Volunteering and Inclusion

We have been encouraging young people to volunteer since 2008.

Young Solutions’ work with vInvolved – funded by vInspired, the UK’s leading youth volunteering charity – saw nearly 3000 young people aged 16 to 25 years take up short, part or full-time volunteering opportunities over three years.

During this time we became aware that some young people with physical and/or learning disabilities were finding it hard to access leisure activities, so we set up the Aiming Higher Buddying Project. Funded by Worcestershire County Council, this small scale, pilot project encouraged young people to peer-volunteer and provide support in youth project attendance.

The success of this project led to a two-year Short Breaks Buddying Project (again, funded by Worcestershire County Council), which extended the concept to other parts of the county. Young Solutions recruited and trained 16 young volunteers to provide befriendment for disabled young people. Feedback from the young people – both ‘Buddies’ and those with disabilities – was very positive; all those involved built relationships, enjoyed each other’s company and got a lot from the project, including increased self-esteem and confidence. As a result, funding was found to develop the project further.

Our Inclusion for All Project, funded by the Eveson Charitable Trust, built on the Short Breaks model. We set up and developed a partnership between Regency School in Worcester – a school for those with additional needs – and the South Worcestershire Police Cadets, and encouraged the school to offer activities which both groups could take part in.

These included an after-school club and a trampolining club, but the achievements of the project were really highlighted by the development and success of a new football club at the school. The Cadets coached and supported the young footballers to the point where they were able to compete against mainstream schools in the area. This was a major achievement, especially as playing organised football is normally unavailable to young people with learning disabilities.

The Teenage Pregnancy Peer Mentoring Project (funded by the Health Improvement Fund) was a two-year project working in areas of the county with the highest teenage conception rates. Young Solutions worked with the Worcestershire Health and Care Trust Sexual Health Education Unit and trained 18 young people aged 14 – 18 as peer mentors who used their mentoring skills in various situations including schools, colleges and community events.

The Goals for Life project allowed us to develop the Inclusion for All project model and expand it to three special schools in Worcestershire. It was funded by the Big Lottery and the Eveson Trust and provided opportunities for young people with disabilities to participate in sports and develop social skills.

Keeping young people
safe and involved

in Worcestershire

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