Today marks the day we report on our impact and financial results for the 2020/21 academic year.
We are proud to report that, in a year like no other, Speakers Trust continued to empower thousands of young people by supporting them to develop the confidence and skills to speak in public. The charity has not only survived this second Covid affected year, but thrived as we developed our online learning resources and remote training offer.
During a year in which so much has been achieved, we are also pleased to report that the charity has made a small financial surplus. Speakers Trust continues to be a strong and financially resilient charity, that is well placed to embrace the changing education and technology landscape.
Thank you to all those people and organisations, who have helped us achieve so much in the last 12 months.
In introducing our Annual Report, Fiona Wilkinson, Chair, wrote
“Our work changes young people’s lives. Communication skills are vital for young people to achieve their potential at school and in work and for them to have the confidence and ability to influence social change.
We do this by delivering workshops that develop young people’s confidence and their communication skills. We then provide opportunities for young people to share their ideas and perspectives, firstly at school and then to a wider audience. In the coming year, training will also be available on-line, and through a mix of digital and in-person sessions, so we can continue working with as many young people as possible, whatever the external environment.
The self-confidence to share perspectives also has positive mental health impacts through building a positive self-identity. By talking about subjects that matter to them, each student helps contribute to a better shared understanding of their peers.
The valuable ‘soft skills’ we develop contribute to self-confidence and mental well-being, help young people achieve in education, thrive in the workplace and have a greater voice in shaping the communities in which they live. We measure the impact of our work by collecting data from 25,000 young people and 500 teachers each year, so that we understand what is working well and where we can make further improvements to strengthen our impact. We ask young people to rate their confidence before and after our workshops, and consistently find that those with
the lowest levels of confidence at the outset make the biggest improvements. In the short-term students benefit from challenging themselves to do something they didn’t think they could do. In the longer term these new skills lead to improved confidence, greater achievements in school, better work prospects and the ability to influence change in the community.
The programmes run by the Speakers Trust have now reached over 400,000 people with 96% of participants reporting that they feel more confident and better equipped to communicate with others.
The work of the trust is the more vital because these invaluable skills are not adequately covered by the conventional schools’ curriculum.
Our ambition is to extend the reach of our programmes to young people across the whole of the UK. Our investment in digital delivery via webinars, on-line workshops and virtual regional finals means we have the tools to reach students with resources that work for them, wherever they are. We are delighted to be working with funders from a variety of sectors, proud of their continued support through difficult times and keen to demonstrate our capabilities to new supporters.
We are living through a period of particularly intense argument about the future direction of both the United Kingdom and the world. Many of our citizens feel that their voices are not sufficiently heard in these debates.
That makes the work of the Speakers Trust even more valuable.”