for young people with Special Needs and Learning Disabilities


Who is Achieve for?

Launched in November 2015 in Luton, our Achieve Project  now provides support to 60-70 young people with special needs across Bedfordshire. Young People with mild to moderate learning disabilities are supported as they transition from school into the wider community and towards independence, including work and next steps education. These young people are at risk from bullying, discrimination, lack of opportunity and choice; they lack the skills, confidence and support to move forward .


Young People with learning disabilities are among the most deprived and discriminated against groups in our society, 1 in 4 say they have no friends at all. Less than 1 in 5 have any form of employment and they are excluded from many opportunities that others take for granted.


The Achieve Project is working with 13 Special & Mainstream Secondary Schools and two Further Education Colleges as referral partners. As the project is expanding more join that list every month. This exciting initiative is unique in it’s approach, and we have many great outcomes and are receiving really positive testimonials. Funding includes grants from the Lottery and especially BBC Children in Need.


How do we work?

Each young beneficiary is supported for up to two years by trained peer and peer plus volunteers working in a unique cluster support model. We deploy around 70 volunteers across the county. We have a FT Project Manager, PT Project Co-ordinator, 2 PT Activities Co-ordinators and a sessional assistant. Each young person receives an average of 6-7 hours input per week.

Phase 1 is while they are still at school and we work to develop mentoring and befriending relationships for a couple of terms before leaving school or college. We normally have around 40 young people on Phase 1 at any time

Phase 2 is for a year after leaving school/college so that the mentors and befrienders who were with them in Phase 1, journey with them for a year or more after leaving. Phase 2 is much more about employment skills and employer engagement. We normally have 20-30 young people on Phase 2/3

Phase 3 is just a few months long and is about individual exit strategies - its is about signposting into employment or next steps education and, where appropriate, onto other partner organisations like the Princes Trust. As young people move on they leave room for other young people to join at Phase 1.

We include initial assessment and regular review, training and skills development, person-centred life planning - and we work with each young person to help them develop towards independence, employment, inclusion and to achieve their real potential.

How can I get involved?

To find out how you can get involved with the Achieve Project –  whether it’s a referral you want to make, checking volunteering opportunities, or any another type of involvement – please contact Michelle Sharpe (Achieve Project Manager) on 07427 851576, or email

Achieve 100 Funding Campaign 

We are seeking 100 companies based in Bedfordshire to support the project on a monthly donation basis.

We are looking for:

10 companies to donate £100 per month

20 companies to donate £50 per month

30 companies to donate £30 per month 

40 companies to donate £10 – £29 per month