A Message from Jenifer Cameron
Isn’t it strange that the news is full of airlines struggling to accommodate all those wanting to go on holiday while on the other hand the dramatic rise in the cost of living means many people are struggling to feed themselves and their families. Clearly there is a real divide – of course there always has been – which is suddenly greater than before. So what is the role of charities in this situation? There are specialist organisations like Citizens Advice which can help people find support but is there enough real support to meet all need? Food banks are working harder to ensure people aren’t going hungry in the face of ever increasing demand.
For Action4Youth, working with all young people across our wide range of services and programmes, the challenge is all about levelling up and sometimes that begins at the most fundamental level of ensuring that everyone has enough to eat. We are seeing increasing need for food and in our feedback on sessions young people often comment on how good it is that food is free and available. That is sobering. Young people will not thrive if they are hungry or cold.
As Ukrainian refugees arrive in ever increasing numbers into Bucks we face a different but acutely urgent challenge of how to welcome and support a group of people dramatically uprooted from home, family and all that is familiar in the most frightening circumstances. We know that communities are opening their arms and working closely with the Council to meet the challenge. A further support network of community organisations and charities like Action4Youth is ready to offer support as needed. Action4Youth will offer support and mentoring if appropriate, and counselling if needed, to help address the trauma suffered and to support integration.
Challenging times indeed.
We’d like to congratulate our fantastic runners from Alexander & Co and Dentons for completing the half and full marathon. Thank you for running for A4Y and raising vital funds to support our work.
If you’d like to fundraise for us, please get in touch – [email protected]
The major focus in April at The Junction was the Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF), which took place over the Easter holidays. This was extremely successful with 261 visits!
The young people were very positive in their praise –
“Samosas are great”
“The potatoes are banging”
“Ooooo loads of cheese”
Along with the usual activities (pool, Xbox, film nights), we saw the continued successful participation in our boxing and music sessions and had a total 1062 visits.
The young people at The Junction have been sharing their thoughts with us about their experiences at the facility. Most comments from young people say that they feel safe, happy and comfortable at The Junction – with the added bonus of cheese and free food!
New for May – the implementation of our new timetable, offering the young people the chance to take part in life skills workshops, cooking, crafting and many other varied activities.
Photography @ The Junction Expo
The eagerly anticipated Photography @ The Junction Exhibition took place on 28th April, showcasing the work of a group of young people from The Junction. It was fantastic to share their photos and celebrate our young talent with a small number of guests and local dignitaries.
Counselling @ The Junction
Hafsa* is one of our young people who has been attending some of our sessions at The Junction and has been enjoying the youth space. Hafsa recently joined our counselling service and has been attending regularly on weekly basis. She has set up some goals that she would like to achieve from counselling and has been working with her therapist to achieve those goals.
Hafsa stated the below about her experience so far: “The counselling has been really helpful, it’s made me realise a lot more about myself and helps me open up more I think it’s really good”
Many young people are currently attending counselling at The Junction based on self-referrals, as well as referrals from external organisations. We are here to support the young people to overcome their life challenges and work towards goals they want to achieve.
* Name has been changed to maintain confidentiality
The Breakout Programme
We are currently running six Breakout programmes across four different schools, including Bridge Academy Central and South, The Hazeley Academy and Shenley Brook End School. The Breakout programme is designed to help vulnerable young people consider the implications of knife crime and raise aspirations and confidence.
This month we are taking part in activities at Caldecotte that include the below:
– Caving & Archery
– Team Dynamics
We also have external facilitators leading sessions on the below:
– Body Image & Self Confidence
– Mental Resilience
– How to be Successful
– First Aid
The programme also offers three separate mentoring sessions with each individual. Some of the most recent sessions have shown positive changes in the young people’s confidence and communication. Each young person stated that they are really enjoying the active sessions, and have gained something from the school-based facilitators. One of the young people said they are ‘getting better at asking for general support and speaking with family’.
The Changemakers sessions continue to have a great impact on the young people that attend, as well as benefitting the wider community. We have been completing Social Action projects across the Aylesbury, Milton Keynes, Slough and High Wycombe, with the most recent event, walking around Caldecotte and Willen Lake raising £290 for Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes.
