Cyrenians awarded £120,000 by The John Lewis Partnership Foundation

29 April 2024
John Lewis Site image

Cyrenians awarded £120,000 by The John Lewis Partnership Foundation to support services for young people in Edinburgh.  

We’re thrilled to announce that Cyrenians will receive £120,000 from the John Lewis Partnership Foundation to fund our work to support young people facing multiple disadvantages into college - the largest single donation made by the Foundation in Edinburgh to date.  

The money awarded  is in part made up of the funds raised by the sale of the re-useable carrier bags bought by customers at John Lewis & Partners Edinburgh till points.  

John lewis

Working in the areas surrounding the Edinburgh store, through projects designed to prevent people becoming homeless, Cyrenians’ work aligns with the John Lewis Foundation’s aim to invest in children and young adults, providing education and skills for meaningful employment.  

Cyrenians takes a public health approach to tackling homelessness. This means preventing adverse experiences which lead to homelessness from happening in the first place. Cyrenians early intervention work supports young people at important transition points in their lives, such as when entering or leaving care or supported accommodation or leaving school. 

Working with school leavers across Edinburgh, our ‘Key to College’ programme provides one to one practical and emotional support to young people and their family and carers, helping them to navigate the college application, funding and enrolment processes.  

This service is crucial for young people who are experiencing multiple disadvantages, especially those who are care experienced who are less likely to go on to further education after leaving school.  

‘Key to College’ supports young people before they leave school - not only improving their future work prospects, but also reducing the likelihood of homelessness further down the line. The programme is also part of our wider commitment to ‘Keep the Promise’, Scotland’s national commitment backed by the Scottish Government to ensure care experienced children and young people grow up loved, safe, and respected.  

The response from young people, caregivers and teachers who have already been supported by the programme, has been overwhelmingly positive:  

  • “It is great to see her with a smile on her face and now looking forward to the future, that has all been down to your [Key to Colleges] input” - Parent 
  • “Thanks for your input, it is really appreciated. When he pops into the school he is really proud to go to college” - Guidance Teacher 
  • “The college visit was brilliant, I definitely feel like going even more now” - Young Person 

“When John Lewis was set up, our founder wanted the shops to be able to support the areas they traded in.  I’ve been working with Cyrenians since I started this role, over 12 years ago, to ensure that John Lewis & Partners Edinburgh was able to do what it could to support its local community.  

I am delighted to be able to present this funding to Cyrenians’ ‘Key to College’ programme. This service is so important because, sadly, we know that care experienced young people haven’t always got that person who can help them with their CV or encourage them to keep trying. We are delighted that this money will be going to young people in our community who are struggling, we need to nurture them now as they are Scotland’s future.” 

- Judith Hunter, Partner & Community Liaison Coordinator at John Lewis & Partners Edinburgh  

“We’re excited to work with John Lewis to help some of our most vulnerable young people in Edinburgh to make their next steps after school. This can be a time of uncertainty and without support young people can be left behind which can have a negative impact on their future prospects. With John Lewis’s support, our skilled keyworker team can continue to have a truly positive impact on the young people’s and Edinburgh’s future.”  

- Richard Thorniley-Walker, Skills & Development Manager at Cyrenians

Click here to learn more about Cyrenians other employability services.