Today, Ark joins #GivingTuesday 2021, the global day of generosity, and this year we’re reflecting on how funding supported young children and families (30th November).
Last year, we launched our Coronavirus Appeal to raise funds and help our communities recover from the worst effects of the pandemic. In September 2020, we secured a £4.75m funding boost from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Community Match Challenge scheme. This matched Ark and our partner organisations’ voluntary donations to fund a range of educational and social initiatives to address particular needs.
The funding provided increased access to digital home learning, support for specialist English and Maths catch-up teaching, and targeted mental health support for children. It included educational and training opportunities for vulnerable and at-risk young people. In total, our schools and ventures provided necessities to families, such as children’s clothes and equipment – helping more than 33,000 people through the pandemic. You can read how the DCMS funding helped our ventures – including Ark Curriculum Plus, Get Further, Little Village and SHiFT (formerly Whatever it Takes) on our blog here.
Cordelia Harwood, Head of Development, said: “In the wake of the pandemic, traditional fundraising opportunities were shut off - impacting those people who needed the most help.
“Since the first lockdown in March 2020, there have been enormous demands for help, so today is a fantastic opportunity to thank DCMS and all our supporters and reflect on how funding has supported young people and their families.
“The most significant impact of the DCMS funding was providing laptops for students to continue learning at home during lockdowns and school disruption. This was an immediate need on a large scale. Providing laptops for students from Year 3 was already in the development plan for Ark, with an ambition to achieve this within two years. The funding from DCMS and our supporters enabled this to happen within six months. More than 21,000 laptops were distributed to students who needed them to use in their homes.
On mental health, Cordelia added: “The funding helped raise the profile of mental health needs in schools. We delivered mental health first aid, emotional literacy, and training in trauma-informed teaching to school staff. Therefore, all were equipped to talk to their students, spot changes in behaviour, and know when more specialist counselling was needed.
“It will take a long time to move on from the disruption caused by the pandemic, but we will continue to support the communities most impacted by Covid-19.”