Well what where do you start, at the beginning…..
On average since April this year The Junction directly supports about 100 children and young people per week. Over a year around 850-900 individual children and young people.
These are children and young people from our local community who are young carers, young people who have impacted on by having poor mental health, young people who are unemployed, often long term and without the self belief, confidence, networks or direction to be able to compete in the job market and the world of work.
In short these are often children and young people who because of the circumstances they find themselves can be struggling to fulfil their potential and to lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.
We all know our communities can be tough places to live and work. Imagine if you are a young carer worried sick about your family, or you are so anxious that you can’t face leaving your house, you are homeless or unemployed with no experience of work. Just imagine.
Our ambition is to change the lives of more children and young people. More young carers, more young people struggling with their mental health, more young people who don’t have the support they need to overcome the barriers they face. Every week we work towards this.
In one such week……. we have supported a group of young carers to go on a 3 day residential to the wonderful Peat Rigg. For young carers this is an opportunity to take part in new experiences, be away from home and their caring responsibilities, learn and develop new skills, build confidence, build friendships with their peers. For our staff members it’s the end result of planning, and preparation, to give young carers the best and safest experience we can. Tiring but rewarding, we couldn’t do this with out the fantastic team at The Junction and the support of funders, our community and families.
We always find that residential experiences are really valuable for children and young people, they can often be unforgettable (Do you remember going away camping with Cubs, scouts, Brownie’s, Guides etc. in your child hood?). During this week we have also been putting the finishing touches to planning and preparing for a another residential, this time to the Isle of Tiree, part of the inner Hebrides (it’s the part of the map of the UK that is furthest into the Atlantic) for 13 young carers this will be an unforgettable experience, 5 nights away, 7 hours in a mini bus and 4 hours on a ferry just to get there!
So far so good…..We have also been working with groups groups of young people to raise awareness of mental health working with over 50 young people to talk about and discuss mental health and what this means. We all have mental health, everything single one of us but at any given in point in time 1 in 10 of us will be feeling less than ok. We need to make sure that people, old and young are able to talk about their mental health, share problems and get the right help at the right time when they need it.
We have provide specialist counselling and support for children and young people, helping to rise above the challenges that they face, providing a trusted person to speak to. Some young people’s lives are so very hard butu with support they can overcome so many challenges, inspiring.
We have supported young people to build skills and self belief to edge them closer to the world of work. We have supported young carers families to be able to make the changes they can to make life better for young carers. We have linked up with 25 local businesses to create opportunities; started planning with our school partners how we can best support children and young people in school when September comes round.
We have worked with children to build their resilience using the wonderful “Friends” programme, it’s great to see so many smiling faces and to here the chatter of the group.
For the past few months we have regularly worked with a fantastic group of young people, who before now were quite lonely and isolated, they have been getting involved, working within a small group to build confidence, self belief, develop friendships and now they have been out on a social activity to Flamingo Land. For some young people this is nothing special, but for others this is a massive step. Much fun had by all!
No two week’s the same, without doubt, throw in interviewing for new staff members, working with our partners to make sure we provide the best possible services for the most vulnerable young people in the community, developing an up to date website, processing wages and invoices, an abundance of emails, facebook posts and the rest. Getting over disappointments when we get funding application to charitable trusts knocked back for work that we are so passionate about-yes it does hurt, but then picking ourselves up to learn and go again.
Yes there’s definitely no two weeks the same, but what is a threaded in every moment of The Junction is the passion and commitment to make a difference to the lives of children and young people in our community-and what a privilege it is!