'I joined Result CIC at an exciting point and I hope that I can bring an activist edge and knowledge of the youth sector. It is imperative that society is inclusive, welcoming, accepting and proactively supportive of those with disabilities; bringing those on the margins into the centre and ensuring that they thrive. 

After a career I loved in high school classrooms as a successful teacher of English, media & drama I left the profession entirely in 2005; disillusioned with some of the idiocy of educational policy. I felt my impact with young people would be far stronger if I worked with them more directly and after securing a dream job at Urbis (a cultural centre in Manchester) I launched RECLAIM designed to create leaders out of working class young people from pressurised communities. 

Simultaneously I grappled with the fact I had recently been diagnosed with a serious condition and with very little support and very few visible role models I found it incredibly difficult to maintain a positive outlook as a successful professional woman with such a serious diagnosis. The rush to presume that such a diagnosis meant the end of my career aspirations, and a dashing of all my dreams felt alien and unwelcome. For many years I was silent about my condition, feeling that others would judge me negatively and doubt my capabilities. As RECLAIM grew and success followed I felt more and more compelled to stand out, speak up and champion both myself and my abilities with or without a serious condition.'

Ruth Ibegbuna is the Founder and CEO of RECLAIM, building on her successful teaching career to develop innovative strengths-based work which enables young people to achieve their potential.

Originally from Bradford, Ruth was a senior teacher in a South Manchester state school and supported young people in obtaining some of the best GCSE results in the country. Looking for new ways to transform young people’s lives, she moved to a position at a Manchester cultural centre. There, in 2007, she began developing the RECLAIM Project out of her frustration at seeing so much wasted potential in young people; often written off due to their postcodes or through appallingly low expectations of their outcomes.

The project is now in its tenth year: the organisation Ruth set up has gone from strength to strength, picking up numerous awards along the way. This has included:

- Manchester Peace Activist of the Year, 2008
- Manchester City Council Women's award for Outstanding Contribution, 2009
- National Business in the Communities Sieff award for best collaboration with business to benefit society, 2011

Ruth was a member of the Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour and was a member of the HLF North West committee for 3 years. Ruth is now a Clore Social Fellow and an Ashoka UK Fellow, and wrote ‘On Youth’ to showcase the stories of five RECLAIM Alumni. 

Ruth was listed in The Sunday Times as one of the 500 most influential people in the UK, in The Debrett’s 500 in 2016. She was also listed by Virgin and Ashoka as one of the top six female change makers internationally.

Ruth is a bold and pioneering CEO, with a relentless focus on working side by side with young people to build a fairer future. She is an expert in encouraging young people to believe in their inherent abilities and to demand the best for themselves and their lives. She is an inspiring leader.


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