There’s never a dull moment at Chain Reaction! You’d think after all that work in schools we’d be exhausted, right? Never! Because when we’re not in schools, we’re out in the community!

So what are we doing out there?

Outside of school hours, we run hugely popular free-to-attend interactive issue-based theatre and media workshops in easily accessible local venues in the heart of disadvantaged communities.

On some weekday evenings during term-time we run sessions of our hugely popular youth theatres where young people come for free to develop their drama skills and learn about key issues all at the same time. Our youth theatre sessions often culminate in a fabulous show devised and performed by the participants to an audience of parents, carers, friends and family, and even local police, community support officers and community workers.

And in school holidays we run free schemes that often comprise a whole 5-day week of free workshops and even include a free healthy lunch provided by us each day! 


Why do we do it?

Because we care! We know that a lot of young people in our target area areas simply can’t afford to come to positive structured activities and often end up hanging around, bored, on the streets outside of school time. Often these young people are the ones who are most exposed to a variety of anti-social behaviours, more at risk of becoming involved in drink, drugs and risky sexual behaviour, and are in turn more likely to have low self-esteem, disengage from education and have few hopes for their future.  But we believe that every single one of these young people deserve a chance in life and can really achieve, with a little encouragement, support and inspiration…cue Chain Reaction!


“If the staff weren’t as awesome, helpful and happy as they are, everyone wouldn’t have tried their best”

Rosie, age 15,

Workshop Participant, London Borough of

Barking and Dagenham


(By the way, just between you and us…)

…we love this type of work as it gives us an amazing chance to engage with young people on a longer term basis. We can really get to know them, support them and celebrate with them as they grow, learn and develop new skills and confidence. And because we’ve got great relationships with other local organisations and service providers, even when a project does come to an end, we’re able to refer and signpost our young people on to others who can help them in the future! Call us selfish, but that’s a pretty great feeling!


“As a parent I was very impressed by the issues addressed. I believe it will

have a positive impact on their lives. Thank you for your

hard work.”


Parent of Participant



How do we make our workshops free to attend - are we made of money?!

Well, no. But as a small charity, we make every penny count and we work very hard to engage with some really fantastic funders who provide the money so that this amazing work can happen. Also, we often get commissioned by locally based community-working organisations or local government and public health departments who want us to work with their young people on specific local or regional issues.  



So what kind of work have we done?

We’ve delivered projects including:

  • A huge range of workshops tackling different aspects of drugs and alcohol for the Barking & Dagenham Drugs and Alcohol Action Team since 2002

  • Two years of holiday-time healthy eating and healthy living workshops funded by the Big Lottery’s Fair Share Scheme

  • Six years of our original Chain Reaction Youth Theatre in Barking & Dagenham, funded by a range of sources including the Lloyds TSB Foundation, the Youth Opportunities Fund,  the Community Cash Back scheme and Deutsche Bank

  • A whole host of holiday workshops around health all over east London, funded by a range of organisations including The Abel Charitable Trust, Newham’s Go for It Grants, Tate and Lyle, and Barking and Dagenham’s South West Locality Fundin

  • Two weeks of summer workshops in Newham in 2012 funded by the Transformers Grants Programme working with young people who live near the Olympic Park, and exploring what the Olympic Values and Paralympic Vision mean to young people living locally.

  • Two years of holiday-time workshops funded by a local Public Health Authority and tackling the rising STIs and HIV rate by working with young people to facilitate them to create marketing campaigns about the issues which they think will really have an impact on their peers

  • A two month volunteering project across the five Olympic Host Boroughs, funded by Team London in which 10 young volunteers aged between 16-25 were trained in arts and drama facilitation and then assisted our team in running 14.5 hours of bullying and acceptance workshops for young people aged 8-14 who had been excluded from main stream school. 

To find out more about Spread The Word, click here, or get in touch to talk about how we can help you!

“I enjoyed the workshop because of the friends

I’ve made, the techniques

that I’ve learnt and the amount of fun I’ve had”

Jaanai, age 14, Workshop Participant, London Borough of Newham

“I feel that this has been a spectacular workshop and has given my son the opportunity to express his creative side, which is a service that is deeply lacking in our area. Well done to all the staff involved. You are heroes in our community.“

Tony, Parent of participant, London Borough of Barking 

& Dagenham

“We are really impressed with

the approach Chain Reaction take to tackling young people’s

issues, using theatre as an innovative resource.”

Lucy French,

Head of Fundraising and Monitoring, East Foundation

“I have learnt new skills like leadership, confidence, and social skills and to avoid peer pressure."

Jubillee, age 14, Workshop Participant, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham


And what’s the achievement we’re most proud of to date?

Well, we’re pretty proud of all our work, but this year, our big project is delivering the third year of our groundbreaking and massively successful school holiday workshops project, Spread The Word! We were commissioned by the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham’s Integrated Youth Support Service to develop this ground-breaking project addressing teenage pregnancy and sexual health with at-risk young people from targeted areas of Barking and Dagenham. Spread The Word enables participants to create their own multi-media advertising campaigns to help other young people learn how and why to avoid teenage pregnancy and STIs.