Kieran’s Story

For some young people, the essential support and guidance they need in life is absent.

Too often this leads to extended periods of time outside education, which can have a detrimental effect on their physical and mental health and increase the likelihood of unemployment, low wages and low quality of work later in life.

The lack of emotional support, guidance and positive role models can mean that even the simplest tasks that many of us take for granted can become almost impossible and having a safe place to sleep at night a luxury.

These are the issues that Kieran faces.

Having spent time in care as a young person, Kieran joined our HITZ Programme at 18 with no qualifications, no safe or consistent place to live and no one to support and guide him though the early stages of his adult life.

Despite his consistent struggle to access learning and make friends, Kieran had never had his learning needs assessed. But despite all of this, he still found time to volunteer at his local community centre, supporting others who found themselves in similar circumstances.

As a result of joining HITZ, Kieran finally had his learning needs assessed, which will enable him to continue to access educational or training support until the age of 25. He will complete this academic year with a level two qualification in Sport and functional skills in English and Maths.

HITZ learners meeting Quins stars Chris Robshaw and Tom Lawday

Perhaps most importantly, with our support, Kieran finally has a place he can call his own.

Despite the global pandemic, thanks to the support of The Harlequins Foundation and our colleagues at Richmond Vineyard, Kieran was accepted into supported living with the YMCA, which will provide Kieran with a home, a stable environment and access to a range of services to support his needs.

Kieran also became the first recipient of The Harlequins Foundation Bursary fund, ensuring he had the essential personal items and food ready for when he moved into his new home.

The Harlequins Foundation Bursary was established in May 2020 in response to COVID-19, to provide support to participants of our programmes during the ongoing pandemic.

However, as we see a return to ‘normal life’ with the lifting of restrictions, the bursary will ensure that no one is prevented from participating in our programmes because of financial hardship.

Kieran said:“HITZ has made me feel much better about myself because of the support I am given inside and outside the classroom.

“Moving into the YMCA has meant I have a space of my own, its much more comfortable and I feel happier and safer as I know there are people here to support me.”

Head of Foundation Marc Leckie added: “We are all very proud of the significant steps Kieran has taken to develop himself that will provide him with an improved opportunity for a better life than the one he faced.

“I am very grateful to the members of the team who have gone out of their way to help Kieran, they should take real pride in the difference they have made to his life.”

Kieran is not alone.

Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics, show more than 770,000 young people were NEET even before the true impact of the pandemic took effect.

 It is only with the help of you, our supporters, that we can continue help give young people like Kieran the tools and support they need.

 That is why we are asking for your donations, so that we can help make hundreds of young people like Kieran to have the same positive outcomes.  

Together we can make a difference, together we can Build Brighter Futures.

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