Gala Fundraiser

We held our very first Gala night to raise vital funds to support young people’s mental health...

YLF hosted its very first Gala night in hopes to raise vital funds for mentors to support young people’s mental health following the pandemic.

We have seen a 60% increase in demand for our mentoring in the last 18 months so finally being able to fundraise at our first largest event post-pandemic was met with real excitement!

Over 130 guests including local artists Leigh Price and Phien O’Phien, and Kent County Council Chairman Lesley Game and Vice Chair Gary Cooke, were invited through the doors at The Mercure Hotel, Maidstone on Friday 4th March 2022, to enjoy some much awaited enjoyment and live entertainment.


Local band, Urban Waves, formed in 2021 and made up of senior students from Valley Park School put on a showstopping performance of live music from a range of pop and rock styles and had the audience up on their feet dancing!

Our President and Auctioneer, Clive Emson MBE, brought in over £5,000 from donated auction prizes such as a hot air balloon flight and artwork by local artist Phien O’Phien.

Other donated prizes such as HoneyBee Flowers, Golf vouchers from Bearsted Golf Club and restaurant vouchers from The Swan West Malling raised vital funds in the charity raffle.

During the evening, a volunteer, young person and a fundraiser were all invited to be interviewed live on stage about their connection to the charity. In the casual sofa-style interviews, volunteer Kerrie commented on the privilege’s of being a volunteer, and the young person she is supporting commented on the difference having a long term role model and ‘friend’ has impacted her life, she said:

“Having somone like Kerrie visit me makes me feel happy. Having someone who understands me and someone I can talk to helps me forget about problems for a while and this has made me a happier person.”

In addition, fundraiser Elliott who raised over £4,000 by taking part in a wing walk for us said:

“I wanted to raise funds for a local charity making a difference in my community. When I was introduced to YLF everything they do resonated with me, and this inspired me to help more by volunteering my time as a mentor as well as fundraising.”

The grand total raised, including ticket sales, totaled over £12,500!

Our CEO, Stephen Gray said:

“It is a really challenging time for young people as we come to terms with the last two years and its impact on our lives. The increase in demand is evidence that some young people can really benefit from a helping hand, such as the support offered by our volunteer mentors. So we can meet demand we need to raise much needed funds and events like the Gala Evening has done just that, whilst celebrating the resilience and achievements of young people.”

All funds raised at the Young Lives Foundation Gala will be directly benefitting young people who receive support through the charity.

The charity’s aim is to build resilience, champion children’s rights, and provide the tools and opportunities for disadvantaged young children to reach their potential. It provides Advocacy, Mentoring, Befriending and Activity Programmes.

The fundraised monies from the event will go directly towards supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children aged 10-16 who have suffered from the consequences of the pandemic by offering mentoring support programmes.

Special Thanks

We thank everyone who was a part of this evening, those who attended, donated and our fabulous staff team who worked hard to pull everything together.

With special thanks to:

Urban Waves Band and Valley Park School
Ben Bryant Film & Photography
Mercure Maidstone
Clive Emson
The Swan, West Malling
Honeybee Flowers
Bearsted Golf Club
Masonic Charitable Foundation
Copper Rivet Distillery
Alpaca Annie
The Dog at Wingham
Local artists Leigh Price and Phien O’Phien
Guest speaker Elliott
Guest speakers Kerri and Katie
YLF’s Board of Trustees
Friends of YLF
Our guests

…and all who supported the event!