The vast majority of young people (over 90% according to MORI) hold very real and deep aspirations for having an enduring and meaningful relationship, healthy family life that is probably marriage in their adult lives. However, it has been recognised that less than 5% of today’s young people have ever had the opportunity to hold a detailed and open conversation with a parent, relative, teacher or adult on the subject of their relationships. Scant provision is, therefore, made to prepare young people to make the biggest decisions in their lives.
It is also recognised that relationship skills are not learnt in a didactic manner or through lecture but from experience. Indeed, Explore endeavours not to promote anything; nor proselytise; nor perform any direct act of teaching - but empowers the young people to lead the agenda in whatever direction interests them.
“Learning by experience” methodologies are employed by Explore, developed by the Grubb Institute of Behavioural Studies, through Workshops, Half Day Conferences and Class Sessions. At the centre of the methodology is a series of dialogues between volunteer couples and a small group of young people. The couples present their relationship as a case study for examination and the agenda of this exploration is established by the young participants. The task and boundary of the dialogue between the young people and the couples are crucial and the roles of the participants are clear, applied, regularly revisited and owned by the participants. The presence of a trained facilitator is critical to the success of the process.
The local Explore Groups have organised Workshops, Half Day Conferences and Class Sessions for over 45,000 young people in over 180 schools and 18 prisons.
Independent evaluation of Explore’s work is regularly conducted. The most extensive was undertaken by the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships and their report concludes that Explore achieves its aims; that the young people rate their participation in Explore events very high; acknowledging the positive influence on their thinking and that the method creates a safe and conducive learning environment.
Explore are honoured to have the following Patrons.
The Countess Mountbatten of Burma
The Most Revd Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark
Mr Justice Paul Coleridge
The Revd David Gamble
Ann Holt OBE
The Revd Les Isaac
Sir Anthony Seldon
Rex Chester is the Founder and Honorary President.
Explore is governed by a Board of Trustees that currently comprise the following:
Crispin Drummond – Chairman
Explore is managed by the Chief Executive, Chris Ford.
Explore operates across England and Wales,
with Local Community Action Groups located in the following areas.
(The names of the local Chair are given in parenthesis.)
Berkshire (to be appointed)
Devon (in partnership with ECFT)
Hampshire (Chris Ford)
Norfolk (Gavin Struthers)
Solihull (John Kent)
Wiltshire (Mary Douglas)
Explore is also active in other geographic areas, including
Explore in Schools
Most educational institutions from the Department of Education through Local Authorities to schools and colleges will claim that they seek to educate the whole person. Behind this claim most educationalists recognise a duty to educate and develop the intellectual, social, cultural, physical, emotional and spiritual elements involved in the make up of a human being. For many schools and colleges, the teaching of the emotional literacy element of the educational process is not an easy thing to establish and sustain.
Relationship skills are central to the development of the whole person. Whether it is relationships with peers, parents, teachers, the opposite sex or people from other backgrounds and cultures, there is a need to have the opportunity to learn how to manage these relationships successfully. The development of the whole person benefits from a deeper understanding of relationships and it can only be beneficial to society to have well-educated, well-rounded citizens.
Explore seeks to support schools and colleges, usually with Years 10 - 13. Its work is consistent with the guidelines issued by the Department of Education for Relationship Education. Explore operates within the educational curriculum and syllabus for PSHE, Citizenship and RE in schools.
Explore can tailor its events to dovetail with most curriculum structures and arrangements. Over 5,500 young people each year benefit from attending an Explore event.
- Workshop – Workshops can be offered over a number of weeks comprising weekly sessions for groups of students. They have the opportunity to hold dialogues with a number of different couples over the course.
- Half Day Conference – A one-off event lasting 3 to 4 hours and involving usually a whole year meeting with several couples in small groups. This format fits well with Citizenship Days and Collapsed Curriculum Days.
- Class Programmes – Explore work with class groups during their designated PSHE/RE/General Studies lessons over several weeks, minimising disruption to the school’s curriculum arrangements and allowing the students to achieve dialogues with several couples.
Explore in Prisons
In 2002, Explore expanded its focus into prisons, in particular, Young Offenders and Juvenile Institutions. The Explore Prison programme is consistent with the philosophy and policy of the Prison Service and National Offender Management Service to rehabilitate offenders and to prevent re-offending. An offender released into employment, accommodation and a lasting and stable relationship is statistically seen as being less likely to re-offend.
Explore initially undertook a pilot development programme within three prisons to adapt its learning method to be entirely relevant to the needs of the offender and to establish good practice within the requirements of the Prison Service. From three prisons, Explore now operates regular workshops in other prisons. In HMPS Warren Hill where the organisation conducted its initial prison work, twenty three workshops have now been completed.
