Gary Neville helps celebrate SHINE’s move to the North

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SHINE marked its move to the North of England with an inspirational dinner at the University of Manchester recently.

The event, entitled Realising Potential in the North, was held to raise awareness of SHINE’s arrival in the North and to stress urgency for action to tackle the education gap that exists within the Northern Powerhouse region.

SHINE recently moved from London to Leeds after recognising  that many of the areas of greatest educational need are outside of the capital. Our future efforts will be focused on the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber regions.

Among those speaking at last month’s dinner was England and Manchester United legend – and SHINE Patron – Gary Neville.

He was joined at the event by leading figures from across education, business, politics and media to celebrate the enormous potential of the North, and to place the life chances of our region’s most disadvantaged children, at the heart of the charity’s mission.

Headteacher Chris Dyson (pictured top), of Parklands Primary, in Leeds, which has received support from SHINE, gave a passionate speech about the changes taking place at his school. See what he had to say in the video, below.

Thanks to another SHINE Patron, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, the event took place at the beautiful Great Hall at the University of Manchester – a beacon of excellence in the North and a part of our region’s rich heritage.

Gary said: “The reason I have chosen to support SHINE and to become a patron of SHINE – and I’m privileged to be asked, by the way, is because it is centred around the beliefs and principles that I believe in.

“Talking about people from low-income families, in disadvantaged areas, they’ve got grit, they’ve got determination, they’ve got a willingness to want to do well. Everyone wants to do well in life.  They just need a chance, someone to believe in them, show them faith, spend time with them, mentor them, coach them.”

SHINE has set an ambitious target to catalyse at least £25 million into education programmes across the North by 2025 and is hoping to attract financial backing and support from guests in order to achieve this.

Attendees were shown a film, Riley’s Story, which introduces 11-year-old Riley, a pupil at  Parklands Primary in Seacroft, Leeds, one of the poorest areas in the country. Thanks to an inspirational headteacher and the introduction of the SHINE-supported educational tool “Times Tables Rockstars”, Riley’s maths skills have skyrocketed, as has his desire to do well at school, as he looks to a brighter future.

The film was designed to connect audiences into the heart of SHINE’s mission, seeing the human story behind our statistics. You can watch the video below.

The film has since been nominated for the Charity Film Awards. Please cast your vote for Riley’s story by clicking here.

Although not purely a fundraiser, the dinner raised a fantastic £200,000 in pledges made on the night. Thank you to all those who help raise this amazing total.