Whitehaven teens benefit from £10k donation
by Julie Morgan
Whitehaven teenagers in care are transforming their lives to become "happy and successful'' through a series of activity challenges.
A total of £9,625 has been donated to provide targeted help to five boys, from Overend Children's Home in Whitehaven, build trust and confidence.
Local youth charity Brathay Trust is providing regular support for the teenagers including a three-day residential at Brathay Hall. The programme started in January and will last nine months.
Cumbria County Council, Whitehaven Town Council, local branches of Unite and GMB Trade Unions and a pledge from Cumbria county councillor Mike Hawkins has raised the cash.
Jacqueline Wallace, Brathay’s Cumbria projects manager, said the teenagers were able to try new challenges like bouldering and climbing which helped them "to explore their strengths and begin to understand how they respond to risk-taking which is what change is about''.
The group also took part in rafting canoes together, a high ropes course and abseiling which allowed them to continue to build and develop trust. Jacqueline said: "Understandably their life experiences means some aspects of these activities are very hard for them.
“Over the last few months we’ve seen a change in the boys. Their confidence has grown, their relationships with their peers have improved and they’ve been given a chance to learn from some very positive experiences.
"It’s important that we can respond to their very diverse needs so they have the best chance of being successful and happy individuals and what they deserve.''
And Jacqueline added: "The funding will allow us to continue working with them until September. It’s all thanks to some hard work by members of Hensingham Action Group who have brought everyone together.”
A spokesperson from Hensingham Action Group said the long-term goal was to give the teenagers the skills and opportunities to be involved in their community and to find employment.
"We recognised that young people in care, through no fault of their own, find themselves on the fringes of society and that unlike their peers, who are usually still living at home at 18 years old, care leavers are having to live independently,'' the spokesperson added.
"We entered into the project with the long-term ambition to assist the young people in resetting their values and being in a position to seek out qualifications and work.''