Welcome from the Director

I am delighted to welcome you to our website, and hope that you will have a good look round at everything we are doing.

I joined IARS in February 2020, and was delighted to take on the mantle for this new stage of our organisation’s development. It was the IARS values that attracted me to the role – the idea of giving everyone the ability, and the responsibility, to have their say about how their society is run, through open, constructive and restorative dialogue is something that I believe passionately in. Having worked in the voluntary sector for 20 years with many groups who are at the edges of society, I believe that decision-making should be done at the lowest possible level, by those who are affected or who have most at stake. As the Aboriginal saying goes: “nothing about us, without us is for us.”

The issues that we cover may seem to have little in common, for example gender-based violence and digital entrepreneurship; youth empowerment and protecting cultural heritage; but to me they sum up the commitment to a particular way of working – user-led and a bottom-up approach – and also a commitment to providing equality of opportunity, whether that’s to enter the labour market in a world where youth unemployment is rising, or knowing that you have a voice, and how to use it.  

We recognise the interconnectedness of people and planet, and how inequality of access, voice and opportunities affects us all. We believe that we are stronger together, and that the best solutions come when all stakeholders are engaged together and take collective responsibility. An important part of our work is to tackle stereotypes and the damaging effects that stereotypes or misplaced assumptions can have on us as a society, whether that is around gender, sexuality, race, nationality, age or disability.

IARS responds to the needs of marginalised groups by being led by them – it is more about the process of taking ownership of the issue we are collectively trying to solve and finding creative solutions than the particular issue in itself. Although the focus of our work may change, our work will always be about providing equality of opportunities through training, youth-voice campaigning and evidence-based research.

Whether you are interested in collaborating with us through research; would like to make the most of our training, or want us to help your organisation evaluate its impact; I welcome your interest and hope that we can work together to forge a safer, fairer and more inclusive society.

EMBARGOED 00:01 TUESDAY 8 MARCH 2022 

We are Sculpt

IARS International Institute to operate as Sculpt

*Charity CEO available for interview – details in notes 

A UK-based youth charity today changes its operating name from the IARS International Institute to Sculpt. 

IARS is an international NGO that’s been working to empower young people to forge a fairer society for over 20 years. Their work is guided and evaluated by young people themselves.  

Over the last 20 years, IARS has delivered more than 70 successful projects that have addressed real problems that young people face, in areas such as: 

  • Gender discrimination 
  • Violence against women and girls 
  • Supporting young people to find work 
  • Creating green and sustainable business 
  • Promoting collaboration among young people across the world and much more. 

In 2021, with the world changing rapidly and opportunities for their work shifting, they decided to refresh their purpose and identity, and made the decision to rebrand as Sculpt. 

Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of Sculpt, said: 

‘We are delighted to launch our new brand that speaks to our aim to empower young people to shape their future.

‘We believe that many of today’s young people are facing unjust challenges – economically, environmentally and socially. A fair, sustainable society can only evolve if all young people have the opportunities, the confidence, the ambition and the skills to make their voices heard and propel change in their communities, irrespective of who they are or where they come from.  

‘Our rebrand, like our work, has been guided by research and by young people themselves. As an organisation we base our work on rigorously researched evidence and are led in our approach by our youth advisory board. Their voices and insight are critical to solving the right problems in meaningful ways.’  

 

Notes to editors:  

Dr. Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of The IARS International Institute is available for interview. Contact Claire directly on: director@iars.org.uk +44(0) 7833 224442  

Sculpt

www.sculptuk.org 

Sculpt is a UK-based charity providing research, training and work-experience opportunities that empower young people to shape their own futures and those of their communities. 

We work directly with young people, employers and professionals who support young people. All our work is guided by young people themselves and based on carefully researched evidence. We: 

  • Facilitate forums for young people to make their needs and their voices heard. 
  • Publish a magazine by young people to express their perspectives and encourage debate around public policy issues. 
  • Conduct research to uncover young people’s real needs and what works to empower and support them. 
  • Deliver training to build young people’s confidence, skills, ambition, resilience and sense of responsibility, so they can shape their futures and change their communities for the better, as leaders, social entrepreneurs and active participants in civic life. 
  • Deliver training for professionals who work with young people, drawing on our research and expertise. 
  • Engage with employers to facilitate work experience and employment opportunities for young people to develop skills and access diverse jobs. 
  • Facilitate international exchange opportunities to encourage and enable young people to experience and appreciate other cultures, perspectives and ways of life. 

We tackle disempowerment from three angles: working directly with young people to build confidence and skills and their voice, working with professionals who support young people, and working with employers to break down barriers to opportunity.