#MatchOfTheWeek: Hope for the Young and Keith Karikari

March 5, 2020

In 2018 alone, 2,872 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in the UK. 50% were refused refugee status leaving many waiting many years for a final decision on their case. Those turning 18 subsequently faced international student fees of up to £28,000 per year. Language barriers, an inability to navigate bureaucracies and severe trauma also prevent young refugees and asylum seekers accessing education. Without an education, there is little hope of a better life for these young people.

Hope For The Young (HFTY) helps young refugees and asylum-seekers in the UK overcome barriers to accessing education, by providing well-being support, volunteer-led mentoring and financial assistance. So far, it has supported 114 young people with funding for fees and provided over 3000 hours of mentoring.

In 2019 HFTY sent a request to The Fore’s Pro Bono Network, seeking support with a review of its financial systems. HFTY was looking to expand its work in the coming year, and needed to ensure its systems were ready for scale.

Keith Karikari, Finance Assistant for The Furniture Practice, reached out in response. After meetings with HFTY’s Head of Programmes, Matt Blacker, Keith wrote a comprehensive report, offering both short-term and long-term recommendations for securing the organisation’s financial systems for the future. Keith has also provided invaluable support in implementing the recommendations, developing and testing builds of various software packages for the organisation to trial.

Matt said that “we are incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to receive pro bono support to review our financial management systems. Keith went above and beyond to support us with this task and his invaluable insights have paved the way for Hope for the Young to become more efficient and sustainable moving forwards. We want to say a big thank you to The Fore for making this possible.”

Keith reported that “it became an opportunity to learn more about the charity, what they do and their needs as an organisation. The Fore allowed me to connect with Matt in an efficient manner. I really feel that it allowed me to put skills I learnt in a corporate setting to use as a volunteer.”

Keith’s expertise has had a huge impact in securing HFTY for the future, and goes to show the remarkable effects skilled private sector volunteers can have.