We are 8 years old To mark Foundation for Change’s 8th birthday, we held a small gathering at our offices in Shoreditch. It was such a special evening for many reasons, the main one being that we could actually host a real life, face-to-face party and finally be together in the same room as our graduates, friends and supporters. Our birthday celebrations have always been a big part of our annual calendar and were sorely missed over the last two years. During this time, all our courses and interactions with our trainees have been online – this event saw many graduates meet each other (and us!) in person for the first time. Everyone seemed a lot taller than we expected! Bob Bharij, our Chief Executive, opened the celebration with a speech in which he wanted to highlight and celebrate the changes our graduates make in their lives: “This celebration is very much about saluting the bravery it takes to look inwards. It is about the courage it takes to look inwards and face that which is painful and broken. We're here to celebrate the phenomenal courage it takes to begin the process of healing and do the inner work that ripples outwards.” - Bob This sentiment was reflected in speeches from two of our graduates - John who graduated in 2015 and James who graduated last December, 2021. John featured in a promotional video for us back in 2016. It was beautiful to hear him describe how he developed an acceptance of himself on the course and how that had given him the power to make significant change in his life. We also heard how he had recently started a job as an art teacher, a dream he had had since he was young. James talked about the massive impact Psychology for Change had on his attitude towards learning. “I really thought I’d have problems learning… I basically thought I was too old to learn but the course really shifted my relationship towards being in a learning environment and the perceptions I held about myself. The whole course really stimulated my mind ” - James It was incredibly moving to have them both speak about their experiences on the courses as this is where the heart and soul of our work lies. To close, we heard from Ellie, our chair of trustees, who talked about the energy and growth happening within the organisation, and her excitement that our on-going funding is enabling us to move from “start-up to grown-up”. We all came together at the end to applaud the graduates who were given their Open College Network certificates. It was wonderful to be able to congratulate those who achieved a qualification in person with a big cheer and a HUG! Celebrating together with our graduates, supporters and friends gave us a real and tangible sense of our wider FfC community. We want to say a huge thank you to all those who were able to make it - it was amazing to share the celebration (and the cake) with you all. We also want to say a big thank you to all those who remain part of our work through their continued support, especially as we move into our “grown up” phase this year. We can’t wait to celebrate our 9th birthday with you!