Our club for additional needs young people has met its first round goal; its established and successful, bringing fun and challenging events to 35 young people every Friday. Now we want to go to round 2; build an educational base providing accredited courses, social experiences and a foundation for a more confident young person to seek work, friends, training - all with the confidence to deal with any stigma associated with a disability. We would like to extend our capacity to help more young people, offer a package of qualifications and experiences, develop a workplace within our healthy living centre for real work experience and then provide support after the package has been finished. We see young people struggle to enter the adult world, so every opportunity has to be taken to strengthen character and give the necessary skills to compete for work, education and so on.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Employment is hard enough for young people with qualifications and good health; remove these and it becomes far, far harder as barriers are placed in front of young disabled people; access to transport, good educational qualifications, need for family or carer support, prejudice/bullying due to disabilities, physical or mental health issues may prevent a young person feeling confident to undertake work. Our target is to provide a range of non-academic qualifications and experiences to strengthen a CV; arts award, sports award, first aid, health and hygiene, money matters - courses and studies which will indicate to an employer or college tutor that this young person is making a real effort to succeed and is worthy of a chance. Hard work deserves a social reward, so our existing club will be enlarged to provide opportunities for more young people over two evenings per week rather than one.
Steps to get it done:
The Isle of Sheppey has little to offer young people seeking a secure future; unemployment is above the national average; investment by local authorities is minimal, whilst major employers have left the island over the years; dockyard, ferry connections, steel mill and tourism. Public transport is limited and expensive, with the eastern side of the island cut off after 7pm as buses finish for the day. Access to mainland employment and training becomes expensive and tedious. The action plans for this project will include encouraging and empowering young people to seek mainland employment and training, removing the barriers and amending the mind-set that have traditionally been set over the years to travelling and working further afield.
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