This year we announced three new partnerships with innovative charities that address critical issues, working to transform the lives of individuals while also driving broader social change.
AT the Bus
Rates of depression and anxiety have increased among teenagers by 70% in the last 25 years. In the UK, 60% of those who need mental health support do not have access to it during childhood. The majority of lifelong mental illness starts during adolescence, with 93% of teachers reporting increased rates of mental health issues amongst children and teenagers.
AT the Bus offers a school-based programme of art as therapy to support the mental wellbeing of children and young people aged 5 -18 in Oxfordshire. Group sessions take place during the school day in a purposely designed therapeutic studio space in a double decker bus located on school grounds. AT the Bus students work in small groups led by experienced facilitators trained in The Beattie Methodology, a creative therapeutic intervention that supports mental wellbeing, alleviates anxiety, develops resilience and helps young people build their self-esteem, self-confidence and independence. The double decker bus offers a calm, safe space within the school site for students to access.
Women’s offending is frequently underpinned by a range of complex and gender-specific needs. Clean Break was set up in 1979 by two women prisoners who believed that theatre could bring the hidden stories of imprisoned women to a wider audience. Clean Break produces ground-breaking theatre which puts women’s voices at its heart. Through theatre and tailored support, Clean Break builds women’s resilience, skills and creativity and gives them a voice.
The Foundation and Clean Break worked closely this year to launch a mentoring programme. The pilot programme, which is the first of its kind for the charity, aims to build positive relationships and bring in a different perspective for both mentors and mentees. The Foundation also hosted Clean Break’s performance of Sweatbox outside Mansion House on City Giving Day, 24 September 2019. Sweatbox invites audiences to enter the back of a prison van in which three women share their stories as they are transported from court to prison, from prison to prison, from prison to court. What unfolds is a revealing and emotional 15-minute journey through anticipation to arrival.
Bounce Back charity and social enterprise works both in and out of prison to train and prepare people for employment. With training centres in several prisons as well as in the community, their focus is on giving people the opportunity to gain skills and qualifications that will enable them to secure employment on release either in the Bounce Back Decorating Team or with construction industry partners. They train in skills that are in demand by the industry including painting and decorating, scaffolding, dry lining and aerial window cleaning. Fully supporting people throughout their time in prison and through the gate, Bounce Back act as a ‘bridge’ working with individuals for up to a year as they return to their lives and into work. The Foundation provides capacity funding including essential infrastructure and case management resources.
This year we held two volunteering events with Bounce Back. In June, volunteers from Columbia Threadneedle supported Bounce Back members by joining a day of painting and decorating training. In September, volunteers were taken to HMP ISIS to help young offenders approaching their release date write CVs.
Over 300 Columbia Threadneedle employees volunteered in 2019, a record number demonstrating our commitment to helping and working with our local community. Charities and activities we supported include:
- Preparing hot meals for the homeless with Ace of Clubs
- Planting more than 400 trees in London with Trees for Cities
- Hosting fun-packed days of activities with Manorfield Primary School learning about teamwork and enterprise
- Organising sports days for teenagers with Access Sport including BMX cycling and hockey games in Olympic Park
- Supporting over 250 under-11s to learn how to code with the Institute of Imagination
- Providing much needed maintenance and gardening support for Thrive and Stepney City Farm