Last Friday the new Chief Executive of the Foyer Federation came to to visit us.

We’ve had a long and fruitful relationship with the federation. On the one hand it’s a place where we can learn about ways to help young people. On the other we can share  our good practice with other foyers and work with them to develop fresh ideas.

As you can see in the picture above Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa had a chance to meet staff and the people who live in our On Route Foyer.  He also tasted their delicious cooking and was particularly taken with the soup!

We share a lot of our values with his organisation.  It was pretty inspiring to hear Tokunbo talk about his vision for the future.

The idea that young people thrive when they get something for something and also that the best way to help is usually to focus on the assets and talents a young person has.  This is what the Foyer Federation calls advantaged thinking, as Tokunbo puts it:

In society we do a good job of focussing on people’s lack of assets. Young people are, generally speaking, not championed and inspired to be excellent.  The communities where that happens is often in private education, but in my view excellence is possible across the board.

You can listen to him talk a little more about is here:


But for this focus on the qualities and assets of young people to work it’s not just a question of what we do in places like the On Route Foyer. It is also a question of how commissioners and funders understand our work and how far they are able to apply advantaged thinking in their work.  Is this happening?  Tokunbo thinks so…

 I’m seeing more commissioners using terms like asset based approaches, they are interested in finding more innovative ways that are more cost effective.

In Dudley, we’re beginning to see these conversations take place and see how it can change how young people engage with the world and thrive.

We have a saying at CHADD that we are a ‘Safety Net’ for people in times of transition & crisis but also much more than that, we are a ‘springboard’ to a better future.  To do more of the ‘springboard’ we know we need to focus more on people’s talents and abilities.  It’s a complete switcheroo on the systems and approaches to date.

In the recent general election, young people got involved and engaged in issues in a way not seen before, and they voted too!  It makes a difference when young people are valued for what they can do, for their views and how they can influence their future.

It’s an amazing privilege to work with young people when they are fired up and motivated.  We’ve been talking to Lowell Williams, Principal at Dudley College and his team about how young people can develop their talents together with our Foyer programme to offer a ‘something for something’ deal in Dudley, and developing the Young Person’s Alliance.

It kinda feels like we are creating something special – so do you want to join the conversation?…….