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The VVU is pleased to share the success of one of the projects we funded in a community grant round. Motivated Minds in Basildon was awarded just under £20k to run the Well Youth Project – dedicated youth club sessions and wellbeing activities for local young people.

The project included life skills workshops on topics such as staying safe and building positive relationships; sessions with professionals such as Essex police in order to build relationships with local police officers; raising awareness of the Happy Hub (in Basildon town centre) as a safe space for young people to hang out; and therapy and one to one sessions as extra support for vulnerable young people.

Over 12 months, the project worked with 88 young people, giving them a huge number of opportunities to participate in community-based volunteering and try activities including craft, fitness, life skills sessions. They also got to experience activities they may have never done before, for example, the young people planned and presented their own Dragon’s Den and visited the Pantomime.

The sessions at Motivated Minds looked at different themes, giving the young people the chance to talk as a group about subjects such as body image, self love and gratitude. The project recruited five junior motivators and they became regular volunteers at the project providing emotional support and a buddy role to the other children and young people.

The project provide such a positive, warm environment that many of the young people continue to visit outside the regular youth programme. Dropping in to use the sport and game facilities, keeping them off the street and in a safe, warm place. The project also provides hot nutritious meals for both young people and their parents/guardians at the end of the sessions.

The support doesn’t just start and end at the Well Youth Project though, the youth workers are excellent at signposting the young people to other suitable groups and programmes and one of the junior motivators has been introduced to the Active Essex Apprenticeship opportunities scheme.

The project is a welcome resource in the Basildon community. The feedback from the young people and their parents is really positive about the difference it is making to those who attend.

“My daughter went to the panto and comes each week to the youth club. I am really grateful that there is a service like this, that support and understand her autistic needs.”

“It is brilliant… I enjoy speaking to new people and making friends. I especially enjoyed games, arts and crafts.”