Sophie Hayes survivors of human trafficking blue eye close upEducation

Sophie Hayes Foundation

Foundation supports survivors of human trafficking.

The Sophie Hayes Foundation is the only charity in the UK solely focused on delivering employability support, training and resources for women survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery.

The Axis Foundation’s donation of £1,000 funds travel costs for 50+ survivors of human trafficking so they don’t have to choose for example, from either paying for food or travelling to the support available at The Sophie Hayes Foundation.

Thanking the Axis Foundation

“For many of our women survivors, the journey to sustainable freedom and a life without fear is all too often a mere dream. Over a year we work with the women to turn their dreams into a reality. Thank you on behalf of our programme participants, staff, volunteers and board” – Red Godfrey Sagoo, CEO of the Sophie Hayes Foundation

What the survivors say

“Because of SHF I am in college and I have work experience, you make me have confidence in my life.”

“I’ve learnt how to write a CV because I didn’t know. I have confidence that I have my own plan in the future to open my own nursery school. When you come here you know there is options.”

“I was enjoying coming here, seeing different people different face. You helped myself to relax and reduce my problems. I’ve been coming here seeing different things, when we’re in groups we laugh, we joke.”

Covid-19 Update from The Sophie Hayes Foundation

“2020 the year of uncertainty, challenge, exhaustion, compassion, collaboration, triumph and inspiring leadership.

“A year in which the dedication of so many across diverse fields helped weather the ongoing national storm.

As we head towards 2021 with even more uncertainty; I would like to acknowledge the journey of supporting women survivors at Sophie Hayes, has only been possible through amazing colleagues and strong partnerships. Thank you for helping us weather 2020 and we look forward to being stronger together in 2021.”

More about The Sophie Hayes Foundation

There are an estimated 136,000 victims of modern-day slavery in the UK. They are recruited, transported or harboured for the purposes of exploitation. As a result of their horrific experiences, survivors of human trafficking face serious mental and physical health issues.

Through a programme including workshops, coaching and a community survivor network, The Sophie Hayes Foundation helps women rebuild their lives.

Survivors can live independently by increasing their confidence and their social and professional networks. They gain invaluable work experience, training and education.

The Sophie Hayes Foundation is based in London and delivers the programme in London and the south, Birmingham and the West Midlands, Manchester and the north.

Here is more about The Sophie Hayes Foundation

Students sitting at tables studying to become Mental Health AmbassadorsEducation

Student Life

Foundation supports Mental Health Ambassador project.

Student Life, based in Ipswich, supports the government’s initiative to transform the way that mental health problems are dealt with in our society. They place an emphasis on early intervention for children and young people. The charity also aims to normalise speaking up about mental health and reducing stigma and media stereotypes.

Our donation

The Axis Foundation’s donation of £4,715 will fund one young person to be trained as a Mental Health First Aid England Instructor. They will deliver Youth Mental Health First Aid and other mental health awareness training courses to students to allow them to become Mental Health Ambassadors, creating a unique peer-to-peer support network.

Young people from school year 10+ will benefit from having access to at least one peer who will offer support and guidance through 1-2-1 discussion, through spotting early warning signs of mental health issues and signposting to additional, third party support.

Thanking the Axis Foundation for our donation, Richard Stewart, Chief Executive at Student Life said:

“We are exceptionally proud of our Mental Health Ambassador project and the unique nature of the work that we carry out in education settings across 3 counties.  Part of the uniqueness is that our own young people – not long out of education themselves – are placed on accredited training through Mental Health First Aid England and having graduated, are training other young people in a very relevant and relatable way. This would not be possible without the support of organisations like the Axis Foundation: and our Trustees, our young team and I are so very grateful for this amazing support.”

More about Student Life

Student Life works with young people in high schools, sixth forms, colleges and universities providing support and activities to develop their skills, capacities and capabilities, and supporting their mental health as they go through education into employment. This work is currently carried out in over 60 settings in Suffolk, Norfolk and Kent, with plans to extend into 2 additional counties from January 2021.

And there’s more here

Woman and child reading togetherEducation

Literacy Pirates

Lacking vital literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life. We get on board to support young children with their reading!

Literacy Pirates helps disadvantaged children who are falling behind in their literacy. The Axis Foundation’s donation of £5,000 to the volunteer programme will benefit 300 children, supporting them with their reading and literacy skills.

