The name of the participant in this case study has been changed for safeguarding reasons.
Jessica was referred to PYF in October 2016 from her careers advisor at Prospects. We initially met with her at her home, as Jessica has severe anxiety issues and doesn’t cope well with attending new venues or meeting new people. In our initial meeting she did not say anything, sitting and listening whilst we spoke to her parents and Prospects worker.
We felt Jessica would benefit from the support on offer from our Building Better Opportunities – Progress programme. The reason for this is that the Progress programme offers a long term intervention. Progress delivers a robust form of engagement in both the following aspects; one to one work as well as gaining access to dynamic small group work, these are both vital for young people such as herself where she can develop her confidence in social situations.
Jessica did not visit our sessions until 14th February due to her anxiety issues. During Jessica’s initial visit we discussed her interest in working with animals and she had an interest in possibly working as an animal groomer.
We kept in contact with her careers advisor worker from Prospects after this visit, it took ourselves and the careers advisor until the 12th April to engage her into one of our sessions where she met with other young people who have been on the BBO programme and a progress mentor. At the time we discussed the April programme such as the timetable, activities and her aspirations for the future. Her first session was on the 6th June, she enjoyed our music sessions and at first she would only attend these sessions on the Tuesday morning however over a period of 3 weeks as she got to know the youth workers and the rest of the young people her attendance and contributions in the sessions increased.
Sessions such as the boxing and gym have increased her confidence where she has been taking part in small circuit sessions, body building and cardio vascular exercises. There is a visible difference in her physical presence as she would hunch back when standing up to try and hide herself away in social situations partly because of her anxiety and partly due to her being conscious of her height. She now feels much more confident with her body image and no longer hides herself away when walking into the sessions.
The boxing and MMA sessions require close proximity to one another in order to effectively deliver the activities. This would have been something that would have made Jessica extremely uncomfortable, however we have found she is much more confident in taking part in these sessions especially in the MMA workshops where the instructor teaches the young people of escaping holds and grips which can only be learnt by actually practising with one another.
Our sessions also have an education element embedded within the programme where young people who missed out on their English and Maths can gain their level 1 and 2 in functional skills. Her progress so far has been on a positive trajectory, we hope, in the short term she remains engaged with PYF for the full year. After this she can move into the many multi discipline PYF sessions which are run all over the city as well as progressing on to a positive destination, whether it is some form of meaningful employment, education or training.
The name of the participant in this case study has been changed for safeguarding reasons.
When Lily walks into the room, you know she’s arrived. A flamboyant character with a strong Birmingham accent, initially you aren’t sure what to expect. Quickly however, you get a sense of Lily’s kind-hearted nature.
Lily joined us on our alternative education provision – RAP, a Year 11 student who was not attending mainstream school after a series of ups and downs, which she discusses openly with us.
For a 16 year old, Lily has faced her fair share of challenges, which in turn has offered her a wide perspective on life and a level of maturity that isn’t always recognised at such an early age.
Lily quickly became well respected and a hugely valued member of the group who continually impressed staff members by her academic abilities and honest nature. With a kind heart, she helped to welcome other learners into the group but also sometimes struggled to keep a lid on her fiery personality. As she attended with us twice a week, staff weren’t always sure which version of Lily to expect for a 9:30am start, which became a running joke between her and staff members.
The RAP provision has seen Lily grow in self-awareness and an asset to her community, understanding appropriateness of behaviours and has reinforced PYF’s belief of “not judging a book by it’s cover.” We are extremely proud of where Lily has progressed and have no doubts that she will continue to develop and grow into a well-respected, ambitious woman.
Below is Lily’s introduction and how she feels PYF has helped change her outlook on life by shifting her focus to her future.
“My name is Lily, I came from West Bromwich and now I live in Coventry. I am in foster care, I didn’t go on in school because I had a bad attitude problem, I was put in touch with PYF in February as I didn’t really have a choice as I just had moved to Coventry. I felt alright about starting PYF as I am very confident around new people, I am not a shy person and will fit in quiet easily.
Since I have been at PYF I have gained natural knowledge of the real world, I have learnt to deal with situations differently that in the past might have caused me to get into trouble I now know how to deal with them a lot better. I have achieved a Level 1 Personal Wellbeing Award and in working toward my Level 2 Maths.
In September I am starting Solihull College, on Level 2 Health & Social Care, in the future I hope to go to University to study Criminal Psychology, if I hadn’t moved to Coventry I wouldn’t be attending PYF and would probably be getting myself into trouble.
I am focused on my future and what I will become in 10 years.”
