Business employment charity needs helping boost to continue

Prince Harry arrives at Sandy Park in Exeter for the 2015 Rugby World Cup match between Namibia and

Prince Harry at Sandy Park in Exeter for the 2015 Rugby World Cup meeting 16-24 year-olds of REEP legacy project - Credit: PA

In 2015 the Rugby World Cup came to Exeter and Exeter City Council funded and ran some legacy projects, one of which was REEP, this stood for Rugby Empowering Employment Programme. 

The programme invited 16 – 24 year-olds who were struggling to find work and the opportunity to attend a two-week programme to improve their confidence, communication, teamwork and employability skills. The programme went a step further in that it reached out to businesses to look for volunteer mentors, trained them prior to the start of the programme and paired the mentors with the young people, to offer ongoing, continued support and guidance after the end of the two weeks. Two cohorts ran very successfully, some of them even had the opportunity of meeting Prince Harry when he visited Sandy Park. So, to keep the legacy going I became a founding trustee of a new charity and REEP became BEEP – Business Empowering Employment Programme.

This link with local businesses was fundamental in making the programme a success. The businesses raised money through their own fundraising events, they offered work experience and jobs and they also offered their members of staff to engage with the programme and become volunteers. Bishop Fleming in Torquay were one such firm who employed a young man in their payroll department after meeting him at the presentation event at the end of the course. Some other businesses who have also offered significant help in terms of raising money and supporting the programme have been Northcott Beaton, Astley Media, Midas, The Training Partnership, the TDA and even further afield PwC in Bristol. There have been so many acts of kindness, support and help I cannot name them all but without the help and support the charity would not have been able to have had such an impact on the lives of so many.

Now some six years on we struggle like many other very worthwhile local charities. With both funding and volunteer mentors, businesses are trying to recover and meet the demands of what is a very new world. The UK’s benevolence is focused quite rightly on the NHS and its associated charities at this time. The charity receives no government funding and can only run programmes when it has raised enough money. We still have some money from previous fundraising activities to run another programme once restrictions are lifted. But to help more with the current employment situation BEEP will need help. If you are considering any fundraising activities, please bear the charity in mind, you are really helping people in your community and this help has never been needed as much as it is now. Do you have employees who want to give something back and volunteer as a mentor or have you considered becoming a volunteer yourself?
Devon has been nominated by the Government as a Red Zone in terms of the impact the virus will have upon the community and the local economy. The pandemic has brought about many losses both in terms of deaths and businesses that will not survive. 

It has not all been doom and gloom though, with Heathcoat Fabrics of Tiverton being part of the amazing landing on Mars and the Exeter Chiefs becoming the best rugby team in the country and Europe and Exeter being pinpointed as a tech hub to watch in 2021.
We have brilliant businesses that exert national and international influence working in many of our towns and villages unrecognised by most of us. But let us not forget what is right on our doorstep, let's help those who need it most and getting people back into work pays back into society, our local community and much more. 

If you would like to know more then please contact me on sandra@sampsonhall.co.uk. Let’s give our local young people the chance they deserve.

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