Following a successful pilot project working with Purbeck School in 2014 and building on their track record of working with young people, the charity developed a project to support young people who were displaying a lack of self-esteem and needed help in an informal environment away from school. The grant contributed towards the costs of the youth development worker and refreshments and lunches for participants.
What were your steps to success?
- We were proactive and asked the local school what help their students needed – we invited them for lunch at the café so they could see how we work and we talked about the importance of supporting young people with self-esteem issues that the school had identified but didn’t have the resources to support.
- We built good working relationships with the school, and in particular the Pastoral Support staff, who refer students to us and we are in constant touch with the school to share feedback on the progress of the students.
- We learned from the earlier pilot project and tweaked the course before applying for funding.
- We respected the needs of the school and ran sessions either in the lunch hour or after school.
- We made sure that the appropriate Health and Safety and safeguarding policies were fit for purpose and implemented in the cafe.
- We were working with young people from Swanage, Wareham, and the surrounding rural areas and we co-ordinated the after school sessions so they could get the later school bus home.
What learning would you like to pass on…
- We realised that it takes time to tailor the bid to meet the criteria in an honest and productive way ensuring a successful end result.
- We had originally applied for funding to cover the whole academic year but the funding had to be spent before then. We had to scale back the funding for the DCCF application and apply to several other funders to cover each individual term. The trustees helped with writing applications, it was a tough time and a huge amount of work but worth it in the end!!
- We used feedback forms developed by another organisation (Safer Dorset Fund) to track the progress of the young people we were working with – you don’t have to re-invent the wheel.
- Look local! You may find that small pots of funding are available from your immediate community that could support what you do – these may include carnivals, fundraising initiatives and events that want to put back into the local community.
‘It was hard to raise the funding but so worthwhile when we see the feedback from the young people we work with’!
The project is running successfully – and growing. We have had parent referrals, requests from other agencies and the local church. We still have to apply for funding but are learning new and inventive ways to work with the school and other agencies so that the work can continue.