Open Horizons

7 Open Horizons (1)

Copyright Lisa Marsden


The programme runs for eleven months using a series of both continuous and discrete activities and touch-points. It operates in the ‘home community’ – London – and does not consist of any travel or expeditions outside the UK.

Youth engagement/Application process
We meet with school leaders, introduce the programme via an assembly, review applications and conduct face-to-face interviews with short-listed candidates.   We target young people who need us most and ensure the group selected is diverse.

Individual community-based environmental projects
As part of their application to us students propose a project in their local community where they want to make a difference.  When selected to be part of clouddog the beneficiaries must initiate, lead and implement that individual project that positively impact their local environment at school or in their local community.  clouddog provides planning and execution support to the participants when needed.  We are also in partnership with O2’s ‘Think Big’ initiative whereby our beneficiaries can apply for up to £300 in funds towards their project and a further £2,500 can be available to increase it’s impact. In the past projects have included allotment gardens in schools, park clean ups and educational water saving or electricity usage schemes

Community Acts TM
Beneficiaries must participate in a minimum of two local, team-based Community Acts organised by clouddog.  These acts are done in conjunction with local organisations and work towards making a positive impact on the local environment and/or community.  Examples of projects include tree planting, inner-city garden development and inner-city farm rehabilitation.

Our volunteer mentors provide one-on-one assistance to our beneficiaries and help them to increase their self-confidence, gain perspective into the working world, improve personal discipline and time management, broaden their horizons and raise expectations for their own educational or employment goals, and plan – or even execute – on next steps.  The mentoring spans the entire 11-month programme and mentors meet with their mentees on a monthly basis.  Mentors are sourced from leading City-based financial institutions whose employees dedicate some of their time to helping youth.
All Mentors are CRB cleared and complete Child Protection Training prior to commencement.

Monthly Sessions
These sessions serve as a forum for providing educational sessions on topics relating to the environment, education / career planning and practical skills such as CV preparation, interviewing or delivering presentations. In addition sessions cover environment and conservation issues, experts, professionals, community activists and give young people a broader understanding of conservation and community activity.

Each Open Horizons programme cycle is structured around six beneficiaries. We maintain relatively small programme cycles as this fosters a closer-knit environment and enables each team to work closely with our beneficiaries and support them through the growth and change they experience while on the programme.  Our work is scalable, and therefore we can run multiple programme cycles each year without compromising the supportive feel of each cycle.