In brief

This has been a busy year for Reedham Children’s Trust, as we continue to develop and expand our help for vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

We believe that education can be one of the most effective routes out of poverty and disadvantage.  As our founder Rev. Dr Andrew Reed, one of the great Victorian philanthropists, said:

A good education is a fortune a child can never spend 

Our young people

However for a child with complex needs the benefits of a boarding school education can only be accessed with a great deal of support.  So now we only place our young people in a select group of caring, modern boarding schools, all of whom meet our criteria for high standards of pastoral care and have signed up to the Reedham Charter.  Furthermore, we commit to staying in close touch with the children and their families, providing support and intervention when difficulties arise.  Adolescence is often a time when underlying issues can cause challenging behaviour, and we advocate for our young people and work closely with the schools to try and ensure they stay on track towards academic success, stability, and a bright future.           


Monitoring our students closely means not only can we offer support and intervention when appropriate, but also that we continually expand our knowledge of the issues vulnerable young people face - and of the kind of help they really need. Our skilled Children’s Services team continue to do an excellent job supporting our young people in boarding schools, and this year we have also developed some exciting opportunities to expand our support to include children who are not in the boarding school programme.  

Expanding our support

We decided to reach out to the local community through a pilot project with Oasis Academy Coulsdon.  The project was targeted at disadvantaged young people approaching their GCSE examinations, whom the school had identified as being at risk of under-performing.  We are grateful to Reed’s School for their collaboration on this pilot, which involved the young people attending sessions at Reed’s during their school holidays, where they had one-to-one teaching on core subjects, alongside opportunities to take part in sports and extra-curricular activities. 5 of the 8 students saw an achievement of 1-2 grades higher than their original predicted grade in either English, Maths or both of these subjects. The other 3 achieved their predicted grades. Both the students and their teachers at Oasis Academy, reported higher levels of aspiration.

We are also aware of the risks young people may face when they are not in school, particularly during the long summer holidays.  For the third year, another group of our young people benefited from the Reedham residential holiday, which this summer took place at a new venue: an activity centre in Kent. Here they enjoyed taking part in outdoor activities from bushcraft and orienteering, abseiling and zipwires, to sports and team games, whilst also gaining leadership skills and making friends.  In the summer we also piloted a family holiday, in response to feedback from our beneficiaries, which was much enjoyed.

Helping make a difference

This year we have again spent over £500,000 on charitable purposes, and this report gives an overview of our work.  Our grateful thanks go to all our supporters and donors, including the growing group of Reedham Guardians, Marks and Spencer for their second year supporting us, and Sidley Austin for their ‘Treat a Child this Christmas’ campaign.  The end of several fixed-term grants from trusts and foundations has meant our fundraising total is lower than in the previous year, however the excellent work done in raising the profile of Reedham Children’s Trust has already lead to some fruitful relationships which we are developing.  I would of course also like to extend my thanks to my fellow trustees, to our dedicated and hard-working staff, and to our supporters and volunteers, all of whom have contributed to a successful year.

The Board of Management has welcomed two new trustees this year, which brings us to a full complement of ten trustees: a dynamic and diverse group of committed individuals, with a wide range of skills and experience. 

Our future

During the coming year the Board of Management will be undertaking a strategic review of the three-year Business Plan 2015/18, which has been completed.  This will be an opportunity to plan the future strategic direction and priorities of the charity, with a focus on maximising impact in our work to help vulnerable children and young people.  Trustees will be mindful of Charity Commission guidance relating to carrying out purposes for the public benefit and the Charity Governance Code.

Celebrating 175 years!

During 2019 Reedham will be celebrating its 175th anniversary.  The charity was founded in 1844, originally as an orphanage.  Subsequently it evolved into a school, and then into a grant-making Trust, seeking always to help vulnerable and disadvantaged children, and adapting to meet their needs as society changes.  The high point of our anniversary year will be a Service on 21 May 2019 at Southwark Cathedral, led by the Bishop of Croydon The Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, in celebration of 175 years of service to vulnerable children and young people including commemoration and thanksgiving for the life of Andrew Reed. 

D A Welham