Action4Youth News May 2023

This month we focus on ‘altruism’, the selfless acts of people supporting the wellbeing of others. From the current Mayor of Milton Keynes, Amanda Marlow, supporting our capital appeal; to our wonderful marathon runners raising crucial funds; to our fabulous team who never watch the clock as they strive to improve the lives of young people everyday. A heart felt thank you.

Mayor and mum puts a call to action to create a legacy for all young people…

Amanda Marlow

Outgoing Mayor of Milton Keynes and mother of four, Amanda Marlow has been urging residents and businesses to safeguard an essential facility for children and young people across the region.

“The Caldecotte Xperience is a fantastic resource. It’s incredible for us to have something like this on our doorstep for kids who wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to take part in such a wide range of outdoor, team and individual development activities.“

When she hangs up her Mayoral chain, Amanda will be giving more time to our charity appeal aiming to raise £1.4million to redevelop our Xperience building. She notes “making sure it is accessible and inclusive for every child, whatever their ability, their background or family circumstances is essential.”

Amanda knows first hand the value of inclusive adventure and outdoor education at Caldecotte. “My older children when they were in primary school would go on outward bound days to Caldecotte. Another son who has special needs visited Caldecotte as part of respite activities, doing zorbing and sailing particularly. It was genuinely great for him and he loved it. For all my children, visits to Caldecotte were a really positive experience.”

A Huge Thanks to Our Runners at The MK Marathon Running Weekend

Championing the lives of young people was the focus for 15 dedicated runners who completed over 200 grueling miles in Milton Keynes over the Bank Holiday weekend to raise over £16,000 to support us! 

Individuals and corporate teams from the National House Builders Council (NHBC), and Alexander & Co. undertook the Turing 10k, MK Half Marathon and MK Marathon. NHBC and Alexander & Co. also matched funds pledged by their staff.

Individual runners included the charity’s Chair of Trustees David Teasdale and his wife Cathy, completing the half marathon (pictured below with Charlotte Sherringham, far left and Hamish Wilson, far right). All our runners crossed the finished line with big beaming smiles and tired legs – saying how much they were motivated by the young people on our programmes.

The Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire’s Personal Assistant, Kathryn Hobbs (seen above, middle, post-marathon!) and Steve Baker of NHBC completed the full marathon to raise funds for us. We want to express huge thanks to everyone who was involved. We absolutely loved being your cheer squad. Kaiden from Alexander & Co. (seen enjoying a much-deserved post-run carby treat above) was noted saying ‘never again’. Wasn’t that what you said last year Kaiden? See you there in 2024!

The Importance of Volunteering

Volunteers not only make an invaluable impression on our young people but helping out improves volunteers’ wellbeing too. Volunteering can help you gain valuable new skills and experiences and boost your confidence. This is the case for Adam (pictured below) who has been volunteering with us regularly.

He commented “I suffered with poor mental health. Helping out has made a massive difference to me. Not only does it stop me going stir-crazy but I love helping others and being outdoors. I get to meet new people everyday and make a difference from what I am doing.”

Have you been inspired by all the wonderful contributions above? Why not kick start something new during Volunteer’s Week 1st-7th June? There’s plenty of ways to volunteer and support us.

Things You May Have Missed…

Keep an eye out for all the news on our socials – there has been so much happening this month.

Young people from Stony Dean Secondary School in Amersham participating in The Inspiration Programme (seen above) gave their advice to the new King on the eve of his Coronation as they created artwork to mark the historic event. “I would give up the castles and give them to the homeless. I’d also give money to schools and the NHS said Callum. Leo would …encourage peace amongst the countries”, while Patrick would Let schools have sweets!”

Our Duke of Edinburgh’s Award 2023 cohort is well and truly underway. Arianna, 17, reflects on her journey with us during #NationalWalkingMonth saying she’s enjoying making lots more friends as well as new skills and Deputy Head of Centre and DofE lead, Kerryn Wyatt, was delighted to attend Buckingham Palace Garden Party Gold Celebration on the 15th May (see her enjoying the garden games above).

136 young people from The Junction, aged 11 – 16, enjoyed a fun-filled, multi-activity trip to TCX in April. Deputy Centre Manager, Paul Dyne supervised the group, alongside Junior Youth Worker Faiza Khan (both pictured above right). The trip was funded by Bucks Council HAF (Holiday Activities and Food) programme. The programme supports young people who are entitled to free school meals allowing them to always have access to a meal over the school holidays.

The team from The Junction (pictured above with sponsors) also organised a successful mini EID event for young people at The Junction and Wycombe Library. A massive thanks to Zahid Ali from the Cranstoun organisation for sponsoring the delicious samosas and more; the event was a great success with many people enjoying the food and drinks. Watch out for the team at High Wycombe’s annual ‘Frogfest’ on 28th May – with two stages, 20 bands and food trucks galore.

We also share thanks to Tesco and Paradigm Housing Group. Both companies have pledged grants to fund our vital work.

Since 2021 we have enjoyed local Tesco grants to fund our vital mentoring work and they have recently added Buckingham and Princes Risborough. This is all due to local customers voting for us with their tokens in-store.

Funding from Paradigm was used to run two of our impactful 12-week, Breakout programmes at two schools in Milton Keynes. The young people undertook mentoring, classroom and outdoor education sessions in an intensive intervention programme to reduce gang and knife crime, and to promote wellbeing and safety.

To Those Working With Young People

We also want to give a shout out to all the fabulous youth workers – our own staff and our member organisations too. We love positive feedback – who doesn’t? However, the reality of youth work is sometimes seeing young people at a tough point in their lives or when they need help with personal challenges; meaning we often see the whole unfiltered person. 

We accept young people as they are and the feelings they feel during their time with us are perfectly valid. Youth workers must be resilient and understanding and we know they truly try their best. Our A4Y team are highly skilled and know how to cope with challenging behaviour that vulnerable young people can present. They also see behaviour or feedback in its wider context.

The above reflection came from Chloe (year 4) on a residential at our leading outdoor education centre. Chloe just needed to ‘get something out’ – before a huge turning point in her journey. Bailey might be cited as ‘annoying’ here as he was helping a group push through their comfort zones but less than an hour later Chloe had a different reflection. For every comment, be it positive or negative, there’s a valid reason behind that young person’s feelings.

We know people that work with young people are fantastic and go above and beyond. (P.s. Bailey, we know you’re amazing!) #youthworkworks

If you’re interested in working with young people take a look at our current vacancies here.

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