August 2014 Update

August, 2014

The past academic year has been one of significant progress for Explore as the record-breaking numbers of schools visited in 2012-13 has been maintained.  This year about sixty schools, a couple of prisons and a night shelter for the homeless have benefited from the ‘Explore experience’ – a total of just under 7,000 young people.

Two major documents were produced.

1. Explore was able to make a well-crafted submission to the Parliamentary Committee looking into PSHE and Sex and Relationship Education. 

  • There is a widely identified need in the education of young people: that of understanding the importance to family life of stable, loving long-term relationships and marriage. Explore sessions focus on the values (love, trust, respect, care, forgiveness, compromise etc) that are necessary for such relationships.
  • The feedback Explore receives shows the transformative effect on students who may hitherto have exhibited considerable ignorance of such values (often because of their own background).
  • Explore addresses the ‘R’ aspect of SR Education that other charities, teachers (and parents) do not address or find difficulty in doing so.
  • For Explore to expand, two conditions are needed (a) for time to be created within the school curriculum and (b) for the recruitment of volunteers.  Once these are in place, Explore’s expertise can be shared, modified and propagated on a wider scale.


 2. A Business Plan for Explore 2014-17 was drawn up which incorporated the aims:

  • To expand further its geographical coverage
  • To extend the experience it offers to young people, perhaps by continuing the dialogue on to a secure internet chat room
  • To collaborate with other charitable organisations which are complementary in the field of helping young people to manage relationships


Explore’s Mission Statement

Explore’s mission is twofold:

i)                         to enable young people to find out more about the realities of long-term relationships and marriage, by way of dialogues with couples prepared to share their experiences; and

ii)                        to offer this service to more young people across the country, in more ways than ever before.


Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks sees the overall problem on a national scale.  In June 2013 he wrote:

“Marriage has all but collapsed as an institution, with 40% of children born outside it and 50% ending in divorce.

“Rates of depressive illness and stress-related syndromes among the young have increased exponentially.

“A recent Facebook survey indicated that, although the average 18 year old has 237 friends, the number that can be turned to in a crisis is less than 2.”


The work in London and Kent has grown significantly and there has been a renewed impetus in Berkshire.  Links with black majority churches are being forged as the recruitment of a diverse ethnic mix of couples is essential as we visit an increasing number of city schools.  We have the opportunity to make a presentation in Robertsbridge, Sussex, at the end of October to church and youth leaders from around the country.



From September there is the need to build local groups in Dorset, Oxford, Cambridge, Sussex, Walsall and the greater Birmingham area, all of which will require a dedicated Local Development Officer and supporting committee.



The website has been extensively used to promote Explore, particularly in new areas, and to prospective couples and Adviser Coaches.



There has been increasing dialogue with like-minded groups such as The Marriage Foundation, Time for Marriage, Marriage Care and One Plus One, as well as developing partnerships with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster and the Diocese of Brentwood, Southwark, Arundel and Brighton.



The vital work of the charity is dependent on significant monies being received from charitable trusts and generous individuals, but to move forward and expand the transformational effect on the lives of young people, much more is needed.

No one challenges the value of the dialogue between couples and students, but to do more we need more!  

See below some encouraging comments from students:

  • Old people are still young inside, and when something is wrong, they don't end the relationship but repair it.  Divorce isn’t an option
  • To never hurt the person I am with, to always be there for them and make them my number one priority.
  • I discovered that marriage is more than just falling in love and getting married, but it is also about learning to understand each other, and care for each other.
  • My views on marriage are a lot more positive.  I didn’t know what marriage was like because my parents aren’t together, so I’ve never witnessed a marriage.


 Some comments from Staff:

  • Surprisingly moving….met the needs of the students by listening to their questions, not a pre-formed presentation.  Wonderful.  (Leweston School, Sherborne March 2014)
  • I just want to say what a huge success Explore were yesterday. The students found it very engaging and many asked some very insightful questions.  X and Y did a fabulous job facilitating the sessions and the couples were great to work with. (Admiral Lord Nelson School, Portsmouth June 2014)
  • More sessions like this please.  The format was very accessible and engaging. Very interesting throughout and a high level of student engagement. (Grace Academy, Coventry May 2014)



Why is the work of Explore so important to today’s generation? 

It enables young people to have a dialogue with couples about the value for their futures of lasting relationships and marriage.

Explore Patron and former Family Division High Court Judge, Sir Paul Coleridge, has recently highlighted the benefits to young people of being brought up in a stable family.

“I am not saying that every broken family produces dysfunctional children,
but..….almost every dysfunctional child is the product of a broken family”. 

This highlights the need for Explore to go nationwide!

Thank you for your interest, prayers and support.

With all good wishes,

Chris Ford

Chief Executive


© Explore 2006 - 2014
Registered Charity: 1084226
Registration No: 3913462