When an eaglet is first in the nest, there is lots of nurturing, then, at the right time, the eaglet must learn to fly. Initially, to encourage steps towards this, the comfort blanket of feathers is removed from the nest and then the eaglet will be nudged off the edge. As the eaglet free falls, the parent is there to swoop underneath and catch them, returning them to the safety of the nest. This process is repeated until the eaglet can fly, with the parent close by, ready to step in when things get tough. Eventually full maturity is reached and the young bird can leave the nest and is confident enough to fly safely alone.
This acts as a great metaphor for how we engage with the young people we support. Rooted in Christian values of love and acceptance, The Eagle’s Nest Project aims to meet young people where they are, to accept them for who they are, and to help them to discover and journey towards accepting, loving and believing that they are unique and have their own special gifting and qualities to offer this world.
Click on the dots to see how far we’ve come
2008-2012 (Vision Development)
- Founding Director, Jan Appleton, motivated by her Christian faith, seeks to identify an area where she can bring a positive change to people’s lives.
- A couple of years on, and frustrated with some of the challenges of supporting marginalised young people in mainstream education, an idea is born for a different way of doing things.
- The name is chosen after hearing a seminar on how eagles raise their young. (See Our Name section.)
- The idea is shared with a trusted group of friends to receive feedback and input.
- The domain name is purchased in readiness for the project to be born.
- Research into provision for students excluded from secondary school is undertaken as part of a Masters Study Programme.
- Jan leaves her full time post as Assistant Headteacher in a mainstream school to gain experience in more specialist educational provision.
- Decision to begin organisational set up in September.
- Decision that organisation will be set up as charity.
- £340 donation received to aid start up costs.
- Jan finishes paid employment.
- Begin process to register as a charity.
- Jan begins work two days a week at a pupil referral unit to develop experience and understanding of the setting.
- First meeting of founding trustees to officially agree the set up of the charity.
- Bank account opened.
- Charitable status gained.
- Official launch event including charity auction.
- Charity website goes live.
- Jan trained by XLP to co-ordinate mentor programme in Burton-upon-Trent.
- First cohort of volunteer mentors trained.
- First successful grant funding received (£500 from Tesco Community Trust).
- Two further trustees join the board.
- First mentors matched with mentees in pilot project with local high school.
- Relocation to desk space in local community centre, the Burton Albion Community Hub.
- First bespoke 1:1 sessions delivered.
- First earned income for the charity.
Throughout the Year
- Eight funding grants secured supporting the charity’s growth.
- First pilot small group project runs (Community Day Project).
- Second pilot small group runs (Spa Day Project for girls).
- Second cohort of volunteer mentors trained.
- Take on dedicated office within BACT Hub.
- Regular Gardening and Open Spaces Day project begins.
- Finance Administrator added to the team.
- Martial Arts and Cooking Skills Day project begins.
- Established Day projects continue on a weekly basis.
- Approved as AIM awards centre, enabling accredited qualifications can be offered.
- Third cohort of volunteer mentors trained as demand for this provision grows.
- Successful Pilot of Alpaca Farm Day project takes place.
- Spa Day Project for girls runs in new, improved venue.
- Became the first charity in Staffordshire to take advantage of the County Council Crowdfunder appeal, securing over £4,000 to fund a new part-time support worker role.
- Director role becomes full-time paid post following receipt of funding from The Consolidated Charity of Burton-upon-Trent.
- Achieved status as approved Staffordshire County Council Alternative Provision.
- Staff team expanded with 2 funded posts bringing the paid staff team up to 8 (2 permanent, 2 temporary, 4 casual).
- More than 100 young people have been supported through Eagle’s Nest since it began operating.
- Registered as an approved Derbyshire County alternative provision.
- Selected as one of St James’s Place Wealth Management Regional Charities of the Year.
- Two temporary staff are made permanent team members on increased hours. (Staff team of 8 remains, now with 4 permanent and 4 casual members.)
- Jan is invited to present on trauma-informed practice to teachers from across the West Midlands at a training event.
- Jan and Toyin, former student, present to 200 employees of St James’s Place as part of their Regional Charity of the Year award.
March – July
- Eagle’s Nest identified as an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic and given the green light to remain open and delivering face-to-face work throughout the school closure period.
- Announced as a Weston Charity Award winner. A national award that is highly regarded in the sector.