“Thank you for your grant of £5,000. We are very pleased to have Axis Foundation on board as a supporter! The money will go towards the costs of running our volunteer programme which is so integral to the success of our Learning Programme. Thank you once again for your support. It is hugely appreciated by everyone at The Literacy Pirates” –

Triona Larkin, Head of Fundraising

More about Literacy Pirates

Local schools refer children to the Literacy Pirates. Here they attend a year-long after-school learning programme at one of the two fantastical centres, the ‘Ships’, in Hackney or Haringey, both in east London.

Trained volunteers give the children extra help with literacy skills and support them with their reading. At the same time they help them complete exciting published projects such as books, films and podcasts.

With the help of the Literacy Pirates, children’s reading age improves over 50% faster than age-related expectations.

In January 2014 the Literacy Pirates opened their dedicated learning centre (the Ship) in Dalston and in January 2019 launched a second Ship in Tottenham, Haringey. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, they built a virtual ship in two weeks, and offered weekly activities during lockdown. There’s even more here!

Young Man at the Fluence Foundation being helped with his communication skillsDonations

Fluence Foundation

Foundation helps people to gain literacy skills, leading to prospects of education and employment.

Fluence Foundation helps vulnerable adults and young people, including the homeless and ex-offenders, improve communication skills.

Those without basic communication (reading, writing, talking) skills become vulnerable, dependent and isolated, finding it hard to connect with others, to engage with society. They are often unable to access employment, training or education to improve their lot. West Midlands-based Fluence runs support sessions using a catch-up, one-to-one intervention called Communicate. They report a significant beneficial impact on the confidence and literacy/communication skills of the people they help in a very short time.

Communicate diagnoses areas of weakness, then focuses on teaching high-frequency language and key grammar rules. Its learning structure uses repetition and achievable successes to ensure the learner grows in confidence and masters the language. Training in speaking clearly and making eye contact, answering a phone or being interviewed is also given – all are examples of communication that, when mastered, lead ultimately to independence.

The Fluence Foundation has successfully run three projects: two helped ex-offenders towards employment; the third gave unemployed adults the literacy skills to access training and employment.

The Axis Foundation’s donation of £2,400 will purchase the licence for the Communicate software to help 30 more people gain literacy and communication skills so they can receive formal education and gain employment.

“On behalf of the Fluence Foundation, I would like to thank Axis Foundation for their kind donation to our project. With your help we will be able to help the homeless clients of Birmingham Crisis by diagnosing any literacy difficulties they might have and provide practical support to overcome these difficulties. Doing so will ensure they have the skills needed to access the other services Crisis provide and stand a better chance of being able to improve their situation”
Paul Bruton, Project Co-Ordinator

A lady feeds a sheep at Stepney City FarmDonations

Stepney City Farm

Our funding to urban farm project in deprived community in East London will help educational programme to flourish.

Stepney City Farm is a working farm, providing environmental education and outdoor learning in Tower Hamlets. The grant of £5000 from the Axis Foundation will purchase desks and chairs for their classroom and replace deteriorated furniture.

Clare Hawkins, Chief Executive at Stepney City Farm, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this support from Axis. The positive impact on lives of green space, ecotherapy, working with nature and animals, gardening and green-care initiatives is well documented: the Farm provides a free and unique facility for these activities for local communities in the heart of one of the most deprived boroughs in the country.

“Our Classroom facilities are key to delivering our environmental programming, providing an indoor learning space used for our curriculum-linked schools programme, young and adult volunteering sessions, bespoke workshops, family events, and our dementia intervention group. The upgrade to the furniture will make the space infinitely more flexible and increase our capacity to deliver sessions and further develop our programming.”

The farm hosts curriculum-linked activities for over 5,000 school children every year. Local children, many of whom rarely get the chance to travel outside of the city, can grow their own food, experience rural arts and crafts and connect with nature.

The urban farm project is based in Tower Hamlets, an inner-city community in London with one of the highest rates of child poverty in the UK. Their educational programmes enable local youngsters, including young offenders and children with special educational needs, to build life skills and confidence and reduce feelings of isolation.