The Changemakers will be giving back to the community and visiting a popular local attraction, Waddesdon Manor, which they previously visited in December during the Christmas Light Display. The Changemakers group helped to complete a survey providing feedback about the event, as well as sampling the delights of the Christmas stalls! They will also be helping to come up with ideas to make the location more appealing to young people their age and think of creative ideas to improve the attendance.
In June they will be spending the day at our Outdoor Education Centre, The Caldecotte Xperience, spending time strengthening bonds and working as a team. They’ll be taking part in activities such as paddle boarding, climbing and team canoeing. This will run for a full day and will give the group an opportunity to have fun, let loose and create new friendships!
Some of our Changemakers discussed their experience of working alongside the NCS Team and how completing social action and being part of Changemakers has had an impact. Marcus, one of the Aylesbury Changemakers encouraged others to be part of the group: ‘Just do it! I have met so many new people, it’s really fun and you’re doing it for a good cause, its once a month so why not!’
When discussing how young people show their growth, Kayshia, the Changemaker Coordinator for Ingeus, states ‘I remember Lyn was really anxious about asking people for donations and was very reluctant to approach anyone but by the end of the day she was leading the group and really came out of her comfort zone!’. Chelsea explained how being involved social action made her feel – ‘I’m really happy with how much money we managed to raise! It makes me feel good’.
If you would like to be involved in the Changemakers programme, please email [email protected] or call 0300 003 2334.
Staff needed for NCS!
We are still looking for NCS Team Leaders and Assistant Team Leaders for the summer! If you are interested in the role, or would like to find out more, please email [email protected] or call 0300 003 2334 and ask for a member of the NCS Team.
Charity Partners for NCS
We are also still looking for partnerships with local charities. We are able to fundraise, raise awareness, volunteer for you and bring a group of willing and enthusiastic young people to find innovative and new ideas! If your charity is interested in being involved, please contact [email protected] for more information.
The Inspiration Programme
What another fantastic month for The Inspiration Programme!
Our groups welcomed Dwayne from 7Roadlight who talked to them about County lines. The group felt they had learnt a great deal about the subject from Dwayne.
The group commented that ‘They learnt a lot about County lines and appropriate relationships. They also really enjoyed how open Dwayne was about his experiences’.
In other schools we have started our Work Life Pillar. We had the pleasure of Rae Borras, founder of Borras construction, talking to our students about his career journey and the projects they are involved in. He spoke to the young people about the variety of career options available in the construction industry. We then looked at the Go Construct website where the groups completed the quiz and investigated career options based on their personality within the industry.
Find out more: https://www.goconstruct.org/educational-resources/personality-quiz/.
We have been limited this year with the businesses we can visit with so many restrictions still in place but we have been extremely lucky to be able to visit 3WD. The company gave the students an exceptional hands-on experience. They started with the sales and marketing team taking part in an exercise on pricing and profit margins. They then went onto design; taking part in a variety of productions stages, their favourite being the creativity of the print room and the endless possibilities of the laser machines.
3WD treated the group to a few products take home with them. A maths teacher from the school felt the experience helped with lessons, relating some of the equations to real work life situations. The group were buzzing from the experience and we can’t thank the fantastic team at 3WD enough.
The group said “They learnt so much about how a business works” & “I learnt about profit margins and why I have been learning excel at school. It was good to see how excel was used in the workplace”
The Caldecotte Xperience
At The Caldecotte Xperience we are gearing up for a very busy summer season with lots of school and community groups coming to take part in exciting activities such as climbing, abseiling, caving and archery.
For many, especially Primary School children, coming to TCX this year has been their first experience of staying away from home. During the Covid pandemic, schools were not able to book these trips which contribute so much to young peoples’ growth in terms of developing independence, resilience and recognising the benefits of working together. It has been lovely to see the centre alive with young people excited to be here and taking part in activities that they haven’t had chance to try before. We are looking forward to many more groups being here in the coming weeks.
We have been delighted to welcome back Adam, our volunteer grounds keeper, who is doing sterling work keeping the site safe and looking well-manicured. Thanks Adam!
Finally, we’ve had a great start to the Duke of Edinburgh Award activities. Lots of groups have been out – in wonderful weather for a change – enjoying the time in the Chiltern Hills.
Lets Get Social!
You can also keep up to date with what’s happening at Action4Youth by following A4Y on our social media channels.
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Your support is much appreciated!