Project Description

This page showcases the overview of the entry of a 2015 Peer Awards for Excellence finalist, which was judged at conference.
Winner of the Developing Potential category

Interested in this year’s Peer Awards?
FINALIST: Red Balloon Learner Centre Group (RBLCG)
Entry Title: Red Balloon of the Air – a Virtual Recovery Centre (RBAir)
Talk Title: Reaching Vulnerable and Abandoned Children through an Online Learning Environment
Category: Developing Potential (Corporate Responsibility)
Voluntary Sector

Red Balloon of the Air was set up by RBLCG in order to extend its geographical reach and support the most isolated anxious school refusers who are otherwise accessing very few (if any services) and couldn’t attend a Red Balloon centre.

We have developed an effective model and proof of concept allowing the organisation to reach more young people in the future. The outcomes for young people have exceeded our expectations (see impact statement).



RBAir has enabled Red Balloon to support at least an additional 65 students over the past four years, increasing the number of young people supported by the whole organisation by nearly 30%. RBAir will henceforth play a central role in the growth of the organisation.

The attendance of each student on RBAir has risen on average from zero at their previous school to 87%. Last year over 80% of our students went back into school or on to college, or entered employment. Before RBAir, they had been isolated at home, with minimal support and with access to few services.



RBAir is an exciting, innovative virtual learner centre that provides severely bullied young people who are isolated at home with a supportive community, therapy or counselling, and an academic education.

It is this holistic approach facilitated through technology that makes RBAir different. In contrast to other online learning provision, the curriculum is negotiated, students are in control of their studies, and access the national curriculum through project-based learning.

A regional mentor complements the online work with home visits, regional meetings and outings, providing a vital stepping stone for students to return to mainstream education.



RBAir is the only charity in the UK that provides a holistic online educational and therapeutic programme to help young people re-engage with mainstream education.

We have stayed true to Red Balloon’s values, philosophy and practice and have embraced modern technology to reach vulnerable and isolated young people languishing at home and missing education. Our academic and wellbeing programme has successfully provided them with a lifeline.