Their Farmer’s Market provides the area with a source of affordable, organic produce. The ‘Furry Tales’ programme provides animal-assisted therapy to those living with dementia. Their volunteer programme brings together 500 participants a year, including those with higher level support needs benefiting from greencare activities, and workers who are keen for an escape from urban life.

A painter and decorator stood beside branded Bounce Back van.Donations

Bounce Back

Our donation will help this social enterprise to provide instrumental support and rehabilitation to ex-offenders.

Bounce Back is an amazing Charity and a social enterprise that offers employment help for ex-offenders. They provide training in construction inside and out of prison so that people gain the skill, confidence and the qualifications they need to improve their chances of employment in the industry. Their efforts have undoubtedly had social and economic benefits for ex-offenders adapting back to normal life.

The Axis Foundation have donated their second van to Bounce Back so they can get more of their decorators on to sites around London and the Home counties and transport their workers and supplies. They commented on how the donation will help them to develop their programme further:

“Our thanks to The Axis Foundation – this [donation] enables us to get the teams in our Social Enterprise out to work… using skills learnt in prison to make a living and turn their lives around”

Bounce Back has provided employment help for ex-offenders for the last 5 years through their programme, working with over 1,000 people. 75% of their beneficiaries go into employment or further training and go on to become skilled painters and decorators or construction workers or even go on to set up their own businesses. Beginning as a team of 5 in 2012 it has now grown to a team of up to 30 at any one time decorating for a wide range of clients from Landsec to Elephant and Castle’s Box Park- The Artworks. In addition, they work with schools and private clients who come to them on the website.

The Axis Foundation and Bounce Back’s relationship has been on-going for several years. Previously the Foundation donated a Ford Transit Van, materials and offered start-up business advice. The Foundation also mentored trainees, provided paid work experience and helped with employment for the teams. John Hayes, CEO of Axis, spent his volunteer day at Bounce Back, demonstrating the close bond that has formed since the charity’s inception.

“Axis is one of the organisations that have been with us from the very beginning. Their support has been over the years has been invaluable and we are extremely grateful.” – Francesca Findlater CEO

Their future ambition is to expand their operations further and welcome women and young people from vulnerable groups into their training and rehabilitating programme. The Axis Foundation wishes Bounce Back all the best in their future endeavours as they continue to deliver invaluable training and employment help for ex-offenders.

Children at Holy Lodge Centre learning about natureDonations

Holly Lodge Centre

Young Londoners discover nature for the first time thanks to our donation

Holly Lodge Centre is an outdoor learning centre in Richmond Park. Here they’ve adapted their beautiful two-acre nature trail to allow children – including those with even the most complex needs – to access the natural world.

In 2017, over 5,600 children – 678 of whom were disabled – attended Holly Lodge Centre natural world workshops. For some it was their very first encounter with nature. Many of the pupils live in high rise flats and attend schools with tarmac outdoor areas. They met tadpoles, newts, stag beetles and even slugs and snails: some had never seen such creatures before.

In 2018, the Axis Foundation granted £4,000 towards the outdoor learning centre to create more workshops and provide additional transport so that more children can attend.

“This donation is so exciting, giving children living in urban areas the opportunity to get outside and discover for themselves fantastic invertebrates, birds and pond creatures.

“We can immediately see the benefit these children get from being in a natural space, they get so excited to even see ants! It is most amazing for children who struggle in the classroom, their teachers are delighted to see them so enthusiastic to learn about wildlife in our beautiful setting.

“It is vital that children have the opportunity to explore and discover nature; even more so for children with disabilities who have least access to the outside world.

“Thanks to the generous donation from the Axis Foundation we were able to deliver 12 free workshops… The feedback from the sessions was overwhelming positive with 100% of the schools scoring each session with 5 out of 5 for the group enjoying the session and for the session meeting their curriculum requirements” – Anna King, Centre Manager

What the teachers said

“Exciting, engaging tasks….. we loved the pollen games, making a tree, potting plants and the leaves’ hunt. It was perfect, thank you so much”

“Hands-on pond dipping enthralled our pupils. Very happy with our experiences, we would love a longer day”

“The children really enjoyed looking for bugs and lifting logs to see what was underneath them”

“The level of detail in each session was really valuable, the class particularly enjoyed the camouflage”

“All of it was really good, especially the outdoor activities where the children can get stuck in with nature”

See our video celebrating our 10th birthday in 2019 – and find out how Holly Lodge spent our donation and whom we helped.


