Rio Ferdinand Foundation, Young Urban Arts Foundation and Digilearning Foundation come together to launch the UK’s first inclusive skills platform (Y.R.D) combining mental wellness, digital, arts, creativity and sports leadership to support the underserved communities around the UK.
Current statistics during the COVID-19 pandemic show that 13 -24 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds are the loneliest group in the UK. They are disengaged, will be lacking in digital skills and will be in high need of emotional and mental-health support post-pandemic.
“Too many young people are digitally isolated and being left behind, we need to support them, to futureproof them” Rio Ferdinand
Y.R.D’s, a partnership between Young Urban Arts Foundation, Rio Ferdinand Foundation and the Digilearning Foundation, is on a mission to change that. These three charitable foundations are all built on lived experiences with a sole aim to help inspire and provide skills and direction for future generations.
“While young people may be less vulnerable to coronavirus infection, communication with our beneficiaries has shown that fear, anxiety and emotional difficulties have been heightened during the crisis. Lockdown has left many isolated and at further risk. Some have also been exposed to difficult circumstances in their homes” Kerry O’Brian (Young Urban Arts Foundation)
Y.R.D’s programs will predominantly focus on targeting young people aged 13-24. These young people will primarily be from hard-to-reach, underserved communities throughout the UK. Y.R.D will provide a blend of music, creative arts, sports and tech skills aimed at improving participants’ emotional wellbeing and reducing feelings of isolation. Programs, content, and workshops will deliver positive, impactful skills and a message of hope in these uncertain times. By engaging a range of ‘lived experience’ digital leaders, artists, athletes and insiders to showcase and drive their message, Y.R.D’s aim is to build a strong connection with young people and reach them in a language they understand, within a culture they embrace.
“Currently there are 22% of children living in relative poverty in the UK and this number is growing. We must get to the root of the cause and ensure people have the essential skills to thrive in life and a concerted focus needs to be on our young, they are our future!" Lisa Goodchild. Founder, Digilearning
“I’m proud of expressing myself properly because I don’t do that too often and I don’t have too many ways to do that. It helped me released some emotions, I don’t usually be with my emotions” - Y.R.D Participant, 14
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
Goal of Y.R.D. initiatives
Digilearning is the brainchild of Lisa Goodchild (named one of the UK’s Top 100 Entrepreneurs) and Sarah Wilson, and is a company dedicated to educating children, parents, and teachers with digital skills for now and the future. We know how important it is for children to know the foundations of the online and offline world; growing up in single-parent families and living in social housing, we understand the realities of 21st Century life for the vast number of children with similar backgrounds to our own. Social mobility and diversity in the workforce is at our core.
Digilearning is working with various schools in key academies throughout the UK, visiting schools with the Ministry of Education in Jamaica, partnering with the Ministry of Science and Innovation in Barbados, as well as working with children in the care system and providing digital skills workshops with the young people at The Prince’s Trust International. Digilearning have achieved amazing results with their digital educational programmes. We are a UK registered charity digilearning.co.uk/
About Young Urban Arts Foundation (YUAF)
Since 2009, YUAF has been helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people fulfil their potential by engaging them with music and other arts. YUAF create a safe space for young people to break free from the fears and barriers they face, talk about mental health issues and show, showing by example, that they can become whoever they want to be. Through Young Urban Arts Foundation workshops and programmes, young people may develop their creativity, skills and self-esteem, with many gaining the confidence to get into employment or further education, whilst others might overcome personal issues they may have. YUAF deliver exciting workshops and programmes in the heart of communities using its unique Outreach Media Bus, or by bringing staff and resources to schools, community centres, youth hubs or any venue that needs it. www.yuaf.org/
About the Rio Ferdinand Foundation
Rio Ferdinand set up his Foundation in 2012 so that he could have a closer relationship with his charitable work and tackle social issues important to him. Recognising that sports, media and the creative arts are great motivating factors for young people, the Foundation utilises those mediums and Rio’s connections within those industries, to provide a pathway for youth development.
We are a value driven organisation and pride ourselves on using these as the foundation for our people and our work. We have developed these core values with input from our young people: rioferdinandfoundation.com/