01708 982624