Red Balloon celebrated its move to a new office space at Winship House in Milton, North Cambridge last week by hosting an Afternoon Drop-in and Grand Opening Event last Thursday, 21 March. Joined by Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, and Barry Chapman, Mayor of St Neots, the Red Balloon team opened their new office space, welcoming guests to explore the new space necessitated by the continued growth of their popular online provision.
Overlooking the Country Park, the new office space serves as Red Balloon’s headquarters and hosts the team of teachers, mentors and therapists of their online provision, Red Balloon of the Air (RBAir). Continued popularity of RBAir had led to the charity outgrowing their previous office space as the number of staff and students more than doubled. Embracing the opportunity to provide an improved experience for their students, the new office has been designed with ample dedicated space for student group activities and face-to-face therapy in addition to the improved space and resources for staff. All of this has been made possible by very generous grants received from Scottish Power Foundation and The Foyle Foundation.
Staff and students were excited to open their new space to guests and allow them to experience first-hand the inner workings of what makes the RBAir provision so special. At the event, guests met the team of link professionals (student mentors), admissions staff, and teachers who work with students on a daily basis. Mock lessons, projects by students displayed throughout the office space and behind the scenes tours of the learning technology used to interact with RBAir students provided a friendly and open atmosphere.
The evening ended with a ribbon cutting to officially open the space by special guest Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge.
CEO Lena Milosevic, who joined Red Balloon this January, said:
“This new office is a step change for Red Balloon. From this base we can help more young people re-engage with education and realise their potential. None of this would have been possible without the generous support of our many donors through the years.”
RBAir was established in 2011, to provide education and well-being to students who were unable to access a physical Red Balloon Centre. Following a bespoke timetable of both education and counselling, RBAir students log-in to sessions online and have real-time lessons in one-to-one or small group settings, providing the students the individual support they need. Currently St Neots’ charity of the year, RBAir has proved popular with many students, due to the ability to study from home without losing the personalised support they may need, with the number of students doubling last academic year. RBAir currently supports nearly 100 students, some of whom were present at the grand opening to welcome guests and talk about their experiences.
Sarah Clarke, RBAir Link Professional for Cambridgeshire, said:
“The young people who were part of this event were amazing. When they first joined us, an event like this would never have seemed possible to them, but they took everything in their stride.
They helped with reception tasks, some helped to demo online lessons and talk about the subject areas and others performed, showcasing their singing and ukulele talents. It was lovely to see them working together as a team and really enjoy spending time with their peers. They were also great at interacting positively with the guests and I know all Red Balloon staff are massively proud of them. They are at the heart of what we do and this event really helped them to feel part of Red Balloon and make them feel proud of their achievements.”
Red Balloon would like to thank all of their current supporters and invite anyone interested in learning more about their unique provision to visit their website at www.redballoonlearner.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can donate to Red Balloon at redballoonlearner.org.