In 1997 the government of the day established the Social Exclusion Unit to ask why some in society were so disengaged from the mainstream.
The New Deal was one of the new governments first initiatives seeking to tackle the wasted potential of long term unemployment. Christian youth worker Dennis Birch in response believed that the church could contribute to tackling marginalisation and exclusion amongst young people and led a group to bring Worth Unlimited into being. In 2000 Richard Passmore was appointed to lead the organisation and the first Branch was established in Waltham Forest delivering alternative education closely followed by a project in the Black Country doing detached work on an estate and then in 2002 the World Worth Living In program became the core of the Worth Unlimited's first initiative in Birmingham.
Tim Evans became CEO in 2002 and the number of branches continued to grow. New Branches developed with an increased emphasis on long-term relational approaches in local estates supported by innovative programs and growing as a learning organisation. A partnership was built with an outdoor education charity who were passionate about reflecting best practice, Dare2, with the result that in 2008 they joined the Worth Unlimited family.
Growth of Branches and then managing carefully through the years of changes to public spending meant the Board decided to invest in developing the infrastructure side of the organisation with the appointment of Matt Perry as Operations Manager to look after finances, HR, policies, safeguarding and all that goes with running a safe and well managed organisation. This offer to local churches, youth workers and communities who want to see things happen in their community continues to be part of the core of the organisation.
Over the course of time it became increasingly clear that some young people were not making the transition from youth work and being supported in education to the world of training and work. Along with changes in public expenditure that meant some different thinking about income, a trading company Worth Enterprises was established, and our first social enterprise, Gear Up was born. In 2017 investment was made in the establishment of a Social Enterprise Development Manager to drive this part of the organisation forward with a vision that each Branch should have a social enterprise as part of its work.
The organisation transitioned to a Leadership Team approach with Tim Evans, Matt Perry and Debbie Garden in September of 2019 and in April 2021 Tim Evans left the organisation after some 19 years of service. The Leadership Team continues with Debbie and Matt co-directing.