Improving communications and redefining culture at a London charity

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Since 1991, Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership (THEBP) have been filling the gap between school, college and the world of work in the Tower Hamlets area.

THEBP logoThe charity supports the education, training and development of young people by linking businesses and their employees with schools and colleges.

However, the organisation faced challenges communicating with businesses and they called on Templar Advisors to help them reshape the way they presented themselves to potential sponsors and partners.

Good work

‘In Tower Hamlets, we have high levels of free school meals [a measure of poverty], high levels of child poverty and many pupils for whom English is a second language,’ says Helen Sanson, director of the charity.

In 2014, THEBP reached more than 10,000 of these young people with their programs, and provided over 3,000 work placements to students, but they can’t continue to do that without support.

Too humble?

‘As a charity, we need to ask for money and volunteers so that we can keep doing what we do.’ says Helen, ‘But we used to have an apologetic attitude for this. We had a humble culture and we weren’t very assertive.’

Templar organised a skills-focused, two-day communications workshop for THEBP’s staff to help them get their point across and deal with people they (initially) found intimidating.

After that workshop, Helen noticed an immediate change; ‘It had a powerful effect on staff. We all feel more confident going into offices and requesting the support we need.’

In order to provide the support that THEBP need, Templar have also helped individuals with individual coaching.

‘Gareth and Johnny were brilliant. They’re enthusiastic, they’re inspirational and they showed us that we can give a presentation, make a speech and ask for money with the confidence it requires.’

‘As part of a new initiative I was launching, I had to give a speech alongside a minister at the Tower of London and I was panicking.’ recalls Helen, ‘Johnny gave me a day of one-to-one speech coaching and it helped me defy that panic: it was brilliant.’

A cultural shift

‘To provide so many work placements, we have to do a lot of cold calling.’ says Helen, ‘To help out, Johnny and Gareth did a further half-day training session on making effective sales calls, but they also showed us how we can support each other, coach one another and always maintain our enthusiasm.’

The work Templar does is about more than just preparing clients for specific situations and honing isolated skills: it’s about finding the communication and cultural problems that an organisation faces, and resolving them.

‘Templar have helped us start a cultural shift in how we view ourselves,’ adds Helen. ‘We’re not a tiny, desperate little charity, but we were talking like one. We know we act as enablers to big organisations and help them achieve their goals, and we know that we deserve to be compensated for that and get our costs covered. Templar has helped us to ensure we can do that.’

By working with the charity, Templar has helped THEBP to raise their game and rethink their future. In the long run, it’s not just THEBP that benefits but also its supporters and the young people of Tower Hamlets.

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