POINT have been working with young people since 2001
Their last Big Lottery funded project focused on empowering and training young people living in rural Pembrokeshire and has been a huge success, showing improvements in self-esteem and confidence in the people using the service.
Young people attending regular employment support sessions at POINT have found that building their confidence and self-esteem with POINT staff support has meant their employment prospects have improved remarkably.
Two young people have offered this feedback.
C. says “By attending job club I have gained confidence. Through POINTmeansJobs I have also developed a huge variety of skills which have helped me in gaining employment.”
M says “I have better aspiration for the future. Since attending job club courses and one to one support sessions with PMJ. Because of the ongoing support with POINT I have managed to secure full time work.”
Building on these successes POINT is launching a bold new initiative that has shown it to be very effective in other parts of the UK. It has been shown to have increased self-esteem and confidence, brought about better tolerance between ages and races, and improved the decision making abilities of those who participated.
Another three years of Lottery funding is being used to set up POINT ACROSS COMMUNITIES, a project to expand on the work done so far and bring about a greater involvement from a wider range of people.
“There are so many skills out there and we plan to tap into as yet unused resources by bringing together older and younger people and supporting them to work together.” Says Zoe Davies, Manager of POINT
Intergenerational thinking isn’t new but is particularly important in rural areas where people of all ages can become isolated and lose confidence. There is the added issue of ageing populations. It is predicted that a quarter of the Welsh population will be 65 or over by 2030.
Zoe says “We need to plan ahead, and set plans in motion on a local level to make things better for everyone. If we are all to work together we need to challenge negative perceptions that young people have about older people and vice versa.”
POINT has already laid the groundwork for this with a project last year that saw young people, as part of their Baccalaureate, getting involved with a local care home and setting up a shopping service.
“It was a great success. Not just because of the shopping but because it allowed older and younger people to get together and to realise what they had in common. They really enjoyed each other’s company.”
Now, the new project aims to make use of the skills of older people in mentoring the young.
“We know there are so many skills out there. We want to recruit 8 volunteers initially who feel they have the right attitude and motivation to be in the vanguard of this project. Our potential Mentors will be good communicators. Particularly, they need to be able to listen. They must be self-aware, able to challenge their own prejudices and they must be committed to the concept of lifelong learning.”
Potential mentors should also have a sense of humour, a positive attitude and the ability to inspire confidence in others. It will greatly help if they have a good understanding of the issues faced by young people today.
“It’s really important that our Mentors are reliable”, Zoe adds, “Our young people come from all sorts of backgrounds, some have been quite difficult. They will need to know that we mean what we say and will not let them down.”
There is to be a full training programme starting in November, for a day a week for 4 or 5 weeks. Training will include subjects like Safeguarding, and Managing Challenging Behaviour. Mentors and their protégées will come together in December socially and begin working in the New Year.
Full supervision will be given throughout the project and all Mentors will be expected to undergo a Police Check.
Interested? Think you may have the skills and the time to give to a young person in this way? For more information and an application forms please contact: 01348 871887
Please note, closing date for applications is 29th September 2017