Multi award winning charity CEO Diane Clark, 65, shares her philosophy on untapping children’s potential and how vital donations make it all happen..
Tell us about your charity in a snapshot
Passion For Learning transforms the lives of children in challenging circumstances. We offer bespoke enrichment programmes to enable 400 boys and girls a week to be the very best they can be. Where we spot very gifted children, and we often do, we do everything in our power to remove any barriers to the child achieving their full potential.
So how does it work?
I’ve worked with children for 40 years, as a former teacher I strongly believe the holy grail is reading and literacy. Our 160 volunteers make books fun, find out what makes each child tick and, where funding allows, build a programme around them to open the child’s eyes to opportunities they simply would not experience without us.
And then what?
For example, if a child is a gifted musician, we organise music lessons, trips to a musical, find a mentor and opportunities for them to perform. Ideally, I want to meet the child at aged 5 and see them through to the workplace or university.
Seeing a child perform the leading role in a professional theatre production. She’d never been to a theatre before until we introduced her to the arts and was so nervous at her first acting class. But I knew she had something special and the professionals spotted it too. I was bursting with pride on the opening night. Her world is now a whole lot bigger and her confidence is flying. Hopefully that will stay with her forever.
What does the support of Cheshire Community Foundation mean to you?
Literally everything! Sustainability is crucial. I don’t want to offer children a glimmer of opportunity and then walk away. CCF donors allow me to be in it for the long haul and provide that crucial one to one support to helping children achieve their dreams.
What did it mean to you to be recognised by CCF for outstanding contribution at the President’s Award?
I couldn’t believe it! Totally unexpected. But I was thrilled, it’s not just about me but a recognition of the whole team who put their heart and soul into helping these wonderful children find their passions and become productive members of society.