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Baroness Stowell of Beeston, new Charity Commission chair, visits ThinkForward in Nottingham

We were delighted to host a visit by Baroness Stowell of Beeston, the newly appointed chair of the Charity Commission, to our programme in Nottingham.

Baroness Stowell, who is from the city, visited ThinkForward as part of a fact-finding mission to learn more about the third sector.  It was her first visit to a Nottingham charity since taking up the role in February this year.

ThinkForward has been working in Nottingham since 2016 and is in five schools in north Nottingham and St Ann’s. We provide a coach who works with challenging and often disadvantaged students who are identified as being at high risk of being not in employment, education or training (NEET) when they leave education, with all the negative consequences that is likely to have on their future.

Sally is a Year 11 student at Ellis Guilford. She met Baroness Stowell and spoke to her about the benefits of being on the ThinkForward programme. Sally said: ‘It was really interesting to meet Baroness Stowell and inspirational to learn that she is in the House of Lords. It really opened my mind to what it’s possible to achieve if you work hard and put your mind to something.’

Baroness Stowell, with her interest in education and how it affects social mobility, was particularly keen to find out more about a charity in her home city that helps young people succeed.

She commented: “I would like to thank the trustees, staff and volunteers at ThinkForward for giving up their time to meet me today, and also to thank one of their corporate partners, KPMG Nottingham, for hosting us. I greatly enjoyed my visit and was especially pleased to meet one of the charity’s young beneficiaries, Sally, who is relishing the support she is receiving from ThinkForward because, she told me, she believes those involved in the charity are genuine and really do care about helping people like her.

‘She is clearly embracing everything they can do to help her be the best she can be. Sally is certainly an inspiration and I liked her motto: ‘every opportunity is an open door’.

“I was also delighted to meet the team from ThinkForward. Together they gave me a complete picture of ThinkForward’s inception, progress, arrival in Nottingham, and the impact it is having on the lives of young people. They made clear the charity’s success relies on its commitment to delivering its purpose and demonstrating the impact of their work.”

Also at the meeting was Kat Kirk from KPMG. The accountancy firms is one of ThinkForward’s business mentoring partners, and staff volunteers mentor Y10 students at Ellis Guildford School. 

Daniel Gray who runs the ThinkForward programme in the city said: “We are delighted Baroness Stowell chose to visit ThinkForward in Nottingham and learn more about how we work with some of the city’s most disadvantaged young people. This year we will be expanding to a sixth school, enabling ThinkForward to reach up to 220 students, and support them into employment, training or further education.”