This week, we chatted to Henry, CEO at GIFT to find out all about the incredible work they do in Greater Manchester. From helping people get back into work to running a Saturday School to help people get those all-important exam results, GIFT is making a difference to many people’s lives in and around Manchester.
Henry Ngawoofah, GIFT CEO
Hi Henry, tell us a little bit about yourself and your organisation, GIFT
I am the Chief Executive Officer for Grace Incorporation Faith Trust (GIFT). Our aim is to support young people, men and women from diverse communities to access education and to tackle a range of issues that affect their access, performance and progression into education, training and employment. Our core services consist of mentoring, counselling, mediation, supplementary school programme, and offering learning courses accredited by the National Open College Network.
What is a day in the life like as CEO at GIFT?
To be honest there is no typical day in my role! I start the day in quiet reflection to prioritise my workload which will consist of supporting our staff, planning activities to engage our beneficiaries, planning and reviewing projects and activities, identifying pending deadlines for funding applications, attending meetings and/or networking events involving other charity sector members.
What is your personal motivation for working at GIFT? What inspires you?
My motivation for working at GIFT is their Christian ethos which is about helping to change lives, recognising that everyone that we support has a gift and a talent which needs to be nurtured. What has inspires me is the difference and the progress which we have contributed to individuals we help. Over the years we have received feedback from beneficiaries about the long-term impact we have had on their lives, which we are starting to share on our website.
Can you tell me about someone who has benefitted from your work?
Jerelle is a young person who came to GIFT and was low in confidence and self-esteem having struggled to gain employment. Jerelle joined the Talent Match programme supporting young people who faced barriers to securing employment. Jerelle attended and was involved with a range of activities and sessions within the projects, undertaking basic business training. He was able to work on the Young Roots Heritage Projects working with elderly community members to share their life stories. “By attending these projects, I was able to further my understanding of Business and the world of work, how to run sessions, as well as following my passion of camera work and editing. If it wasn’t for GIFT I wouldn’t be where I am now in full time employment for the past two years, having been previously stuck and my life going nowhere. It is a very good service for helping young people in their life’s direction”.
What is something that might surprise someone about your charity or beneficiaries?
There is a real feeling that no matter where you are in your life GIFT’s door ‘is always open’ to help your to move to the next level. We believe you are not defined by your circumstances and you can ‘move out of the box’. Janice a former volunteer and beneficiary summarise this as follows:“What it gave me was a routine I actually had something to get up for in the mornings again. Being at GIFT is what made me decide that whatever I did with my future, it would have to be something that made a difference to other people’s lives. The job that I have got now does do that, one of the key things I think being a Volunteer with GIFT has taught me that you just need to have a little bit of Faith things will be okay in the end”.
What’s your favourite thing about working for GIFT?
My favourite thing about working for GIFT is learning about the changes and impact we contribute to the many people we support, the relationships we have formed with beneficiaries and our community networks.
How can people get involved with GIFT?
There are a number of ways people can get involved with GIFT. We need people who can provide some of their time to volunteer supporting young people as a mentor/role model or teaching young people who are struggling in school. This will require approximately two to three hours a week. We are looking for people who are willing to help with our fundraising and raising awareness about the work we do. In return we can help to develop your skills, increase and improve employment opportunities and provide a rewarding experience helping to change someone’s life. You can also get involved by contacting us through our website: www.giftacademy.org.uk.
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