Action4Youth June Newsletter 2022

A message from our CEO Jenifer Cameron

Early June is hectic at A4Y and after the past two years it is a delight to be rushed off our feet as we prepare for the first of almost 1200 young people who will be taking part in the National Citizen Service this summer and The Caldecotte Xperience is welcoming around 200 children and young people every day. The Junction, our youth centre in High Wycombe, now has over 1000 young members visiting regularly and taking part in the range of activities or just enjoying a safe space with their friends.
 
Our Counselling and mentoring services are at capacity, the Duke of Edinburgh Award team is busy most weekends taking schools out on expedition and the only programmes becoming less busy are The Inspiration Programme and Breakout which will end soon for this school year though of course planning for the new academic session is already well in hand.
 
We are excited that the new model of The Inspiration Programme will be in schools from September with schools’ own teams delivering the programme with full training, support and content from our Inspiration Programme team. This way of operating reduces costs for schools and makes it possible for very many more pupils to benefit from this important programme. Exciting too to be working with corporate partners including Stoke Park and MK BID who are making it possible for local schools to have the programme. It is essential that employers and school students can interact so that young people can prepare fully for their life beyond the education system so I am grateful to these far sighted employers who are investing in the young people of their local communities.

NEW Exciting Partnership With MyMiltonKeynes, Business Improvement District (MyMK)

 Action4Youth is delighted to announce a new partnership with MyMiltonKeynes, Business Improvement District (MyMK), which will include funding a number of The Breakout Programme and The Inspiration Programme projects in Milton Keynes in 2022 and 2023. The focus of the partnership is to reduce knife crime and gang presence in Milton Keynes, as well as to provide the City’s young people with the necessary skills and inspiration to go on to be productive members of society, which aligns with MK Bid’s strategy of making Milton Keynes a safer place to live and work, plus a thriving business region.

The Junction – High Wycombe

May was a lively month @ The Junction with 1,132 visits. We also welcomed a partnership between John Lewis & Partners and The Junction – John Lewis & Partners have been kind enough to donate sandwiches and other goodies to The Junction on a twice weekly basis. We have received some amazing sandwiches which all the young people have enjoyed (as they’ve not had to make them themselves).

We also held a knockout pool tournament, where 8 players hotly contested for The Junction pool trophy. The eventual winner receiving his trophy after a hard-fought final!

The session timetable has been running well this month and the young people have been getting creative with some great arts and crafts. We have some very impressive artists out there… maybe another exhibition can be penciled into the diary soon.

New for June – we hope to welcome our new door staff, which will free up one of our Youth Workers. This will enable more planned and varied sessions, offering life-skills and some cookery sessions.

We are also working hard to plan a super exciting event in High Wycombe this August, more to follow next month!

Counselling @ The Junction

Counselling provides a safe and confidential space for individuals to talk to a trained professional about their challenges and concerns. The Counsellor will help young people explore their thoughts, feelings and behaviour in order to develop a better understanding of themselves and others. Counsellors will not give young people their opinions or advice; they will help young people find their own solutions – whether it is making effective changes in their life or finding ways of coping with their challenges.
 
What a young person talks about in their Counselling sessions will vary depending on what they want help with and that could include:

  • feelings, emotions, or thoughts
  • relationships
  • your childhood
  • behaviour
  • situations they find difficult
  • past and present life events 

The Counsellor will be impartial but understanding; they will listen to the young person without judgment and will help them explore their thoughts and emotions. They may offer information, but they will not tell a young person what they should think or do.

The Inspiration Programme 

This week the programme finished in The Aylesbury Vale Academy. The group of 6th formers all felt they have benefited from the programme, providing excellent feedback and suggestions of how we can improve for future groups. A large majority felt that the programme had improved their confidence as well as their teamworking skills.

One young person commented; 
Overall, I enjoyed the trips that the programme has offered because I went to places that I would never go to, and I learned a lot about it. The whole programme helped me become closer to people I wouldn’t normally speak to. The programme has also boosted my confidence to do some of the activities. For example, talking in front of the whole class, I would never have done this before the programme. Thank you A4Y for the experience.”

This week we visited Ascott House and Gardens for the first time with The Cottesloe School. The young people gained an insight into the variety of roles available at the house. They had a talk from the staff about their roles as well as informing them about the house and its collections. Many of the group who lived locally did not know it was there prior to the trip. The Visitor Experience manager provided information about their role and career journey, as well as about volunteering opportunities available.

We walked to the amazing gardens and the group learnt about the working life of the head gardener. He spent time talking them through  seasonal planting and the garden through the seasons. The young people felt they would like to visit again with friends and family. 

The Breakout Programme

Our Breakout Programme continues to have an impact on the young people across our five delivery schools in Milton Keynes.

Rebecca recently spent the afternoon with her group at The Caldecotte Xperience, taking part in archery and caving. Every young person took part in the caving, despite them feeling ‘scared they might die’ and on numerous occasions wanting to turn back. All 6 young people made it all the way through the differing sizes of the caving system, and the teacher commented ‘They have all done amazingly well, you can see the difference from the beginning of the programme’.

The group then moved onto archery, where some of the young people were naturals. Their teacher gave them an incentive to shoot the arrow through a plastic bottle on the target. If they did, they would receive ‘points’ to take back to school and convert into treats. Three out of the 6 young people achieved this, and then shared their points with their peers. The programme continues to have a positive impact on their emotional and mental wellbeing, as well as their leadership and empathy. We look forward to working with further schools next year.

NCS/Changemakers

Last month, our NCS changemakers went on a trip to Waddesdon Manor. This involved a private tour of the inside the house and a look at the aviary. The main reason for attending was to access their half- term event ‘Colourscape’. It was nice to see the development in confidence between the time they were last at Waddesdon and now. They were actively giving feedback to Sarah (Head of Learning) who was struggling to write all their ideas down fast enough. Waddesdon has been great for our changemakers and given them loads of ideas for social action projects that they can do in the future. 
 
For the June session of Changemakers the young people met at The Caldecotte Xperience for a day of team building activities. This was a great chance for them to strengthen friendships, meet other Changemakers and enjoy the activities throughout the day including paddle boarding and rock climbing.
 
The Changemakers were really challenged across the activities and offered endless support to each other. It was a brilliant day and the sun even came out for us!

The Caldecotte Xperience

The Caldecotte Xperience had the pleasure of welcoming NTT DATA Business Solutions UK for a volunteering day last Friday. Nine team members arrived armed with paint, rollers and brushes to help freshen up the centre. We’d like to say a huge thank you to all who attended. Your help and support will enhance the experience for the young people this summer!

Find out more about NTT Data 

The Big Night Out

Each year, young people from all backgrounds, all abilities, come together at Action4Youth’s Big Night Out to enjoy being together, to celebrate their achievements and to enjoy the support of their families, friends and community leaders.
 
We would like to thank our main sponsors NHBC & Centre:MK for sponsoring the BNO. With your support we can provide a night for the young people, their friends and families to come together to celebrate their achievements and be proud of their accomplishments.
 
Find out more about NHBC & Centre:MK 

Support Us – Virtual Races 2022 

Virtual running works exactly the same as any other type of running but the difference is that the entered race can be run at any location, at any pace, inside on a treadmill or outside.

By joining either the Halloween 5KHalloween Hustle or the 2022 Challenge you’ll be helping to support Action4Youth as 20% off your entry fee is donated to us.

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