Flourishing Families Leeds is dedicated to bringing down the barriers which hinder people from flourishing. Our vision is to see children growing in confidence and fulfilling their potential, parents well supported and whole families equipped to connect well with each other and the community. We are passionate about helping children and families overcome challenges, painting a brighter horizon for the future. We work in areas of the city ranked amongst the most deprived 1% to 10% nationally, often partnering with local primary schools and other organisations who help us focus on supporting families at risk from deprivation, inter-generational poverty and social isolation. There are 164,000 people in Leeds who live in these areas and over 40% of the children live below the poverty line.
The seeds that grew into effective mentoring and changed lives were first sown back in 1999 in the city of Oxford. Work on a new housing development in the most deprived area of the county was nearing completion and Richard and Kate Colbrook, together with two friends, were approached by a local housing association and asked to start a football club for young people. They teamed up with other volunteers and the football club grew rapidly, with a youth club and mentoring group soon following. These activities became the foundation of the Leys Youth Programme (now called Thrive Leys), which became one of the largest youth mentoring organisations in the county and is still going strong today. Its overriding aim was to bring hope for the future to young people, many of whom had given up on expecting anything positive out of life. The National Lottery and BBC Children in Need among many other supporters invested in the work and effective mentoring that changed lives for good was learnt and honed at the “coal face”. The lives of thousands of young people were positively impacted by this work and many futures were transformed.
2015 saw Richard and Kate move to Leeds and, with some like-minded friends, the experiences of the Leys Youth Programme and Kate’s expertise as a primary school family support worker, they began to dream about making a difference in their new home.