The Reach Out Project was founded in 2017 by friends Lillian and Michaela, to help combat the lack of social, cultural and enriching opportunities afforded to young people living in inner-city London.
It came after the pair went to a sold-out Stormzy gig at the Brixton O2 Academy in 2017. They noticed that although Stormzy represented the youth of inner-city London, his audience that night did not reflect that. A large part of the chaperoned audience were young, Caucasian children. Outside the venue, however, on the streets of Brixton, were many young people of African & Caribbean descent.
Lillian and Michaela spotted a paradox between those enjoying the gig, and those outside the venue. It was at that moment the idea for a community project was born; one that would give young people in London the opportunity to access cultural experiences that they otherwise could not afford or would not have access to.
So, for the 2017/18 academic year, they partnered with The Archbishop Lanfranc Academy in Croydon to provide a packaged service designed to give young people access to a range of cultural opportunities, tailored mentoring sessions and access to work experience.
In 2018, The Reach Out Project expanded its team to include Emmanuel, an experienced youth worker who shared Lillian and Michaela’s passion for changing the narrative of young African & Caribbean boys in London. Shortly after, The Reach Out Project became a registered Community Interest Company.
By 2019, the number of young people on the programme increased by 150% and The Reach Out Project proudly announced their official partnership with Arsenal Football Club legend, Ian Wright. The Reach Out Project also received funding via The Cadet Trust, a charity created in memory of South London music artist Blaine ‘Cadet’ Johnson.