About Us

ASCEND is based within the South Oxhey housing estate in Hertfordshire.    It is a close-knit community, with a current population of over 13,000 people and it is not uncommon to have second and third generations of families living here.

In the 1990’s, the estate was recognised nationally as one of 80 Single Regeneration Budget areas in the UK – measured by Government social deprivation indicators and high unemployment figures.  Local people began to realise that they needed to do something to help South Oxhey become more stable in terms of employment and housing – where all members of the community could have a feeling of belonging.

ASCEND opened its doors in August 1996 at All Saints’ Church Centre, South Oxhey.  It was founded by a small group of local people lead by the Rev. Ann Douglas, to counteract the problems on the estate.  As ASCEND became established, it took over the running of a homeless project for young people aged 16 to 25, also based at the church. The homeless work continues today through Herts Young Homeless.

Our Aims

ASCENDs services are available to anyone living in the South Oxhey and Three Rivers District.  We also see people from the surrounding areas of Watford, Borehamwood and St Albans. We aim to:-

  • Provide education and training opportunities to address the Government’s “Skills for Life” agenda.
  • Develop client Information Technology skills, enabling them with new proficiencies, improved confidence, self-esteem and increased employability.
  • Move people forward by challenging perceived barriers to education and training; providing people with more choice and control over their lives.
  • Develop new services and training opportunities to reflect the changing needs of our clients.
  • Develop new services and training opportunities for young people aged 16 to 25.

ASCENDs services are for all local people, whatever their age, needs or beliefs. We are fully committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all our clients.   Click here to see our ASCEND Statement on PREVENT and Safeguarding  .

Our Staff

ASCEND has nine members of staff and team-work really matters to them as no two days are ever alike.  High standards of professionalism and training play an important part in their everyday work.  Their achievements were first recognised in 2003 when ASCEND became the first project in Hertfordshire to received the Matrix accreditation award for Information, Advice and Guidance work. It has been re-accredited with Matrix in 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018.  This was followed in 2004 with the award of Investors in People, with re-accreditation in 2007 and the Plum Customer Service award.  In November 2007, ASCEND’s work was further recognised by winning the Hertfordshire Business Awards, Business in the Community category.  ASCEND has been presented with two High Sheriff of Hertfordshire awards and in 2014 ASCEND was recognised as Employer of the Year from the National Careers Service.  ASCEND has also been HAFLSs Community Course Provider of the Year in 2016 and 2018.

Christine Wyard
Chief Executive Officer

 Jane Drury
 Health & Wellbeing Co-ordinator

Liz Fraser
Step Up Facilities Manager

Jane Ross
Training Co-ordinator

Our Trustees

Summarised Accounts ASCEND 2017

The Revd. Canon Pam Wise MBE, Vicar of All Saints’ Church (Chair of Trustees),

Her work continually involves, first hand, the daily issues facing our local residents.  She has extensive experience with regeneration projects in areas of urban deprivation.  She initiated a shop project on a large housing estate in Brent to offer support and advice to the unemployed and lone parents.  During her time in Queens Park, Bedford she was closely involved with the Single Regeneration Partnership and founded the Queen’s Park Women’s Forum.

Brian Thomson (Trustee)

Brian Thomson is a professional economist who worked for many years as a senior civil servant in Britain’s Department for International Development.  Since retiring he has worked as an adviser for Citizens Advice and became one of ASCEND’s trustees in 2008.

Simeon Galpert (Trustee)

Simeon is an Accountant who believes that employment is the best way to defeat poverty. As well as being proud to be a Trustee of ASCEND he is also a Director of Equity for Africa which has raised c.$10million to support entrepreneurs in Tanzania with an emphasis on creating employment.

Frederick Martin Waldron (Trustee)

Martin worked in IT research for the Canadian Government, assisted US Technology companies to enter Europe, and set up his own consultancy company which he ran for 25 years specialising in Corporate Information Management.   Martin was also a visiting professor at the US University Richmond College and helped develop their MBA course.   In a voluntary capacity, Martin worked for the Probation Service to assist ex-offenders to get back into the community,  as a mentor for repeat offenders and for those wanting to start up their own business.   He set up and ran youth clubs in Bristol and Slough and developed IT courses in Canada for government employees with limited education.

Christine Wyard (Management Board)

Christine is the ASCEND Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and manages the project on a day-to-day basis.   She has worked for ASCEND for 20 years and lives locally.

Our Patrons

Gareth Malone OBE

” I have been associated with the charity work of ASCEND since 2008.  The professionalism and dedicated small staff team work in a sector that many philanthropists ignore because its raises tough issues with no easy answers.  ASCEND connects with and positively changes many lives in this community, giving clients time, new skills and the confidence to move forward in their lives. Since becoming a Patron in 2009, I have had the priviledge of presenting awards and certificates of achievement to many people that ASCEND has helped.  The joy, pride and emotion displayed in their success is inspirational and leaves me (and many others) with a certainty that this charity is doing a fantastic job, in tough times, with limited resources.   I am delighted to be their Patron.”

 

The Bishop of St Albans, The Rt. Revd Dr Alan Smith

Top