New Foundation launched to help enrich the lives of children and young people in Stoke on Trent

Local businessman Peter Coates will help make dreams come true for children and young people in Stoke on Trent in the next decade as he supports a new Character and Arts Foundation created by City Learning Trust with a multi-million pound donation.

The Foundation will work in partnership with the world famous Hallé Orchestra and Staffordshire University to develop four brand new and exciting programmes that will be on offer to all schools and colleges across Stoke on Trent and the wider Staffordshire area from September 2023.

The Foundation, run by the City Learning Trust as a charity is all set to offer the new programmes from September 2023 – firstly across its academies, but also to any schools and colleges across the area who want to benefit from the Foundation’s resources.  A major focus of its work will be improving education performance through building character, enriching culture and delivering opportunity.

Carl Ward, CEO of the City Learning Trust, who led the set-up of the Foundation said; “this is an incredible opportunity for the children and young people of Stoke-on-Trent.  It’s an exciting moment that heralds a new chapter of development for education across the city.  From providing life-changing opportunities for children and young people in music and culture across the area to being an enabler for the Peter Coates Masters Programme run by Staffordshire University, the Foundation will provide a long-term approach to developing the future talent of tomorrow.”

The Foundation’s activities will see the Hallé Orchestra work across schools and colleges to further develop music education – including 4 live concert performances a year for children, young people and families across Stoke on Trent from the full Hallé Orchestra, which will enhance the music offer provided in the city by the Music Service and Music Hub; the development of a revolutionary ‘Enterprise Academy’ in partnership with Staffordshire University, the Inspirational Learning Group and Performance Learning; the introduction of an international scholarship programme to give children and young people the experience of exploring activities abroad, and the offer to put sustainability and climate education at the heart of school and college culture through the use of a ground breaking toolkit and resources.

Peter Coates, who has donated a substantial amount to ensure the programmes are funded commented “he was delighted to support the further development of culture, character and entrepreneurship in schools and colleges across the City.  I congratulate the City Learning Trust for having the vision to establish the Foundation – one that will build a legacy and has the power to help transform the lives and fortunes of many children and young people across the area.”

The Foundation will launch with a week-long celebration of culture and talent across the city between the 10th & 14th July.  The centrepiece of this celebration will be two performances by the Halle Orchestra at the Victoria Hall on 12th July.

David Butcher, Chief Executive of the Hallé Orchestra said “We are thrilled to expand our current work in Stoke on Trent with the exciting Musical pathways programme in partnership with the CLT, which will engage and transform the lives through music of over 10,000 young people from across the region on an annual basis.”.

Professor Martin Jones, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Staffordshire University remarked “We welcome this opportunity of working in partnership with the Foundation to develop a unique programme of school-based activities that will support the development of entrepreneurial skills and provide a talent pool of students who can progress to degree level study and unique Staffordshire University programmes like the Peter Coates Masters degree in Entrepreneurship.”

Ben Dyer, from the Inspirational Learning Group, and Tej Samani from Performance Learning both said they were “thrilled to be in the partners in the programme.”

Jack Brereton, Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent South commented “Stoke on Trent has a rich creative heritage, and the new Character and Arts Foundation will further strengthen Arts & Culture within our city, giving young people exciting programmes to further develop their education in music.  The young people of our city will no doubt thrive through this comprehensive delivery of cultural activities and live concert performances, with full exposure to the history and expertise of the Hallé Orchestra as they work with local education providers and the City Learning Trust to deliver this fantastic programme for Stoke-on-Trent. I therefore very much look forward to the launch of this project later this year”

Jonathan Gullis, Member of Parliament for Stoke on Trent North, Kidsgrove & Talke said “I am so pleased at this really positive news that will create exciting opportunities in arts for schools and colleges across Stoke on Trent North. It is fantastic to see that the Foundation partners with the brilliant, world-renowned Hallé Orchestra, in addition to our very own Staffordshire University. A huge thank you to Carl Ward at the City Learning Trust and to Peter Coates for their work in setting up this Foundation. I look forward to supporting in any way I can.”

Cllr Jane Ashworth, Cllr for Burslem Ward in the City of Stoke on Trent and in-coming leader of the Council said commented, “in the immediate future the Foundation’s activities will provide optimism for a group of communities that have been hard hit by the effects of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis.  This Foundation can act as a catalyst for hope and progress in a difficult times.”

An incredible opportunity for the children and young people of Stoke-on-Trent.
An incredible opportunity for the children and young people of Stoke-on-Trent.