Child touches interactive wall in sensory room at Mapledown SchoolDonations

Mapledown School

Support from the Axis Foundation funds an immersive sensory room for children with special educational needs, helping to capture their imaginations.

The Axis Foundation supplied a sum of £3,000 to the school, helping to fund their sensory room. The sensory room is an immersive environment that helps children to learn and captures their imaginations. It is highly interactive; students can touch imagery projected onto the walls to emit a response, like bubbles appearing in a virtual aquarium or creating stars in the night sky. The room also features an Eye Gaze station where students can play educational games with their eye movements, which are tracked using a detector. The Axis Foundation’s donation paid for ceiling work that enabled projectors to be installed and an interactive music system, ensuring that the room remains immersive for the children. Our funding also purchased an APPlicator device that allows students who are unable to use their hands to interact with a tablet.

“We are grateful for the generous donation of the Axis Foundation which has provided more opportunities for our students to learn and explore through lessons and recreation.” Daniel Green, Mapledown School.

More about Mapledown

Some of Mapledown School’s pupils have sensory impairments, physical difficulties or challenging behaviour. Therefore, the school’s resources include a multi-sensory room, a hydrotherapy pool, a soft play room and a fully equipped gym. This ensures that every child receives the support they need. Friends of Mapledown is a registered charity that helps to raise money for the school’s specialist equipment, which is usually very expensive by nature. The charity is formed of a small group of teachers and parents that also contribute towards gifts for the children and extracurricular activities where they can.

Colourful planters with large ladybird models at Carmel Caterpillars pre-schoolDonations

Carmel Caterpillars Pre-School

Children are now able to explore their imagination in a safe and fun environment as a result of our funding for garden equipment.

Carmel Caterpillars pre-school is a committee run service in Sittingbourne that has been running for over 44 years. It has given parents in the community a safe place for their children to learn and play.
The pre-school that operates within the local church hall, currently runs morning and afternoon sessions, each of which have around 30 children attending. The pre-school has access to a small garden which was in dire need of some TLC.

Lorrae Mannering, Senior Administrator at Axis, has a son who attends the pre-school and she suggested the Axis Foundation to the pre-school to see if we could help.
The Axis Foundation donated £650 to fund garden equipment and craft materials which were used to revitalise the garden and develop existing equipment to create a more exciting space for children.

Louise Leppenwell, Carmel Caterpillars Pre-School commented: “The donation from the Axis Foundation has been amazing and is really benefitting the children and will continue to do so for years to come. We’d all like to say a very big thank you from us and the children and an extra special thank you to Lorrae for helping to organise the funding.”

Carmel Caterpillars believe that ‘Children learn through play’ and aim to ensure that the children who attend are free to choose from a range of activities that will help to develop and learn.’

The donation they received helped to buy: fencing, a new roof for playhouse, pirate ship, new drying rack, paints, easel, craft materials, toys, paint brushes, flower pots and plants. The funding for garden equipment has supported the pre-school to continue to provide the children with something new and exciting to keep them engaged and simply be children.

Two girls at craft sessions at Newhaven YFCDonations

Newhaven YFC

Axis Foundation funds craft sessions at youth club to fuel creativity in young people.

The Axis Foundation donated £550 to Newhaven YFC, a youth club in East Sussex that provides children with a safe place to socialise and have fun. The donation funded essential craft materials for their weekly craft sessions which are incredibly popular with the children that attend.

The club aims to engage children in meaningful activities and provide them with a place where they can be creative and interact with their peers. In order to keep the club accessible for all, they only ask for a small contribution of 50p to attend sessions. Newhaven YFC believes that it is important for young people to have access to enriching activities at a low cost as it encourages positive social interaction and allows them to discover new hobbies.

Currently, around 40 young people attend the weekly activities, which range from sports, cooking, crafts sessions and games. These activities give children something fun to look forward to while keeping them out of trouble. Furthermore,  children are encouraged to communicate with staff about how they’re feeling and discuss issues that may be bothering them.

“We are very reliant on grants such as this for extras for the young people so that we can keep them engaged and learning in a fun way. We are very grateful to the Axis Foundation for its generosity.” Sara Alexander, Youth Worker