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Project information

Reading challenge on housing, refuge & belonging

How do children make sense of today's major questions? Our reading challenge themed on 'Home' gives children a forum to consider housing, homelessness, refuge & belonging. Help us raise £400 to offer our materials to 7-11year olds in schools across England. Lewisham children recommend us!

June 2018 - June 2019

Charity information: Lifejackets

Lifejackets logo
  • Need


    Shelter estimate that 1.6 million children live in housing that is temporary, overcrowded or run-down. In 2016, Crisis found street homelessness had risen by 10% in London from the year before.
    In our own research with teachers & youth workers, 79% thought the children they work with worried about housing problems, affecting themsleves or others.
    Children are often very aware of issues like housing and the refugee crisis, but don't often have access to forums adults use to make sense of them.


    LifeJackets activities will provide an opportunity for children to consider these issues in a hopeful, empowering and age-appropriate way.
    More than 200 children took part in our first challenge in Lewisham, South London. The overwhelming majority of children we evaluated with, reported thinking differently as a result of taking part and 100% of teachers surveyed told us their children had thought about 'home' in a way they hadn't before.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To help children to develop a compassionate understanding of others and the challenges they face.


    » Our activities are designed to encourage children to learn from poems and stories, seeing the world through other peoples' eyes.

    What success will look like

    A successful outcome would be that 50 schools will register to run our activities and 700 children will have the opportunity to take part in our activities.

  • Impact


    Children will have an opportunity to consider issues that most of them will have some awareness of, resulting in greater understanding of these issues and a compassion for those who face them.

    To know how successful we have been, we'll be asking teachers from all schools to evaluate with us as well as seeking 2 sample schools for us to interview groups of participants about what difference the activities have made to them and how they think about the issues afterards.


    The risks are:
    1) that schools won't know that our resources exist.
    2) that we won't get information back from schools.

    1) We have recruited volunteers with extensive media experience (using the media trust) and developed a detailed media plan to reach headteachers. We have been making a range of contacts to support us in this.

    2) We'll be monitoring registrations, keeping in touch with schools that register. Our plan involves funding for an incentive schools can win by returning evaluation


    We will provide quarterly updates on our progress by email. We'll talk through challenges, changes and future development.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £400

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £70 Copyright We reproduce poems in our pack (following feedback from teachers) and need to pay the poets' fees.
      £40 Images For effective publicity we will need access to a range of images.
      £200 Books as prizes Books on the topic are offered as prizes, as an incentive for schools who return evaluation info.
      £40 Travel Expenses for volunteers
      £50 Core costs contribution towards core costs (insurance, website security cert etc) without which we can't run.
  • Background


    We will promote the project throughout England. Any schools or youth projects that register will be able to download our resource.


    Our resource is designed for 7-11 year olds. We care passionately that they are universal and open to all. Our activities are also designed to include drawing as well as writing and our pilot demonstrated that it is accessible to children with low levels of literacy.

    Our volunteer team includes an SEN specialist to advise on activities and we will actively be promoting our challenge to schools for pupils with special or diverse needs.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have carried out a pilot and run this resource in Lewisham schools so have experience with this theme, resource and issue.

    This experience has been successful with 100% of teachers surveyed reporting that our acivitiy helped their pupils gain an increased understanding of others and over 80% reporting an increase in empathetic behaviour amongst their pupils.

    Above all, we are the dedicated team of volunteers who saw the need and whose passion for stories and poems has shaped this project.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Carrie Comfort

    A youth worker for 20 years, Carrie has experience using books to help children think about their worlds. She is Acting Director & Chair of Trustees

    Diana Tutt

    Treasurer, Diana is an experienced accountant with well over a decade of experience supporting charities with finance and resources.

It allowed them to discuss the world today outside the classroom.

Key stage 2 teacher after taking part in LifeJackets activities.