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Shaftesbury Young People


Who are we?


Vision: Our vision is that vulnerable, disadvantaged and excluded young people have bright and fulfilling futures and make contribution to society


Mission: We aim to make Shaftesbury Young People (SYP) a stable, sustainable and growing charity, dedicated to supporting young people in care and in need to find their voice, to be healthy, to learn, develop, achieve and be able to make a positive contribution to society by providing them with the opportunities, environments, experiences and education necessary for them to achieve these aims.




Shaftesbury Young People has a long and proud history of supporting young people in need since we were formed as Shaftesbury Homes and Arethusa in 1843.


Since then the charity, like the rest of the world, has undergone a lot of changes, taking young people who were living on the streets and providing them with education through ragged schools, giving them the opportunity to gain employment; to a naval training ship, that provided education and training into the Royal and Merchant navy’s, and from there expanded into to residential children’s homes. The charity decided to move away from providing residential care and focused on Educational Services and provision to a number of local authorities in London, as well as other parts of the country. In addition we provide a valuable initiate, The Siblings United project, which brings together siblings who are separated through the care system. As well as, the Arethusa Venture Centre. Despite the significant changes in funding of our educational services, we continue our mission and the focus of our work has always remained the same – to enhance and improve the lives of the most vulnerable young people in our society and to provide them with the opportunity to live an independent life and to make a contribution to society.


What do we do?


1)    Education


Based upon years of experience providing residential care for London inner-city children, SYP has developed a number of substantive programmes of intervention for young people who has either failed to access education, or indeed have been excluded from mainstream education or who have had multiple education placement breakdowns because of either of living in residential care or because of a break down in the family setting. This model now underpins the delivery of our educational services to young people aged 6-18 and is delivered in:


  • London Extended Learning Centre (Lambeth, Westminster and  Wandsworth)
  • Warwickshire Independent School (Keresley)
  • Stoke-On-Trent looked after children education centre
  • Nationally, we offer ‘spot’ (1-2-1) purchased education services for children in need.


2)    Arethusa Venture Centre (AVC)


SYP owns and runs an outdoor education Venture Centre in Kent, which offers young vulnerable people the opportunity to enjoy activities that help them to develop various life skills. We use the AVC as a medium to draw out the qualities in young people that may otherwise be overlooked.


3)    Siblings United


Siblings United is an innovative programme that brings together brothers and sisters who have been separated by the care system on residential holiday. In addition there are also various day trips available to continue building that relationship otherwise weakened by care system separation. Siblings United has clearly demonstrated the benefits of sibling contact for their future well being and development. This is an area we are extremely keen to expand further.


Future Direction


Whilst we provide valuable educational services to the most vulnerable young people, it is now our intention to develop a range of programmes that will not only provide them with the educational needs to gain employment, but importantly, to provide them with an opening through vocational training to gain opportunities into employment. For this we aim to extend our age range of young people; up to 25 years. This takes us back to our roots, helping young people in need with education and employment, so they are able to live independent lives and make a contribution to society. 


As part of this new and important initiative, it is our intention to enter into a number of corporate partnerships that will help us to deliver these employment opportunities and to reach our aims and objectives. 



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