Learning tools and spaces
Our Red Balloon Centres may not be like mainstream schools, but our students still need spaces to study in, and tools to learn with. Will you help ensure that these vulnerable children have everything they need to get their lives back on track?
Our learning spaces
When you walk through the doors of one of our Centres, the first thing you’ll notice is that they have a real ‘home from home’ atmosphere. They are all based in houses, where rooms have been converted into classrooms.
For many children, it is Red Balloon’s relaxed and homely environment that remains in their minds, even years after they’ve moved on.
Students like Peter, who even 10 years after leaving Red Balloon credited the “extremely different environment” specifically for his success. Peter found little support with his autism at his secondary school and, half-way through his GCSEs, he was bullied by his classmates. Peter says:
“I got excluded by my peers constantly, and kept getting excluded.”
When his father heard about Red Balloon, he got in touch and Peter joined. In his own words, he said:
“I fitted in quite quickly and quite well actually, because there were a lot of people my own age there at the time.
“I think generally because it’s in a house and it’s not like a ‘routine school’…it’s more relaxed. The classes are smaller and it is more focused on your speed of learning.”
Peter sat his GCSEs with Red Balloon. The improvements in his social skills and his academic attainment not only improved his life during his teenage years, but made a different to his adult life as well.
He has worked on a BBC3 documentary, lobbied parliament against payday loans and most importantly, made lifelong relationships. He remains friends with fellow students he met first at Red Balloon.
Peter’s hope is that Red Balloon continues to carry on and support more children:
“Because it was essential to my life changing, so I hope that other young people get the same positive experience I did.”
Even our online provision, Red Balloon of the Air (RBAir), has two satellite centres. These are in Milton, Cambridgeshire and Danbury, Essex. RBAir students come to these hubs for face-to-face mentoring and, when they’re ready, to meet with fellow students. For many, this is something they haven’t done for months or even years. These hubs are peaceful, special places.
However, with these spaces come mortgages, rent payments and utilities.
A gift of £300 provides one day’s rent and utilities for one of our Centres.
For students to have the same access and opportunity as mainstream school children, they need the same resources. They need laptops, books, writing and drawing supplies and science boxes, to name a few.
For example, our science teachers send out plastic boxes to RBAir students containing everything they need to safely conduct experiments at home. When students start at RBAir, they are often withdrawn and disengaged from their learning. But we have found that participating in the practical elements of science helps to inspire curiosity and foster an attitude of discovery. Learning becomes not only interesting, but fun!
The boxes contain safe, specialist equipment for learning about the core elements of biology and physics. Students receive microscopes, magnets, Newton metres, torches, mirrors, thermometers, textbooks and other general lab equipment along with some basic chemicals.
Kitting out a science resource box for our most vulnerable students at RBAir costs just £15.
Will you help?
As demand for our services continues to grow, we need support for these essential costs more than ever. Will you make a donation so even more vulnerable children receive the equipment they need to succeed in their exams and find their place in the adult world?