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United Way Blog

A global vision, local focus- United Way UK Supports Community

Student learning to read with teacher

United Way United Kingdom is driven by a global vision with a local focus, bringing together community needs and corporate goals that have a positive direct impact on disadvantaged communities. United Way UK works at the community level to address the root causes of inequality. To realise this mission, United Way UK designed three main programmes: The Reading Oasis Programme, Give Local Campaign, and Youth Opportunity projects.

Toddler laying down, reading a book


More than 1 in 3 children receiving free school meals leave primary school with substandard literacy. This is twice the number of students who are not on free school meals, demonstrating a significant inequality. Additionally, 20% of schools in England do not have libraries- which is set to rise in the coming years. In response to this issue, United Way UK established the Reading Oasis programme, an early intervention that improves literacy before and during primary school for the UK’s most disadvantaged children. The Reading Oases are bright, inspiring, and engaging spaces equipped with brand new books from Scholastic UK, a free book for every child to keep at home, and a free book every month for a year for pre-school children. The programme supports parents too with monthly texts that provide tips on reading aloud. Equipped with everything a child needs to learn to read, Reading Oases are proven to have a positive impact on a child’s learning and future education. The programme is present in 34 schools across London, Liverpool, Bristol, Brighton, Leicester, Petersborough, Durham, Southampton, and Fareham, supporting more than 10,200 children in their education. 

School aged children, smiling for a photo


Give Local is an innovative way for corporates to engage their employees while maximising benefits for small charities helping their local communities. In the UK, the largest 0.36% of charities receive nearly 50% of all charity income but are often unable to provide crucial aid to local communities, due to knowledge gaps around local issues. Give Local bridges this gap, adapting United Way’s successful model of civic engagement to the UK marketplace. It facilitates volunteering and giving to organisations working at a local level, optimising their local expertise and building their capacity to deliver. Give Local supports more than 95 local charities since its launch in 2016, and while the average national UK payroll giving rate is only 4%, the average payroll participation rate through Give Local is 48%. Applications for the Give Local 2020 in partnership with Costco are now open. For more information please visit our website.

Group of smiling adults posed for a photo


Financial stability is one of United Way’s key priorities. In the UK 808,000 young people (ages 16-24) are classified as not in education, employment, or training, i.e. 'NEET' -  These numbers have continued to increase since 2010. Of all young people in the UK that are NEET, 39.9% are classified as unemployed, ten times higher than the national average. United Way UK designs and implements bespoke solutions related to youth employment and education in order to increase opportunities for financial stability among disadvantaged young people. These programmes are designed in collaboration with our corporate partners, in line with their own community goals. United Way UK provides an end-to-end service to corporate partners, from needs-analysis to impact reporting.



United Way UK was established in 2014 as a national charity with the aim of providing support to local communities to ensure every family and every individual can reach their full potential through good education, financial stability, and healthy lives. United Way UK encourages people and organisations to support the local communities in which they live, work, and raise their children, through recognising each community's specific needs, resources and expertise. To work with United Way UK please contact


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