It is a year of anniversaries for the Mark Evison Foundation. Mark lived in Court Lane, and many of you will have known him, and know the round seat and tree in Dulwich Village commemorating his death as a young Lieutenant in Helmand, Afghanistan in 2009. It is 10 years since we established the Foundation, and we are about to give our 500th award! We have had nearly 1500 beneficiaries, largely year 12 students in London state schools. We are now in over one fifth of those schools, most with above the national average level of students receiving free school meals, and many with little access to work experience and extracurricular opportunities.
From January this year Professor Dame Janet Beer, Vice-chancellor of Liverpool University, will be our patron: her interest in diversity, equality and disadvantage is central to how we work.
The Foundation offers awards for non-academic challenging projects. We invite students to do what they want to do providing it is significantly challenging at their level, and they do their research, they create and develop their applications, and they carry out their projects adult-free. They love being in the driving seat, using their initiative and energy independently. We offer advice and support along the way, risk-management, and expenses funding of up to £500 per application. About 70% are physical proposals (climbing, hiking, cycling), the rest technical or creative.
It is an unusual, powerful, and effective offer, and the impact on the students is huge. Awards take students out of their classrooms and beyond school syllabuses, teaching them skills very useful in work situations, and giving them much more confidence - ‘if I can do that, what else can I do’? They learn to take on leadership roles, to work as a team, then to deal with any problems that arise, which inevitably they do. We make a huge difference to the confidence, independence, and aspirations of the 17-year old’s we work with, and the projects and awards enrich CVs and UCAS forms.
Despite the lockdown, often remote working and the Delta virus, we had a huge amount of interest in the last academic year, giving over 100 awards to over 300 students. Locally, students at both Dulwich Charter schools, and Kingsdale participated, with fabulous results - see the home page of our website www.markevisonfoundation.org for their own descriptions of their very challenging projects.
Margaret Evison, Executive Trustee
Please think of supporting the Foundation in its ground-breaking work: regular monthly contributions are very helpful.