It is no surprise to anyone at The Blandford School that Mr Ken Reynolds has been awarded an MBE by Her Majesty The Queen in today’s Birthday Honours List. Students, staff and governors are overjoyed that Ken’s years of dedication to the young people in this community have been recognised in this way.
Ken’s youth work began in the mid 80’s when he resigned from his job as a Service Manager for Rolls Royce and set up a charity, The Blandford Youth Trust. What followed was a pilot project which was so highly successful at helping children excluded from school, drug users and alcohol dependents that it was extended. The project, known as ‘Treads’, gained a significant reputation as a result, Ken’s wife Trish joined him and he studied for a BA Hons in Youth and Community Studies. The project itself was acknowledged as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ by the Local Authority, the Health Service and the Police. In 1997 the National Health Service Management Centre in Birmingham University selected Treads as the best example of good practice in young people’s voluntary projects across the UK.
In 2001, the project moved to The Blandford School. Fundraising for the project was always led by The Blandford Youth Trust and over the years the Blandford Schools’ Network, the Blandford Secondary School Foundation, district councils, community services, charitable organisations and charities supported Ken’s work. Ken and the Trust wrote countless bids over this time and presented the project to numerous audiences. Austerity meant funding for the project was, at times, precarious but Ken’s dogged determination ensured the project continued, and his unstinting desire to support the needs of young people has always been a key characteristic of his work.
Ken retired in summer 2018 although he remains working with the school as a consultant. During his seventeen years as Student Support Worker, he supported well in excess of 5000 students. His role was to provide a structured student support service, where he helped students of all ages which included the school’s first ever peer mentoring scheme. His legacy is the fact the project continues and is flourishing with a new Student Support Worker in post, Kirsty Radford.
In addition to this, Ken also played an integral role in the link between The Blandford School and the Gnana Deepam Matriculation School in Tamil Nadu, India. Ken has visited the area a number of times and actively promotes and inspires fundraising for the school within the Blandford Community.
Sally Wilson, Headteacher at The Blandford School said “I am delighted for Ken, to be recognised by Her Majesty The Queen and awarded an MBE is extremely special. Ken is very modest about his contribution but should see this Honour as an enormous ‘thank you’ for his years of selfless dedication; it is so very well deserved.”