Where there are areas on inequality across the UK, many young people are struggling to gain access to the support they need to overcome challenges and achieve their goals. In England, 20% of children leave school without basic literacy or numeracy. There is a pressing need for more support. By allowing local community resources to work with local schools, to support these children in all aspects of life, improve their overall well-being and, where relevant, remain in sustained education or employment, it results in an improvement in educational attainment and life outcomes.
We are supporting a project called West London Zone, a charity created to improve life chances for the 20% of children most at risk of poor outcomes in this geographical area, by enabling local community resources to work with local schools, and bringing together funding from local authorities, philanthropists, central Government and the schools themselves. The programme is structured as a ‘collective impact bond’ (the first such programme in the UK). WLZ only gets paid if the children achieve certain positive outcomes (see below) – and these outcomes payments are co-funded by local schools, councils, central Government (via Big Lottery Fund) and private philanthropists. Bridges is providing the necessary project finance and project management support.
West London Zone works to bridge the opportunity gap for children and young people in west London through a personalised 2-year programme of support to improve their overall well-being and, where relevant, remain in sustained education or employment, leading to an improvement in educational attainment and life outcomes. Since the launch of the project in Hammersmith and Fulham, one other borough has joined (Kensington & Chelsea). The number of partner schools has grown from three schools in the first cohort to 25 currently.