Ending leadership inequality within a generation with Reclaim

The working-class presence across politics, economics, media, culture and sport is distinctly lacking in the UK. Reclaim seeks to readdress this.

Reclaim is a Manchester-based youth leadership nonprofit set up in 2007 that supports 12 to 13 year olds from pressurised working class communities to lead a positive change in their communities.  Their  LEAD programme works to build confidence, resilience, and social skills in potential young leaders aged 12 to 13. The programme involves a series of activities guided by a manifesto which is developed by the young people as well as links with professional and industry contacts who provide high-level opportunities for the young people to develop key leadership skills.

The need for such programmes is not unique to Manchester and needs to be addressed elsewhere. We worked with Reclaim to develop a strategy to replicate the impact of the LEAD programme across the UK during our first UK Scale Accelerator.

THE CHALLENGE

Since 2008 Reclaim have received requests by organisations both nationally and internationally for support to deliver their LEAD programme but were never sure how to meet this demand, while maintaining the delivery of their central programmes.

Moreover, Reclaim were interested in scaling the reach of LEAD in order to achieve their wider political mission of ending leadership inequality within a generation.

“Prior to Scale Accelerator, we had some ideas around replication and a good understanding of why and where we wanted to replicate - however, we lacked a solid understanding of the details of replication. We have learned a huge amount through this process, and I now feel confident in implementing our plan.”

— -Emily Vickers, Strategic Development Manager, Reclaim

Our Approach

To develop our understanding of LEAD and where it sits in the wider youth sector, we carried out market research and spoke to key stakeholders involved in the programme. Our first workshop was held in Manchester including members of the Reclaim board of trustees, a previous LEAD participant and senior members of staff. During this workshop we worked together to understand Reclaim’s priorities, what they hoped to achieve from scale and what they required from a replication model.

Following this initial workshop we had a series of meetings and phone conversations to allow us to develop the details of an accreditation programme. The model allows Reclaim to accredit other organisations to deliver LEAD, initially training them and then periodically checking they meet the required quality standards to achieve Reclaim’s desired outcomes. During this process we also developed a financial model for the accreditation programme, detailing the costs programme delivery organisations would need to meet to deliver LEAD, as well as the costs to Reclaim to run the accreditation model.

The Results

Prior to launching the accreditation model, Reclaim will pilot their systems, training and processes in a more tightly controlled fashion by acting as lead partner in a consortium. In this consortium, Reclaim will act as a lead bidder, securing funding for an initial three implementers to setup and deliver LEAD in new locations. Over a three-year period, the amount of grant funding would reduce across years two and three, requiring implementers to take more responsibility for fundraising as per the accreditation model design.

Adopting a more controlled approach initially will enable Reclaim to test and build traction for its accreditation model, while being in a position to have more influence over implementers. This approach also provides more time to ensure local funding can be obtained to sustain operations in each location whilst also supporting Reclaim to cover some of the costs it will incur as it grows its network to a size at which point it is sustainable.

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