Brathay has moved on substantially since its early days, and yet we have retained the central ethos of our work – to develop people to enable them to realise their potential throughout their lives.
The first decade of the century was one of change; government policy challenged charities to get involved in engaging with statutory services in new and different ways and Brathay was at the forefront of doing so. In 2005, we secured substantial funding to set up our own community bases to provide long term leadership and personal development programmes for young people, particularly those who are growing up with major barriers to them transitioning into successful, happy adults. Young people were able to benefit from Brathay’s approach from London to Yorkshire and across the North West of England.
In addition, we focused more specifically on research; we established a permanent research unit, now known as the Brathay Research Hub, and formalised strategic partnerships with University of Cumbria, Bedfordshire and Lancaster. This has become a major element of Brathay’s ability to influence the lives of many more young people than we can work with ourselves; sharing our knowledge via conferences, articles and training other practitioners across the sector.
Following the 2008 economic crash, all charities, including Brathay were forced to again review and refocus and we changed again. While some of our more geographically remote community bases were forced to close due to lack of sustainable funding, we also took control of two additional outdoor education centres, on behalf of Wigan Council. Low Bank Ground, on the shores of Coniston Water and Hinning House, nestled deep in the Duddon Valley at the foot of the Lake District Central Fells, work with over 2,500 school children each year, mainly from Wigan. A great addition to the scope of Brathay’s work and deepening the relationship with Wigan Council.