The problem

Young people from working-class communities often struggle to achieve academically and fall short of fulfilling their own potential in formal school structures, leading to poor attainment, demotivation and negative outcomes.

Even where schools are good, difficulties at home or in the community, lack of social capital, boredom with a standard curriculum, lack of relatable role models, poor mental health and wellbeing can hinder achievement.

The solution

What’s needed is a curriculum and an approach that offers care, support, connection, hope, inspiration and aspiration, that pushes poor young people to know they can be more but first establishes the solid foundations to catch them when they fall.

Rekindle believes that this curriculum is best delivered in small, local educational centres, where communities support those at risk of negative outcomes with proven methods of educational support, designed to stimulate struggling learners and motivate parents, communities and local stakeholders to more efficiently support their young people. Rekindle’s key aim is to help their community of young people fall back in love with education.

Socio-economic gaps are widening, and our young people are falling through the gaps it creates.

Work in action

Rekindle is a supplementary school for young people aged 13-16 years old in South Manchester.

The school offers a wraparound programme of learning, support, mentoring, business engagement, topical masterclasses and career development opportunities for a targeted cohort of young people aged 13 – 16 within a targeted 2 mile radius of Manchester Metropolitan University. Rekindle will deliver its activities according to its SNAP model.

Support – Young People will have bespoke academic support from University students

Nourish – Young people from low income backgrounds will receive a free, nutritious evening meal each day at Rekindle

Achieve – Young people and parents will champion personal achievement, develop a culture of cooperation and celebrate group successes

Protect – Young people will benefit from developing healthy and supportive relationships with positive adults in their community to safeguard physical and mental health

The Big Changers

Ruth Ibegbuna – Founder and CEO, Rekindle

She was a secondary English Teacher in state schools in Bradford and in Moss Side, Manchester. She taught pupils from Moss Side who went on to achieve some of the highest national GCSE grades, for three consecutive years, gaining praise from both OFSTED and National Curriculum exam boards.

Ruth left the profession after reaching a senior management position and feeling utterly frustrated at the lack of creativity and innovation afforded to teachers. She founded RECLAIM; a multi award-winning youth social action and leadership charity, supporting working class young people into positions of leadership. The programme instilled self confidence in young people from pressurised communities and encouraged them to think critically about the world and to question some of their inherited truths.

Ruth won several regional and national awards, including:

  • Peace Activist of the year 2008
  • Manchester Woman of the Year 2009
  • Business in the Communities Winner 2010


We’re proud to have backed Rekindle with seed funding to set up their programme. Since being funded by Big Change, they have:

  • secured follow on funding before the school even opened
  • Young leaders have gone on to join prestigious leadership programs including Ashoka Young Changemakers 
  • Eat Well Manchester committed to covering the food needs of the program

Rekindle were featured in the Guardian. In the extended article about Rekindle, the role and importance of a supplementary school is explored. There are also interviews with many different members of the Rekindle team including the founder Ruth, Jesse and Lisa.