The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust is a national education charity. We transform the lives of young people and aim to achieve real social change by:
- Supporting young people to transform their lives, overcoming disadvantage and discrimination and into ambitious careers as professionals
- Ensuring business can benefit from and is more inclusive of diverse talent throughout its management structures
- Continuing to campaign for fairness and justice, ensuring the lessons from Stephens murder are acted upon
SL20 and Our Vision for the future
This year is the twentieth year since Stephen Lawrence was murdered. Not enough has changed in the last 20 years. Social immobility, a widening poverty gap and racism still present almost insurmountable obstacles to large numbers of young people. This is compounded by an economy in recession. Currently, while 25% of 18-24 year olds are unemployed 56% of black men in the same age range are unemployed. We have to act now to avoid the damaging waste and disregard of human talent.
Over the next 20 years the Trust, as architects of opportunity, believes Britain needs:
1. An awareness that greatness can come from anywhere – Young people, whatever their background, inspired to success because they see people like themselves in senior roles shaping society. We will work with young people through our Access to Professions Programme to achieve lasting transformation and develop inspirational leaders of the future.
2. A realisation that Britain can’t afford to waste talent – World class businesses succeeding globally because they have an inclusive and diverse work force – recruiting, nurturing and retaining talent from all walks of life, all communities. We will work with corporate partners, linking them to talented young people from our Access to Professions programme and providing our professional expertise.
3. Government and statutory bodies to lead the way and publish transparent data on the demographics of workers and students to ensure that all public policies are fair, inclusive and meet the needs of diverse communities. Through our Voice of Transformation work, the annual Stephen Lawrence Memorial Lecture series will continue to be opinion forming and influential. We will provide the platform for young people to become engaged in political and social debate through Stephen Lawrence Inspires Knowledge (SLIK).
4. Schools, further and higher education to embed race equality into their practice so all students have confidence in themselves, their society and their potential for the future. Working with educationalists, schools and pupils we will revise and promote the Stephen Lawrence Quality in Education standard.
5. An authoritative pledge should be developed and adopted to recognise the businesses that set the standard for creating a society of opportunity where young people from all communities can meet their full potential. We will build on our partnership working in the corporate sector to co-create a model of excellence.
History of the Trust
The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust was established in 1998 by Stephen’s parents, Doreen and Neville Lawrence. They wanted to ensure that future generations of young people would enjoy the opportunities that were denied to Stephen by his senseless murder.
Since its formation in 1998 the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust has been committed to supporting young people from diverse, disadvantaged backgrounds to help them to break the social and economic barriers that stood between them and a career in architecture and urban design, Stephen’s chosen career. We have awarded nearly 100 bursaries and having now seen our eighth “Stephen” qualify as an architect.
In 2008, with the help of public funding, we opened the magnificent Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford SE8 as a centre of excellence for architecture and design and the wider built environment. Whilst we were pleased with the achievements and the change that we have in some small way been able to encourage within this profession, we knew we had to do more. A lot more. However, for that to happen we would have to do more with less as our traditional sources of income came to an end.
We knew that we’d only scratched the surface. There are many more people who find themselves confronted with seemingly insurmountable obstacles to entry into other under-represented professions, such as law, finance and the media. So we resolved that the Stephen Lawrence Centre would not just be a centre for architecture and the built environment professions but it would be an environment in which aspiring young people could be built up and readied to be change champions in their own right.
The Trust decided that our primary focus would be the promotion of social justice. We see this as creating a level-playing field to ensure equity and fairness.
In 2011 we launched the Stephen Lawrence 18:18 Access & Opportunity Fund to coincide with the 18th anniversary of Stephen’s death, who was 18 when he died. The Fund would support our programmes designed to:
- Provide opportunities and access for people facing barriers to support them into employment, education or training;
- Provide opportunities and access for young people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds to broaden their life chances, increase their confidence and raise their skills;
- Provide opportunities for the community to come together and take part in activities and courses at the Stephen Lawrence Centre.