The world’s mine oyster | Transforming lives through the unique power of Shakespeare

Meet our members: Shakespeare Schools Foundation

By supporting Shakespeare Schools Foundation (SSF), you can give young people across the UK the self-esteem and confidence they need to succeed on whatever stage they choose in life, whether that be a boardroom, courtroom, or factory floor.

At the heart of SSF’s transformative work is the Shakespeare Schools Festival, the world’s largest youth drama festival. Every year, the charity works with up to 30,000 pupils from every community, background, and school type across the UK, encouraging them to engage with Shakespeare in an active way. Months of preparation culminate in exhilarating performance evenings in professional theatres nationwide. The process is life-changing for young people. It shows them just how much they can achieve. It encourages them to speak up and join in, make new friends, to be brave, and ambitious. By giving young people confidence and resilience, teamwork and literary skills, the Festival equips and emboldens them not only to face, but to prosper, in whatever the challenges of modern life might hold for them.

Every year, they work with thousands of pupils from every community, background, and school type across the UK. Months of preparation culminate in exhilarating performance evenings in professional theatres nationwide; a night which can give confidence and self esteem to last a lifetime.

“In the future it helps you with a job, if you didn’t do this you may not have the guts.” Yusuf, aged 10.

Following our 2017 Festival, 99% of teachers told us that their students’ confidence increased, and 86% reported improvements in academic attainment.

SSF believes that Shakespeare should be for everyone. His works widen cultural horizons and teach us all more about what it means to be human. For that reason, the charity works hard to engage with the most marginalised communities, including those with special educational needs and from minority ethnic backgrounds. They are also passionate about reaching those living in areas of deprivation.

We caught up with Caspar Cech-Lucas from the Fundraising Team to chat a little bit more about SSF and why Work for Good is the right fit for their needs:

Why did you join Work for Good?

Shakespeare Schools Foundation joined Work For Good because it is a unique way to find corporations who are friends to our cause.
With the flexibility and variety of ways that corporations can donate through Work for Good, we feel that we can create more meaningful relationships with the WFG community.
WFG acts as a middle man and takes the complication out of corporate donations, making it easier for corporations and charities to connect. They have been very supportive in helping us engage with new businesses and we can’t wait to continue working with the team there.

How does WFG enable SSF connections with business they may have otherwise not have time to build a giving relationships with?

We are a small fundraising team working to tight deadline pressures. However, we have big ambitions to change more lives. Day to day, we work hard to develop relationships with trusts and foundations and on our fundraising events. We are always keen to show our supporters the impact of their generosity in action and regularly ask our young festival participants to put on additional performances for our donors.
In 2016, pupils performed at 10 Downing Street. Just last week, primary, secondary, and special school children performed in the West End’s Novello Theatre for our Trial of Richard III. We’ve already worked with over 250,000 children since our inception, but we don’t want to stop there. As well as these large-scale initiatives, we are also focused on nurturing individual givers. WFG is an invaluable tool in allowing us reach corporates more effectively. It provides a transparent and intuitive structure so that all parties have a better understanding of the mutual benefits of engagement. We would like to grow our work with corporates and are always exploring new ways to start a conversation. For instance, we are currently developing our corporate workshop offering.

What changes could be made to charities such as SSF if business giving became the norm?

A stronger engagement with corporate sector would solidify and further diversify our funding sources, allowing greater stability and the opportunity for more secure future planning for our charity. The bottom line is the more money we raise, the more young lives we can change. We could expand our holistic programme of engagement to reach more young people and give them the confidence and the skills they need to succeed in life. Engagement with the corporate sector could take what we do to the next level, and with the help of WFG we hope to meet businesses who share our values.

SSF has just published their 2017 Impact Report.

View their WFG profile

Find out more about how your business can donate to SSF via Work for Good

www.shakespeareschools.org/