Between July 13th-16th 2017, PYF,embarked on a leadership residential to the Isle of Wight. Taking a group of 30 young people who had been involved in completing leadership accreditation’s and qualifications over the past year. Some of the young people on the trip had completed in excess of 100 hours of volunteering before coming with us to the Isle of Wight. The trip was an opportunity for them to utilise their new found skills in leadership and to also learn some brand new skills along the way. The trip was based at the Isle of Wight’s Rhythm Tree Festival, (a festival dedicated to world music and eclectic sound). The group were tasked in running their own tent, schedule in their own performance programme (including marketing) and encourage audience and crowd participation.
Whilst at the festival the young people were also invited to run a health kitchen called the Didge Café. At the Didge café they learnt skills in: creating and making vegan and vegetarian food, they learnt about organic produce and how to sell and market good food. On one day one volunteer created 150 portions of lentil curry, another volunteer learnt how to make spelt bread and humus from scratch.
In addition to the music festival, there were other opportunities; one group for example attended the Shanklin 6’s annual Island football tournament. Here they produced a 9 a side football team, which was run and managed by 3 young people on the trip. Whilst at the tournament others from the group cut up oranges and offered them to outside teams and spectators in an attempt to bring people together and show a random act of kindness.
In return one of the football teams, Ryde Saints FC, offered a training session to the group of young people to take place a day later on Ryde sea front. A training session in Beach Football!
Another highlight of the trip was visiting Rapanui (organic eco-friendly t-shirt company). Both PYF and Rapanui have links with supporting refugee aid. The visit was an opportunity to pick up a one of a kind t-shirt order that Rapanui had created for PYF ‘Involved’ programme. The t-shirt featured a newly designed logo with the words ‘increase the peace’, which they felt was akin to the PYF ethos. The young people were able to take a tour of the t-shirt making factory and quiz the workers on how the t-shirts were ethically made. The trip was a huge success with incredible amounts of feedback from both partner agencies/organisations and members of the public who commented on the groups positivity, energy and confidence.
On Monday 31st July, a group of young people from the Positive Youth Foundation attended a football tournament at the ‘Home of Football’, St. Georges Park.
The members of the team were selected to represent PYF after a gruelling four-week tournament in which multiple teams battled it out to be crowned winners and earn a chance to represent PYF at St. Georges Park.
The selected team made their way to St. Georges Park ready to take on a number of teams from around the country.
On arrival, our team were given a tour of the National Football Centre, walking through the England team’s dressing room, taking part in a workout in the gym and best of all, taking to the pitch for the first time.
The team started their journey by playing against West Brom, drawing 1-1 after a tense affair. Next up, we took on Team Charlie (UP Foundation) and played a blistering game, winning 4-1. Lastly, our team took on Birmingham City, playing bravely but ultimately it wasn’t our day as we lost 1-0.
However, that wasn’t the end of our journey, finishing second in our group we moved into the quarter finals, ready to take on a team from Burton Albion. After an inspired performance, the PYF team won 2-0, moving them a step closer to the final with a game against Solihull Moores up next. After a tense game where both sides challenged but couldn’t find the back of the net, the result came down to sudden-death penalties.
Sadly, this was where our journey ended, with Solihull Moores advancing into the final to face off against Birmingham City.
Health and Sports Programme Co-ordinator Cormac Whelan said “The lads are gutted not to get through to the final but they had a fantastic day playing at St. Georges Park and scoring some absolute wonder goals. They’re a fantastic credit to PYF and to the city of Coventry, the tournament was an opportunity for the young people to show their commitment as well as develop a range of skills beyond the physical elements of sport. We’re grateful to UP Foundation for inviting us to take part in the event, it has been a fantastic experience for our young people.”
On Monday 17th July, a group of staff members and young people from the Positive Youth Foundation attended the West Midlands Police Sports Awards in Birmingham. The event was to highlight the power of sport within communities, and how sport can become a catalyst for social change.
The Positive Youth Foundation have used sports programmes as a vehicle to remove barriers for young people to get involved in various different sports. Sports also allows for opportunities to create positive opportunities, develop role models and embed a feeling of local pride and involvement in their local community.
We were nominated for two awards on the night; the ‘Power of Sport’ and the ‘Project of the Year’ awards.
The ‘Power of Sport’ award looks to celebrate an individual who has made significant improvements in their life and has had a positive impact on others around them due to their participation in sport. As part of our focus on inclusion, we delivered a Sports Leadership qualification to a group of newly arrived Syrian young people in order to enhance their confidence whilst also providing them with their first UK qualification.
During the course of the qualifications delivery, we saw an outstanding amount of leadership, but none more so than in one family. For this family, 15 year-old Batoul and her two brothers, Mustafa and Abdullah, taking part in sport has proven to be a signification catalyst for development.
All three have since volunteered with us at PYF, leading sports sessions at our half-term programmes and even becoming ambassadors for other newly arrived young people in Coventry.
