Thoughts from our partners: Beatrix Payne, Chair of Trustees, Breadsticks Foundation

The Breadsticks Foundation has been supporting the work of School-Home Support (SHS) for over five years. In this blog post, Beatrix Payne, Chair of Trustees, writes about her experience of the partnership.

The Breadsticks Foundation was formed in 2008 with the aim of improving the provision of healthcare and education in parts of the UK and overseas. Three years later, School-Home Support approached us with a proposal to support their practitioners working at a primary school in Newham. We met the practitioner team and were impressed by their expertise and commitment to support the most disengaged children and families: improving the provision of education is a key objective for the Breadsticks Foundation and we are always keen to support programmes that support marginalised groups. We liked the way that the relational nature of School-Home Support’s work meant that their practitioners are able to work with the hardest to reach families.

School-Home Support tackles the underlying reasons why children don’t attend school and why they don’t perform at their best in school; whether this, for example, is because they don’t have an alarm clock, don’t have enough food or don’t have proper housing. Seeing SHS in action through attending their ‘See the Impact’ school visits has been really helpful for us to understand the nature of the work and the relationships that are built between SHS practitioners, head-teachers, parents and children. We have been able to talk to parents and understand the difference that SHS has made in their lives. We also understand better the pressures facing the practitioners in doing their work.

Breadsticks Trustees believe a well-run organisation will deliver an effective programme. We believe strong financial, operational and human resource management is critical to making sure beneficiaries are properly served and grant money is used most effectively. Understanding a grant partner’s financial position is critical for us in deciding if and how we make a grant: our grant-making will not be sustainable if our grant partners are unable to operate long-term, effectively tackling the problem they are attempting to solve.

Understanding School-Home Support’s business model is as important to us as seeing programme outcomes and impact. Observing School-Home Support as an organisation, through our programme support in Newham, gave us confidence that SHS had the ability to allocate our funding appropriately to ensure that organisational strength. We have since really appreciated School-Home Support sharing and discussing their business strategy and planning with us.

Thank you School-Home Support practitioners and operational team – you are clearly making a positive difference to people’s lives. And to anyone reading this who might be thinking of funding School-Home Support – go for it!

Beatrix Payne
Chair of Trustees, Breadsticks Foundation