Year in Review: Elaine Lilley – Going from strength to strength

Oxford Dictionaries has declared ‘youthquake’ as its word of the year and the power of young people has never been more evident. From Malala Yousafzai attending her first lecture at Oxford University, Saffiyah Khan defying an EDL protestor in Birmingham or the number of first-time voters making an impact during this summer’s snap election, our youth has stood up and made its voice heard.

This year I’ve been proud to see The EBP go from strength to strength. Our 60-strong team of dedicated professionals, based in our uphill Lincoln office and our Leicestershire and Northamptonshire regional offices, have worked incredibly hard to help change the lives of young people locally and nationally and we look forward to growing our work and further diversifying our programmes in 2018.

I have been encouraged to see work experience, mentoring and business engagement remain high on the national agenda and this is reflected in the growth in our programmes. Helping to provide quality interactions between schools and businesses is really important to us and we look forward to seeing the impact of our latest Mini Exec Club, pairing young people with senior business leader mentors.

Our work wouldn’t be possible without the incredible support we receive from the Lincolnshire business community and we were delighted to recognise 67 organisations for their exceptional work with schools and young people at our Investors in Education Awards in November.

As one of over 70,000 UK social enterprises, we’ve been thrilled to receive more national recognition for our work. I was honoured to be awarded a place on the WISE100, the first ever index of 100 inspiring women in social enterprise. I was also delighted to be shortlisted for the ‘Women in Social Enterprise’ category at the UK Social Enterprise Awards. Representing the sector at this level, alongside so many influential women, was a huge privilege and is a real credit to the whole team at The EBP.

I am continually amazed by the talent, ambition and dedication of the young people we work with and 2017 has been no exception. As a regional partner for National Citizen Service (NCS), we have seen 5,000 15-17 year olds graduate from our programme this year, spending 150,000 hours volunteering – the equivalent of almost 17 years! In April, the National Citizen Service Bill received Royal Assent – a huge endorsement for the programme, now in its sixth year.

Nationally, one in six 15-17 year olds has now taken part in NCS and moving into 2018, I am thrilled that many thousands more will get to experience this incredible programme. A record number of MPs visited teams of young people on NCS across our region this summer and our participants needed no encouragement to showcase their fantastic work, alongside local issues that are important to them.

As the education partner, we were blown away by the creativity and talent of Lincolnshire schools during this summer’s Lincoln Knights’ Trail and it’s fantastic that our 42 Education Trail schools now have their sculptures back as a lasting legacy of their involvement in this unique creative arts project.

Next year our work will support the ever-growing number of young people facing mental health issues. Teenagers are growing up in a complex world are we’re passionate about doing everything we can to prepare them for the challenges they will face in life.

STEM continues to play a key role in our work and we’re looking forward to our involvement in next year’s Royal Air Force centenary events. It’s crucial that young people are given the opportunities to learn about future careers in STEM sectors and many of our programmes in 2018 will support this.

I am excited for the year ahead and as The EBP continues to grow, so do the amount of opportunities to get involved in our work. We have an ambitious five-year plan and are looking for individuals who are as passionate as we are about helping the next generation. Please take a look at our website for opportunities to join us.

We wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018.

Professionally I am excited to extend The EBP brand geographically, so we can help even more young people fulfil their potential. I also look forward to continuing to invest and develop in our wonderful team, whilst also welcoming new talent.

On a personal level, I’m hoping to spend more time with my head in a book. I’ve collected so many books this year that I haven’t even had chance to open yet!