Seeds4Success supports young people living in South West Wiltshire by providing access to programmes that develop practical skills, enhance education, improve employability and provide recreational activities. Director Jaki Farrell explains how the £15,000 Community Grant they received over three years helps to secure the services they run for young people, 95 per cent of whom are from low socio-economic backgrounds.

“Having this grant over three years gives us security because a lot of our funding is for one year so from year to year we don’t know what’s happening. There’s a perception that South West Wiltshire is beautiful and leafy and there is no poverty here so that makes getting funding from national grant-making organisations much harder. Having a local funder like Wiltshire Community Foundation with an understanding of the local issues is really, really important to us because they just get it.

“The £5,000 a year is helping to secure a member of staff’s salary and underpinning the infrastructure of the organisation. It also means that I can spend less time having to fundraise and concentrate on delivering the youth work. Having a fulltime member of staff means we can have that wraparound support the vulnerable young people we work with need.

“Our work covers three main themes – open access youth work, targeted support and social action and they all ultimately have similar benefits around raising confidence, self-esteem, addressing rural isolation and socialisation. Our open access youth work gives young people the chance to meet friends, socialise and try new activities in a safe and supported setting. These sessions include sports, cooking, arts and crafts with lots of opportunity to chat and build positive relationships with peers and trusted adults and are often the first point of contact a young person has with us. As they grow in confidence, they can access other opportunities or gain additional support as needed.

“The majority of our programmes are for secondary school age, 11 to 18, but we have a young leaders programme who run a monthly youth club for junior school children. We also run Fuel, a project for children between eight and 12 on free school meals; many of those kids go to our junior youth club too and a lot of them wouldn’t be doing things otherwise.

“I’ll give you an example of the impact our work has. We have one young person who joined us in the last year who was being home educated but wasn’t really doing a lot. He started off doing functional skills with us as he’s got ADHD. Now he’s literally doing everything with us – he comes on a Monday to sports, we’ve got him during the day on Tuesday doing practical conservation stuff, he comes to our bridging project on a Tuesday night, he has maths and English on a Thursday and our practical workshop night on a Thursday evening. He comes to the open youth club on a Friday and earns leisure credits through social action on a Saturday. He’s not a young leader yet, but he will be after the summer.

“Before he started with us he didn’t know anyone in the local area but now I see him most days. When he first came to us he didn’t look anyone in the eye but now he’s this bouncy, energetic lad who is full of confidence and a really amazing human, and that’s because he’s had the opportunity to do things.

“The more a young person does with us, the more they get out of it. There are some who just want to come along to meet their friends who know we are here if they want to come and talk to someone. Sometimes they might make some bad choices and if it does go wrong for them, that’s when they come back because they know we are here for them and we will provide help.”

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