Explore’s workshops in prisons provide additional educational opportunity for the development of communication and decision-making skills. They contribute greatly to the “purposeful activities" in association (free) time; the “decency agenda” and the chaplaincy programme.
Only workshops are organised in prisons and involve small groups of 6 to 12 participants. The workshop operates on an entirely voluntary basis over a period of weeks with each session lasting at least 2 hours facilitated and supervised by an Explore trained adviser-coach. It enables the group to meet and question a number of different couples.
Volunteers play a central part in a wide range of activities within Explore and our teams represent a broad spectrum from all walks of life. Our volunteers are not expected to have any specific prior knowledge but will have an opportunity to use their particular skills and experience to make a tangible difference to the education of young people, often from negative and dysfunctional backgrounds. Our volunteers give priceless support and enable the charity to reach an increasing number of schools, colleges and prisons every year.
Whatever your background and however much or little time that you can contribute; you will find volunteering for Explore rewarding, fun and challenging. Knowing that you are helping to make a difference is enormously enjoyable and satisfying.
Explore needs volunteers:
- Members – willing people to help organise our programme of events in schools and colleges.
- Members of our Local Explore Group committees – committed people who meet to review Explore’s progress in a specific geographical area.
- Couples – prepared to answer questions put to them by young people about their relationship, family life and marriage. We provide a briefing for couples and endeavour to only use couples once or twice a year to ensure freshness and spontaneity in the dialogue.
- Adviser-Coaches – working directly with the young people in Workshops, Half Day Conferences or Class sessions acting as the facilitator of the dialogues. Training and supervision is provided. No previous or related experience is required – just a willingness to create the correct environment for experiential learning.
If you want to find out more about any of the volunteering options; contact email@example.com or your local community group.
Explore is currently recruiting for the following roles:
- Local Development Officer, Berkshire (part-time)
If you want to find out more about any of the vacancy options; contact firstname.lastname@example.org or your local community group.
Explore is a charity that relies on funding from a variety of sources. Our work will only continue and expand if we can gain the confidence and generosity of our individual supporters, trust funds, livery companies and corporate sponsors.
For what might your donation be used?
- £100 would sponsor a Class session for 20 to 30 young people in a school.
- £200 would sponsor a Couples Preparation Course.
- £300 would enable an Adviser-Coach to be trained.
- £500 would sponsor a Half Day Conference at a school.
- £1,000 would enable a Workshop for young offenders to be held.
How can you help?
Gift Aid a donation with this downloadable form
Set up a regular donation to Explore
Regular gifts are extremely valuable. There is no ‘quick fix’ solution to the problems that vulnerable young people face. That is why year-round services like Explore workshops is vital; it ensures that young people have access to the help and support they need, 365 days a year.
A regular gift gives Explore a secure and reliable income, which means that we can plan long-term projects cost-effectively. If you would like to support us in this way, there are a number of ways to set up your Standing Order. Firstly decide how much and how often you want to give, and then:
Download a Standing Order Form
Returning it in the post to Explore, PO Box 667, Fareham PO14 9LU
Change your existing Standing Order
If you would like to change any details of your regular donation to Explore, please do not complete a new Standing Order mandate. Instead please contact us at email@example.com
Don't forget to complete the Gift Aid Declaration if you are a UK taxpayer!
Become an Associate Member of Explore
The Explore Associate Scheme was developed to maintain contact with:
- People who want to financially support the charity
- Those individuals who support the work of Explore but are unable to play an active role in the organisation
- Those individuals who have been members of the charity but who now, for whatever reason, have ceased to be active
- People and organisations who just want to stay in touch
Explore values all its friends and supporters. We are appreciative of all who take an interest in our work.
You can become an Associate Member by paying a small annual fee of £120 and you will receive:
- Regular newsletters
- Invitations to the Explore Annual Lecture
- Invitations to relevant Explore events in your area
To become an Associate Member, download and complete the Associate Member Form
or contact Chris Ford firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leave a legacy to Explore in your will
Including a gift to Explore in your will is perhaps the most special, personal way that you can make your concern for young people live on for many years to come. Your gift to Explore doesn't have to be big to make a difference to the lives of young people.
It is easy to include a gift to Explore in your will. If you feel you would like to proceed, we suggest that in the first instance you contact your solicitor who is best placed to give impartial guidance and will advise you on how to make a legacy to Explore. There is no specific wording that we require - however, you should include our charity number: 1084226.
If you feel you would like to talk your decision through further or you have any questions at this stage about supporting Explores' work with a legacy, please do not hesitate to email email@example.com
Your support is vital. Any amount will do and be gratefully received. We thank you most sincerely for your help and generosity. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org