Leatherhead Collaborative Hub Case Study

In May 2011, Wates led a Seeing is Believing visit in North Leatherhead, to help senior business representatives understand the challenges faced by young people and families in deprived local communities; communities which co-exist next to some of the wealthiest areas in the South East.

Social benefits

  • Has tackled the causes of young people becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) at source.
  • Raised confidence, aspiration and awareness amongst local young people.
  • Reduced anti-social behaviour in the community.

Business benefits

  • Shared best practice and knowledge across organisations, strengthening supply chains and business networks.
  • Enhanced employee engagement.
  • Provided opportunities for personal development amongst staff of participating businesses.

“The Leatherhead Hub was established to provide, through collaboration of local companies, a sustainable, diverse and highly committed resource to find solutions to local issues.The result has been spectacular, not only in the great support provided to Therfield School in the North Leatherhead Community, but also in the impact the hub has had on the employees of the participating businesses. This kind of collaboration and action ensures sustained business impact within Leatherhead that is not dependent on any single organisation, and underlines all of the advantages of localism.The Leatherhead Hub will run and run and provide benefit long into the future"

- Huw Davies,
Chief Financial Officer, Wates Group and Chair of the Leatherhead Hub collaboration
As a result, the businesses collectively decided to explore ways in which they could support the local community in tackling the issues around employability and skills through collaborative engagement with local authorities and community groups. A Collaborative Hub was established to focus resources in a sustainable way into projects and community partners in the North Leatherhead area.

Activity

Through the Hub each organisation brings its own expertise, perspective and resources, sharing best practice through a combination of face to face and virtual meetings. The Hub collectively funds management, admin and intervention facilitation costs via BITC. Every organisation has been proactively involved, taking a lead to maximise available skills and expertise and supporting in collaborative events.

The considerable talent pool of professional skills and expertise has been used to support leadership, teachers, pupils and indirectly families and the wider community.  Activity has been directed towards a number of key challenges faced by the North Leatherhead area, including:

  • 37.2% of pupils achieving 5+ A*-C (inc English & Maths), GCSE or equivalent compared to the national avverage of 58.4% .

  • Having the 3rd highest amount of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) of all Surrey wards.

  • 1 in 5 children living in poverty.

Interventions

Interventions have been targeted across year groups 5 – 13 during the programme so far and have included:

  • Careers Events for years 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

  • Dragons Den events for years 9 & 10

  • Employability Skills events for years 12 & 13

  • Finance, Communications and Marketing support for the school leadership team and governors.

  • Open Evenings for Years 6 and 12.

  • Money Money Money (personal finance) event for yr 10 and 11

  • Work Experience for Yr 11

  • Self esteem workshops

  • SATRO Business Enterprise Challenges for years 5, 7, 8 and 9

Business volunteers Total number of volunteered hours Number of individual beneficiaries
325 1665 1999

Outcomes

Interventions have contributed to a significant increase in attainment and attendance levels, e.g. GCSE attainment of 5 A*-C grades (including Maths and English) has risen to 70%.

The latest anti-social behaviour stats show that incidents of reported ASB have fallen by 32.2% in North Leatherhead. ...the fantastic initiatives organized by the Leatherhead Hub have helped young people to re-engage with their communities and ensure that they have the best possible chance of succeeding both at school and in work. It is one of many projects helping to create a really positive buzz in the area.

- Inspector Andy Rundle,
Surrey Police
Every intervention has been designed collaboratively by all hub partners with the aim of opening the minds of young people to the range of possibilities open to them. The focus is on the widest range of employability skills, not just academic development, so that there are interventions relevant to every individual.

The next event on the calendar is a World of Work fortnight which will see all businesses involved welcome targeted groups of young people into their work environments to give an insight into the work that they undertake and to inspire them to think about their own futures.

Future Aspirations

In addition to the continuing collaborative work with Therfield School, future development of the Leatherhead Hub should see other community groups from the local estates of North Leatherhead being involved and benefitting from business input. This will allow the businesses to make a bigger impact on the area as a whole and to tackle more issues, reaching out to families and those affected by unemployment, homelessness and disability whilst still changing the lives of those children who attend Therfield School.

“Each business and hub partner provides a specific set of skills and expertise which can complement and develop the students' understanding of the relevance of their studies and engage them in their future in a way which previous generations in the community have often not experienced.”  Jeff Place, Deputy Head, Therfield School

 

For further information on the Leatherhead Hub please contact Jen Beacon, Community Impact Manager, Business in the Community 07831 138257 

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