News & media

Here is a selection of our latest news and press releases. Please direct any press enquiries to Geethika Jayatilaka at

Big Lottery Press Release

Children’s mentoring programme, Chance UK, is expanding its work into two new London boroughs after securing £342,578 of National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund, to support more children aged 5 to twelve years old with behavioural and emotional difficulties.

Drawing on recent research, Chance UK will be working with Dartington Service Design Lab over the next 18 months to transform more young lives in London. This collaboration will enable Chance UK to use cutting edge ‘Rapid Cycle Testing’ to test, learn and adapt the delivery of their mentoring model.

Chance UK Big Lottery Press Release




Helen reflects on her completed year with Chance UK and the realities of being a mentor

One of our recent mentors, Helen, has written a blog post on her experience as a mentor.

“Before getting involved with Chance UK, I’d dabbled in volunteering, but never hit on anything regular. I’d always felt too busy with my day job, setting up home, travelling, and all the other things that preoccupy us in our 20s and 30s. At some point on the treadmill of life, work and play, I decided that I wanted to do more with my time and energy. I came across Chance UK and decided to jump in…

Read the full article here:


Islington solicitors, Bolt Burdon, continue to support Chance UK

May 2018

Bolt Burdon Solicitors, based in Angel, have kindly offered to let us use their office space to meet Chance UK families.

Our Islington families live all over the borough and it’s not always convenient to go to their homes, meet in public or in our office in Finsbury Park. This handy option will be really useful.

This isn’t the first time Bolt Burdon have supported their local community: they have given Chance UK much support in the past and they hosted last year’s Islington Giving Christmas Celebration.

Thank you Bolt Burdon!

Ava and Mandip feature in Arsenal match day programme

December 2017

We are delighted to share the story of Ava and her mentor Mandip. Their mentoring journey was featured in Arsenal’s match day programme on 2nd December. Chance UK is grateful to the Arsenal Gunners Fund for their continued support of our work. Click the link to read the article:

My Story – Arsenal Foundation – Dec 2017

Chance UK appoints new chief executive

June 2017

Chance UK is delighted to announce the appointment of Geethika Jayatilaka as our new Chief Executive. Geethika will take up the role in September when our current CEO, Gracia McGrath OBE, retires.

Geethika comes to Chance UK with a wealth of leadership experience in the not for profit sector and in public service having worked for, amongst others Creativity, Culture and Education and 4Children. She has also been Chair of Governors at a London primary school and Cabinet Member for Children in the London Borough of Camden.

Hugh Thornbery CBE, Chance UK’s Chair of Trustees, said “we are delighted to appoint Geethika to the CEO role at Chance UK, she brings a wealth of leadership experience with a proven track record of influencing and growing service delivery and a long commitment through paid and voluntary public service to improving the lot of disadvantaged children, young people and their families.”

Geethika said “I’m enormously excited about leading Chance UK. The organisation has made a huge difference to the lives of many vulnerable children and been very successful in promoting the value of early intervention. I’m looking forward to building on these successes, to grow our reach so we can help more children and families and make the most of the opportunities ahead – not least the results of the Randomised Control Trial due out next year.”

Geethika is currently Director at Parent Gym where she has grown the reach of the organisation tenfold over the last five years.

Chance UK CEO, Gracia McGrath OBE, to retire

April 2017

On 1st September, after 16 years at the helm Gracia McGrath OBE, Chief Executive of Chance UK is to retire from her role.

Ms McGrath says “I would never have imagined that I would stay in the same role for such a long time but every day seeing the difference the Chance UK early intervention mentoring programme makes to our children inspires me and this has made it very hard to leave.”

Ms McGrath has worked in the voluntary sector for nearly 30 years and was awarded an OBE in 2009 for her work with Chance UK. Over the years the work of Chance UK has been independently evaluated by, among others Goldsmith and Pro Bono Economics. The organisation is currently undergoing a Randomised Control Trial carried out by the Dartington Social Research Unit the only UK mentoring programme to be subject to this level of evaluation.

“My successor will inherit an incredible staff team, the most dedicated volunteer mentors and will have the privilege to work some of the most exciting children and their families.”

“However, there is still a lot of work to do” continues McGrath “promoting the need for early intervention is key to the Chief Executive role at Chance UK and although we now live in a world where most people understand the need to intervene early, sadly, we have had successive Governments that are all talk and no cash and we see the consequences of this short sightedness every day in the news.”

Hugh Thornbery CBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Chance UK, says “The Charity and the thousands of children who have benefited from its work have been enormously fortunate to have had the inspiring leadership of Gracia over so many years. She has positioned the charity nationally bringing political influence and great donor support, she has campaigned tirelessly for investment into early intervention and she has lived the values of the charity every day of the last 16 years.”

If you are interested in applying for the CEO role at Chance UK click here