Breakout Youth was set up in Southampton in 1993, as a full-time project run by Southampton City Council, in response to the dangers faced by LGBTQ+ youth at the time. Breakout Youth currently supports over 100 young people across Hampshire, Southampton and the Isle of Wight offering a confidential support service for LGBTQ+ young people aged 11 to 21 (up to 25 where there are additional needs), who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or unsure of their sexuality or gender identity. Young people who identify as LGBTQ+, or are unsure, often feel isolated and alone with their sexuality or gender identity. Breakout Youth also offers 1:1 support, delivers awareness training and can give advice and support to parents or professionals on LGBTQ+ issues.
Management Consultancy support provided
Breakout Youth came to Cranfield Trust in November 2020 for a volunteer consultant to help them develop an effective 5-year Business Plan, which they felt would be essential for fundraising purposes. The majority of Breakout Youth’s funding is single year, which makes it very difficult to plan for future services. In addition, a robust plan was needed that considered the impact of COVID. As Charity Manager Zoe Grant explained in her application:
“As an organisation we need to develop financial sustainability, and develop KPI’s and performance measurement tools and systems to improve our impact reporting. Breakout Youth supports approximately 200 young people a year - having an organisation that has more dependable funding with a clearer vision for the future would have a direct impact on all of their lives, and on the staff team.”
Impact of Cranfield Trust management consultancy
With the help of the Chair, and despite the huge increase in demand on the charity during the pandemic, Zoe found time to meet virtually several times with Cranfield Trust volunteer Stephen to work towards a clear five-year plan with a focus on aspirations, targets and longer term funding requirements. This also helped everyone in the organisation to think and act more strategically, and avoid the cycle of small, one-year funding applications.
Stephen stepped back at this stage to allow the charity to assess their options and work on their plans for the future of Breakout Youth, including consultation with the young people they support. However, he remained on hand to support them through any “growing pains” and facilitating any discussions needed with stakeholders. The project is now complete, and Stephen is helping the charity identify “next steps” in their strategic planning and development.
Success of management consultancy project
The project gave everyone at Breakout Youth additional confidence about their future. In March 2021, the charity was successful in getting 3-year funding from the National Lottery - £196k in total, putting them in a really excellent position and bringing stability to the team, the service and most importantly to young people in the region.
And from the volunteer Stephen’s perspective?
“Working with the Breakout team was a delight. I learnt so much about the issues facing LGBTQ+ young people and had many inspiring conversations about strategies to help these often-forgotten young people. I feel I made a difference and helped them move forward to the next phase of their development. I also enjoyed finding out more about my local community and working with people I would not otherwise have met. I know it is a cliché, but it really was a ‘win win’ for all parties.”