For our ‘Project of the Year’ nomination, in which we came 2nd, we spoke about our free holiday programme, which engages over 300 young people in a variety of free activities; including sport, music and arts.
Using sport as a catalyst, we focussed on using sport to develop volunteering opportunities, such as in the case of Batoul to develop their sense of belonging in their new communities. Providing newly arrived young people with positive experiences in sports has allowed a further 100 young people to move from targeted provision into open-access sessions.
Our Chairman, Dean Kavanagh, said “Using positive activities to create social change is something which we at PYF specialise in. These awards are testament to the power of community programmes and the impact that they have on young people’s lives. We are very proud of the achievements of the young people on our programmes. They have shown determination and incredible resilience to get to where they are. We thank our supporters for enabling these opportunities”
We’re happy to announce another new exciting post with our growing team here at the Positive Youth Foundation. We’re looking for a Youth Engagement Officer (Sport and Physical Activity) to join our dedicated team of youth work staff, supporting a programme designed to engage young people who are referred to us for a range of support needs. The programme will be delivered throughout the day from 9am to 9pm, providing the right person with a fantastic opportunity to engage with a genuine youth development program.
This post is a 30 hour per week post.
For this post, we’re looking for people who can slot right into the team and hit the ground running. As such, we require people who are experienced practitioners, with a proven track record of delivering sports programmes in the community. If you think this sounds like you and you’re up for a challenge, this is your moment. To download the job description for this role, please click the download button below.
For further information, please email us at email@example.com – an application pack will be emailed to you.
Deadlines for applications are 5pm on Friday 21st July.
Our employment support programme, Ambition Coventry, has helped one of our participants, LJ gain employment for the first time!
LJ first attended an interview with McDonalds after hearing John Kiely, local McDonald’s franchisee, speak during our open evening, hearing John speak passionately about what McDonalds can offer young people and his belief in the strength of young people. Both Clifford (a previous beneficiary of the PYF Ambition programme) and LJ attended an interview at this point but unfortunately, only Clifford was successful at this time.
This did not stop LJ, who had since moved into his own home and had started to live independently. LJ was determined to secure employment, working closely with Abu Miah on our Progress sessions and John Kiely, a PYF Champion! Over the course of several weeks, we worked with LJ to increase his awareness of interview skills, develop his CV and to develop his professional skillset.
Through our links with John, LJ was given another chance to impress, and this time, he did! LJ was helped by PYF to apply for the job online before being accepted for an interview at McDonalds in Coventry City Centre.
Abu Miah, youth coach at the Positive Youth Foundation, said “LJ is a keen photographer and worked alongside our marketing and communications officer to gain experience,”
“LJ has worked extremely hard in both the academic and non-academic sessions, trying his upmost best to learn and has become a role model for his peers. I was delighted to hear he gained employment, and I want to wish him all the best on his journey!”
Speaking about our links with John Kiely, Abu said “I’d like to thank John, he doesn’t give up on young people and always sees the good in them” and we couldn’t agree more.
LJ is a prime example of what working hard and accepting help can achieve. By working with us, LJ has overcome a series of barriers to employment, including confidence issues to gaining employment at McDonalds. It’s a fantastic journey for him, and we with LJ all the best in the future during his time at McDonalds.
Ambition Coventry is a youth employment initiative funded through the European Social Fund. It works with anyone aged between 16 and 19 who lives in Coventry and is not in any form of employment, education or training (NEET).
Batoul Erjf isn’t your typical fifteen-year-old. Batoul is resilient, confident and above all else, aspirational.
PYF first met Batoul and her family when they arrived in Coventry as refugees in April 2016.
The Erjf family experienced losing their home and large farming business due to bombings, along with the trauma of their father becoming disabled and being separated from each other, unexpectedly reuniting months later in Lebanon and seeking refuge in the UK.
Batoul and her brothers; Abdullah, Mustafa and Muahaned all began to attend our Involved Hub, a session designed for newly arrived young people to learn conversational English, develop confidence and start to integrate within their local communities. The Erjf family attended every single week and we soon saw a huge improvement in their English language abilities along with their confidence.
Batoul had been out of formal education from the age of eleven in Syria but when coming to the UK was placed straight in to year ten to complete her GCSE’s. For a lot of young people, the pressure of GCSE’s is overwhelming, however Batoul is taking it all in her stride, with aspirations of a future at Cambridge University to study medicine.
Seeing this passion for learning and development of confidence, PYF offered the Erjf’s an opportunity to increase their skill sets and achieve recognised qualifications. Batoul and her brothers have now completed their Level 1 Sports Leaders Award increasing skills around organisation, planning, communication and teamwork through the medium of sport.
