Impact StoriesYouth Action Wiltshire
“I first got involved with Youth Action Wiltshire in 2012, after Wiltshire’s Crisis Intervention Team referred me to Youth Action Wiltshire’s Young Carers Service. This was because of the substantial caring roles I have had within my family, both for my brother and mum.
Being a part of Wiltshire Young Carers was extremely beneficial to me. I was able to access activities that enabled me to get out of the house in a positive way and be in the presence of people who I felt cared about me. In addition to this, the service provided transportation and lunch, which was instrumental to my attendance, as my family didn’t have a car or much of an income. I regularly participated in young carers respite activities up to the summer of 2015, when I joined Youth Action Wiltshire’s National Citizenship Scheme (NCS), which is a volunteering and personal development project.
Post-NCS, I felt so fortunate that I was able to access services like these for free and benefit in the way that I had. I felt more confident and driven to help other people as the workers on these projects had helped me. From here, I strived to do as much as I could to be able to enable others to benefit as much as I had, so I signed up for Youth Action Wiltshire’s Young Leaders programme. I completed extensive training in; leadership, first aid, safeguarding and listening/communication to prepare me to begin volunteering as an Ambassador.
I am confident that both the staff and young people benefited from the Ambassadors, as the training made us confident in supporting others, leading games and activities. I gained immeasurable skills & experience and my mental health and self-esteem issues improved over time, as I felt like I was making a significant difference to people and I finally felt as though I had found a career path suited to me.
After volunteering consistently throughout 2016 and 2017, I applied for a Sessional Youth Worker post with Youth Action Wiltshire and got the job. I am now at college and preparing to go to University, my part-time role at Youth Action Wiltshire involves helping to deliver respite activities and I now have a role in training new Young Leaders and supporting their development.”
B was bullied at school because he struggled in class more than the other young people, B has a learning difficulty, which had caused him frustration. This bullying caused anxiety and impacted on B’s confidence and self-esteem which in turn affected B’s ability to fully engage in school.
B’s family referred him to Splash, in a bid to enable him to meet new people, and try new, challenging activities to increase his confidence. B has been attending Splash for two years and his confidence has flourished. He has completed a wide range of challenging activities and has met lots of new people and made new friends.
B’s family cannot believe the boost in his confidence. This new confidence and increased self-esteem has enabled B to see beyond the bullies. He no longer gets anxious about school, in fact he is keen to enrol in additional activities.
As B’s Splash journey comes to an end, he is keen to return as a Peer Mentor so that he can help other young people develop their confidence and beat the bullies. Peer Mentoring is a fabulous opportunity for young people to share their experiences, skills and coping strategies through conversation and friendship building.
K was referred to the Project Inspire programme by her Wiltshire Council NEET worker, as she was currently NEET. K had completed a L1 sports course at college but wasn’t able to continue on the L2 sport course due to housing difficulties which had made it hard for K to attend college regularly. This meant K’s attendance dropped and she was asked to leave. When meeting with K, K recognised that this had negatively affected her mental health.
After initial meetings and completing target setting work with a project keyworker, K joined our programme and started to attend a variety of twice weekly group work sessions which included; community volunteering with a wide variety of local charities, active sports to increase health and wellbeing and short work based accredited courses.
During this time K has recognised an increase in her self-confidence, worked on her time keeping, gained cookery and independent living skills as well as forming positive friendships with her peers which has helped with K’s mental wellbeing.
P was referred to our Wiltshire Young Carers Service, as she was caring for her mum, who has Scheuermann’s Disease and PTSD.
We have worked with P since she was 12, at that time she was suffering with depression and this was effecting her home, social and school life. P accessed our intensive mentoring programme to help her cope with her caring role and we worked closely with P’s CAMHS worker to ensure positive lasting outcomes.
P has a keen interest in the arts, so she has chosen to take part in many of our arts-based respite activities. P ‘shone’ during our latest music project. With the support of the Creative Arts Team, she gained enough confidence to contribute to the creation of lyrics and music, even taking a lead in singing & preforming.
We provided information, advice and guidance for P on post 16 educational options & following a visit, P was extremely excited about the opportunities that college could offer, but she was unsure she would be able to go due to her family finances.
We offered P the opportunity to take part in our ‘NCS’ volunteering and personal development programme and although P was nervous, she thought it would be a challenge and P had begun to feel she needed to face and successfully overcome challenges. P really enjoyed ‘NCS’ reflecting that completing the project had significantly improved her self-confidence. We supported P to complete her college application and helped her access the financial support that she was entitled to, so she did not have to worry about any financial strain on her family.
P achieved 5 A*s, 5 A’s and a B in her GSCE’s, she was really happy and finally felt that she could do anything she wanted. P has become a Peer Mentor on our music & arts respite projects, supporting other young carers and after achieving a double distinction in her first college course, P is continuing to discover new opportunities at college and is keen to go onto University.
Having four older siblings can be great fun, but when one of them has ADHD and one has mental health issues, family life can be very intense. This is S’s story, who also tragically lost a parent to an unexpected death. The stress of this situation, could easily have become too much for S.
A day out with Splash helps release some of that stress and can inject positivity into a young person’s life. The opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills and try new activities, can really lift a young person and help them build their confidence and self-esteem. Regular attendance at Splash gives young people something to look forward to when life at school and at home can be a struggle.
“The recognition of individual needs and circumstances means that my daughter never has a meltdown at Splash and her behaviours at school are improving dramatically. She always comes home from Splash motivated and keen to show off her newly acquired skills such as cooking, shelter building and music making. Prior to every school holiday she waits excitedly for her own personal letter from Splash detailing her place on the activities – This gesture means so much to her and lifts her every time. Without Splash my daughter would not have a release.”
A was referred to Project Inspire, as he was Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), having left secondary school before sitting any GCSE exams.
A had been looking for a job for a number of months, but hadn’t had any luck. A was keen to gain work relevant experience and qualifications, so he chose to engage in our twice weekly group work sessions. Over a 4 month period, A gained several work related qualifications, completed a variety of practical volunteering sessions and increased his physical fitness through adventure sport sessions.
A is passionate about joining the armed forces, becoming a soldier in the Army is now his preferred career path. However due to his age, A is unable to sign up and start a career in the Army for another 2 years, so in the meantime A wished to learn a trade in either mechanics or engineering.
A had found it hard to gain employment with no GCSE’s so returning to education to achieve formal qualifications in English and Mathematics was identified as a key target. With help from his Key Worker, A applied for and attended an interview, then enrolled on weekly evening classes at his local college. A’s Key Worker then helped him to also apply for several apprenticeships and after passing a capability assessment with ‘Remit’, A’s was successfully placed at a local body shop repair centre. A started his apprenticeship with some trepidation, but with support he has been enjoying his new role and has just completed his first assessments for his NVQ in Motor Vehicle Maintenance.