Action4Youth is here for all young people, making a real difference to their futures. With a variety of programmes, we’re here as a vital safety net, a springboard toward realising dreams as well as a voice from and for the young.
This month the theme of ‘aiming high’ shines through: From those like James (14) (pictured above right) pushing themselves to conquer some serious challenges this Easter at HAF; to students finishing The Breakout Programme pledging to make better life choices; to A4Y’s appeal committee focusing on the best outdoor education experiences for all young people.
A huge thank you to Rowshonara (pictured left), Rob, Rose, Tristan, Matt, Olivia, and Ben who raised funds for us last month. They climbed Scafell Pike on 7th March in memory of their friend Jason who sadly passed away in January.
Rowshonara said “It was no mean feat; it took nine hours to complete. The winter sun shone, with beautiful views all around – the perfect way to remember Jason. We decided to raise money for Action4Youth as Jason spent a lot of time in Buckinghamshire, had a sense of fun, and a love of adventure.
He was always a keen advocate of getting people outdoors, inspiring young people to push out of their comfort zones and try something new, even if it scares them. Jason never did anything by halves, so it made sense to climb the highest mountain in England on his birthday. We were so glad to remember him in this way and raise money for an amazing cause.”
Bravely Going Forwards…
April has seen the completion of some of our 2023 Breakout Programmes. Breakout is a hard-hitting anti-knife and anti-gang initiative. 15 schools courageously changed 150 young people’s lives by putting forward those at risk of criminality for the programme that utilises a unique blend of 1-2-1 mentoring, life skills development and outdoor adventure.
These vulnerable young people have been bravely exploring their circumstances and learning new skills. The last mentoring session brought an opportunity to reflect on the impact of the last 12 weeks. With the aid of Outcome Star (pictured), it is possible to see the positive impact of that journey.
Bobby (11) began the programme scoring low on Aspiration, Contribution Communication and Confidence. After 12 weeks, reflecting with his mentor, he felt these scores had improved dramatically. Bobby recognised how some friends were leading him astray, and how he was now able to say no to them, increasing his confidence and communication. He also recognised he was a good leader, helping his peers along in the programme too. Bobby feels confident about his future for the first time in his life.
We are delighted that Bobby said he feels the programme has helped him to “make the right choices” and ‘”inspired him”. We look forward to capturing more positive and reflective insights from the students.
Rebecca Fillingham, Programmes Manager has been impressed with all the student’s commitment, commenting;
“These are vulnerable young people; it’s been an eye opener into their lives and daily challenges. I love the journey that each person has taken – their dedication to push past barriers and go out of their comfort zones. Their new skills and positive attitudes will stay with them for a lifetime.”
Believing In Yourself
Our seven-day-a-week youth club, The Junction in High Wycombe, has been a busy safe space this Easter. As well as offering a safe environment and fun activities, The Junction offers a much-needed listening ear with counselling sessions to support young people towards their goals.
John* (18), came to the end of his counselling sessions recently. He valued the support so much he was moved to write a thank you card (seen above) to Gehad his counsellor. John never missed a session and was always keen to work on reaching a goal that he set himself from the start. After John completed his 18 counselling sessions, he felt he had achieved his goal and was ready to move on.
Name has been changed to maintain confidentiality
Redevelopment of The Caldecotte Xperience
Last month we brought you the exciting news of our trustees launching of a new £1.4million appeal that will change the lives of thousands of young people. The Caldecotte Xperience will be remodeled to create an accessible state-of-the-art centre. This inspiring redeveloped space will offer vibrant, adventurous and accessible outdoor education and activities which will benefit around 12,000 young people each year.
One of our newest Trustees, experienced Chartered Surveyor David Apperly, didn’t waste any time getting stuck in. He’s pictured above right with senior structural engineer, Dhiren Pankhania of Heynes Tillett Steel, on site reviewing the latest plans.
We’re radically remodeling our offer to all young people, especially those with special needs and disabilities. This was something philanthropist Roger Jefcoate was particularly moved by. Seen top right with Milton Keynes Mayor, Amanda Marlow, planting a black poplar tree on the grounds in December last year.
Roger’s charitable trust, The Roger and Jean Jefcoate Trust, donated £25,000 along with a personal donation. Roger explained “this is the biggest donation for years from our small trust to a single cause but it is worthwhile to help develop an accessible and sustainable centre with inclusive facilities.”
“As a team, we are really excited about the redevelopment. We get to work with some amazing children and young people. These improvements will mean that we can work with even more!
We love the benefits of outdoor education and like sharing that passion. Everyone has great fun but it’s so much more than that – our groups learn vital life and people skills, communication and teamworking skills as well as improving confidence and mental health. The development will mean improvements in accessibility, facilities and activities. We can’t wait for the works to begin once we reach our fundraising target. Please help us reach our target.”
Bailey Coulson-Bland, Outdoor Education Instructor
Things You May Have Missed
If you were tuned into our socials, you would have seen a whole host of fun from Chiltern Academy taking the fear factor up a notch with white water rapids, pictures of Dentons and Sainsburys helping build our new nightline activity as well as Northampton Academy getting cuddles with farm animals, seen above, before getting an insight into how businesses can be aspirational with zero waste practices.
As curiosity grows about what it’s like to work for A4Y we also have a ‘faces of A4Y’ so our followers can get to know us more. First up was Kerryn our Deputy Centre Manager at The Caldecotte Xperience. Keep an eye on our socials and website for current vacancies to earn a living whilst having fun inspiring others.
We love hearing and seeing the wonderful impact our programmes can make to both staff and students – positive comments such as those seen here from Mr Bampton demonstrate how valued our programmes are and what a difference they make to young people’s lives. Below students from Weatherfield Academy are pictured having fun and learning new skills from climbing, sailing and the challenging crate stack at The Caldecotte Xperience.
How Can You Help Action4Youth?
We are in awe of our fabulous A4Y running team, who have only a few weeks to go before donning their official running shirts with fists full of jelly beans for the MK marathon to make a difference to young people’s lives. Matthew Wood running for Alexander and Co didn’t let the bank holiday stop training, he ran to visit his family members which took over two hours!
In our runner’s Facebook group they have been sharing training pictures and their favourite running tracks. We say thank you to Sarah Fountain from SMUR-FIT, a personal trainer and experienced marathon runner for sharing her top tips and to PE teacher Andy Murphy (pictured left) who advises our runners to soak up the amazing atmosphere of the crowd on race day. With generous donations from Asda and John Lewis, as well as inspiring messages of support from young people, we know it will be an experience our runners won’t forget.
We are looking for volunteer photographers to capture those magical moments on our programmes. If you like photography and can get to Milton Keynes or High Wycombe let us know –
Email [email protected]