Once completing this award, Batoul’s ambitions turned achieving the Level 3 Sports Leaders Award which is working at a level equivalent to A Level with the addition of 16 UCAS points toward her future University application and alongside thirty hours of volunteering.
“English is your key to a better life in the UK, don’t be shy or scared to practice, just keep practicing.”
Batoul’s high energy and bold approach to volunteering shows such commitment and maturity that staff at PYF are always pleased to have her on board with the team when delivering sessions. Batoul has become essential when working with other newly arrived young people, empowering them through discussing her own experiences and also not taking no for an answer! Batoul is authoritative when it comes to encouraging people to practice their English speaking, presenting at a City Council welcome event for families who had only been in the country for four weeks that “English is your key to a better life in the UK, don’t be shy or scared to practice, just keep practicing.”
Batoul and her family have become such a part of Positive Youth Foundation that they are engaged in programmes across the entire organisation. Batoul even completed her secondary school work experience with us, completing a whole week of tasks including supporting session delivery in other schools and our across our community programmes, with some office admin tasks thrown in!
We can’t put into words how proud we are of Batoul and her brothers. They have achieved so much more than formal qualifications, they have also gained valuable, transferrable life skills, all supported wholeheartedly by their very humble parents. We have had the pleasure to be welcomed into the family home for a home cooked breakfast, discussing all things related to their move into Coventry. The Erjf family exude warmth and are active members of Coventry’s vibrant, multi-cultural community.
We are looking forward to the future, watching Batoul and her family progress and achieve.
Next up, a residential trip to the Isle of Wight for four days of activities and volunteering across the island with thirty other young people from across Coventry. When talking of their hopes and fears of the trip, Batoul exclaimed confidently “I am fearless, I just want to make new friends and have fun!”
In recent years, the club have turned their focus towards developing their youth structure, aiming to get more young people into the sport. Through the clubs links with the Positive Youth Foundation, the organisations forged an exciting partnership to increase the amount of young people taking part in sports, both at St. Finbarrs and across the city.
Dean Kavanagh, Chairman of the Positive Youth Foundation said that the sponsorship represented an opportunity to embed the sport across Coventry.
“It’s fantastic to see Positive Youth Foundation collaborating closely with St Finbarrs, who play a key part in the development of Gaelic Football in Coventry and have been the heart and soul of the community for many decades,” said Dean.
Although Gaelic Football originated as a national Irish sport, it is wonderful to see how many young people from non-Irish backgrounds and cultures have taken to the game,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for our young people to continue developing their physical and social skills and keep active all year round. We our thoroughly looking forward to continuing this new partnership.”
Danny Coleman, Chairman of St. Finbarr’s, echoed the thoughts of Dean, noting that the partnership with the Positive Youth Foundation represents a chance to get more people involved in Gaelic Football.
“Our new relationship with the Positive Youth Foundation is exciting as we look to engage both families and young people to not only get involved in Gaelic Football but to also become part of the club and community as a whole,” he said.
There are several age groups for young people wanting to get involved in Gaelic Football, starting from under 8’s, which aims to introduce children as young as 6 to the game. Leagues and tournament settings are played every Saturday over the Summer months.
As part of the ‘Routes to Ambition’ programme, The Positive Youth Foundation are looking for a Creative Programmes Co-ordinator to lead on our offer to young people who are in need of additional support in relation to their personal, emotional and social wellbeing.
The successful candidate will be a highly-focussed creative industry-related professional with extensive knowledge of how creative programmes such as music, art and performance opportunities can create positive outcomes for young people across Coventry. With at least 3 years’ experience in similar programmes, the successful candidate will have knowledge of local opportunities, including; a detailed understanding of the local creative context, practitioners and relevant partners we would need to work with to maximise opportunities for young people. You will also have experience of delivering medium to large-scale events and performances, as we seek to celebrate the achievements of young people.
Working across community venues, the role will be highly focussed in finding solutions to challenges faced by young people.
This is a full-time position, fixed term until December 2019. This will really allow you to make a difference and watch young people you support flourish.
The task ahead will not be without challenges, so we want a highly motivated, driven, resilient and charismatic person!
Salary band: £18,500-£21,500
Application Deadline: 31st July 2017.
Further information/application packs available by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Routes to Ambition is part funded by the European Social Fund and has been designed to give disengaged young people in Coventry the boost they need to be able to fulfil their potential. Young people will benefit from high quality support to help them into education, training and jobs.
Routes to Ambition will support at least 1,045 Coventry residents who are over the age of 15 and currently at risk of becoming disengaged from education, training or employment. 60% of participants will come from priority wards.
Routes to Ambition brings together 5 partners, each with extensive experience and expertise of supporting young people who require more individualised and intensive support.