Project information

Make It! Cultivating Critical Thinking

Make it! supports young people living in London to develop critical thinking skills, giving them the ability to independently make positive decisions about their future, boost their confidence and raise their aspirations.

November 2017 - July 2018

Charity information: Toynbee Hall

Toynbee Hall logo
  • Need


    Too often young people are defined by their backgrounds. Being told that you won’t achieve great things because of where you were born and your family’s income can seriously damage young people’s self esteem.

    In fact, 1 in 5 children living in poverty feel like a failure and are not optimistic about their future- but this needn’t be the case. Make it! supports vulnerable young people across London to believe in themselves, to realise their potential, and give them useful life skills.


    Make it! works with young people who are often overlooked in school. By working with their own mentor and taking part in group work sessions with fellow students on the programme, young people develop their self-awareness, confidence, and the ability to make positive decisions about their own future. At the end of the project they take part in a community activity, giving them the chance to break out of their comfort zone and take pride in contributing to their local community.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Develop young people's critical thinking skills


    » 10 hours of structured group sessions where the young people work towards an accredited qualification in Critical Thinking (equivalent to a GCSE)
    » 16 hours of individual mentoring, encouraging students to challenge their ideas on diverse topics, including politics, body image and relationships

    What success will look like

    The number of students obtaining the qualification will show this, as will feedback from parents and teachers about how young people reflect on their actions and themselves

    Aim 2

    Improve school engagement, sense of belonging and connection with the community


    » An inter-school project where young people build something that has a lasting impact in their community, like an outdoor classroom for primary schools
    » A termly 'most improved' attendance competition, encouraging young people on the trip to make an effort to engage with their education

    What success will look like

    This will be demonstrated by improved school attendance and reports, positive coordinator, parents/carers, teachers, mentor and mentee feedback.

  • Impact


    This project aims to break the cycle of poverty by raising the aspirations of children across London, equipping them with the critical thinking and communication skills to make positive life choices.
    By maintaining and developing our relationships with partner schools, we will be able to monitor key indicators of success, such as attendance and exam results after our intervention. Success will also be seen by a greater number of schools participating and a high school retention rate.


    Specific risks to the project are (a) a lack of funds to enable scaling-up in 2017-18, (b) a lack of volunteers, (c) young people having difficulty engaging with the project

    These risks are managed through (a) a robust fundraising strategy including diversifying our sources of income, (b) a volunteer recruitment process using multiple channels, and (c) working closely with teachers at schools and the young people to ensure the young people are able to take away benefits from the project.


    We have a range of channels in place to enable us to regularly report to donors. These are e-mail, letter, telephone and in person, as appropriate.

    At the end of the project in August, we will compile a robust evaluation report, based on results from surveys taken by students, schools & families

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £116,755

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      Amount Heading Description
      £66,005 Staff costs Full-time specialist Youth Workers and training
      £10,070 Mentoring and Group Work 16 hours of one-to-one mentoring and 8 hours of groupwork + volunteer training and qualifications
      £6,200 Activity Projects Residential, community and challenge based trips
      £34,480 Other Core Project Costs Project management, monitoring and evaluation, communication and rent

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Subsidised contributions from Schools £21,700 Conditional
    Funding from dedicated trusts & foundations £60,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    For the first time this year, Make It! will be open to schools across London. There are ethnically and racially diverse areas and home to stark socioeconomic inequality. As the home of Canary Wharf, Tower Hamlets boasts an average salary of £78,000/pa, yet the borough has highest rate of child poverty in the UK at a staggering rate of 49% and over 9,300 households living in severely overcrowded accommodation.


    Students are referred to us by teachers from our partner schools. They will be in Year 8 (12-13 year olds) and have been on free school meals during a period in the last six years or are “looked after” children. They show one or a combination of: persistent absenteeism causing underachievement or risk of exclusion; poor family support networks; social isolation; poor emotional or social skills; currently receiving social services intervention or just fall short of the threshold.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Toynbee Hall works on the frontline in the struggle against poverty. Based in the East End of London we give some of the UK’s most deprived communities a voice, providing free advice and support and working with them to tackle social injustice. We have over 20 years experience working with vulnerable young people in local schools, using methods of active learning and informal education to improve and support young people’s emotional and social wellbeing. Make It! is our flagship youth programme.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Curtis Worrell, Project Coordinator

    Curtis has 10 years of experience in youth work, a degree in Informal Education and has just begun an MSc in Education, Power and Social Change.

    Evelyn Stanley, Project Worker

    Evelyn is a highly qualified youth worker who will be responsible for mentoring 15 young people, as well as for the the running of the project.


£50 will train a volunteer mentor to help a young person realise their aspirations