Why I’m supporting Reclaim — the charity championing the working class

I read a few years ago about a psychology experiment. Teachers were told that some students were late developers and would soon flourish and become better academically.

A year on, the students did perform better. In fact they performed significantly better than the rest of the class.

The only issue was — they had been chosen at random. They did perform better and improved academically but only because the teachers expected them to. The expectations of our teachers and others in our lives have a profound impact on what we can and do achieve.

Young people from working class backgrounds face this every day. Society has lower expectations for them and this shapes what they can and do achieve. Amazing young people with skills and potential do not have the opportunities to lead our country and our institutions because our society does not expect them to.

It expects the middle class kids, and the children of a privileged elite to lead the country. And because those are the kind of people who lead the country now, that’s what we expect leaders of the future to look like.

Reclaim seeks to disrupt this cycle. By providing opportunities to develop skills in leadership and enterprise to working class young people, it is sowing the seeds of a more representative future.

Reclaim is training up a generation of leaders from working class communities across the North West to enter politics or commerce over the next 5–10 years. It seeks to help these young people challenge expectations of working class youth and ensure these barriers are not there for future generations.

And it seeks to do this while helping young people take pride and ownership in the communities they do come from.

I’ve recently joined the board of Reclaim because I see it as the kind of future I’d like our country to have. But Reclaim is independent — it doesn’t have direct funding from government and it doesn’t have local authority funding.

So I want to go to the ends of the earth to support their work and running from Fort William to Cape Wrath seems like the nearest I’ll get to that. I’ll be running 280 miles in 8 days, over some of the UK’s most inhospitable terrain. This means running up to 45 miles per day and is the equivalent in height gain of going up Everest and back in 8 days.

I hope you can support my attempts and most importantly support Reclaim.

I have paid for all of the expenses of the trip so every penny you send in goes to Reclaim.