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Last week some of the VVU visited Achieve Thrive Flourish (ATF) and heard all about the Positive Futures project they are currently running in Shoeburyness.

Positive Futures is funded through the VVU Secondary Prevention grant which funds projects that support young people more at risk. Positive Futures is an inspiring eight week course that uncovers the realities and lived experience of destructive choices and explores alternative pathways for success. Across the eight weeks the young people learn about:

  • choices and consequences
  • realities of youth offending
  • overcoming adversity
  • county lines
  • motivation to achieve their dreams
  • strengths and weaknesses
  • being part of a team and reflecting on achievements

At the end of each weekly session the young people learn a new physical skill and interact with the coaches and their peers in a boxing session.

While visiting, we sat in on a session where Ash, one of ATF’s coaches, spoke about his own lived experiences of being involved in county lines and how offending at a young age affected his life.

When Ash told of his experience of being groomed and brought into a gang it was very raw and honest, with every young person in the room clearly engaged and interested in his story.

Following this the young people discussed future career goals and how offending at a young age could affect their future. They discussed positive and negative influences and choosing the right pathway to reach their goals.

Throughout the session the young people became more open, their attitude and willingness to engage completely changed in a positive way and by the end of the session all were interacting with the group and sharing ideas. Over the next six weeks the young people will continue to engage, learn and think about a positive future.

Stuart Long, Founder of ATF said “The work ATF do is really made worthwhile as you can see the change in the young people from week one to week eight. The interactions and conversations they have. You can see the top of the mountain with the hard work they put in.”

The Positive Futures course is a strong, well delivered intervention. The coaches and young people interact really well and have good relationships. The personal story from Ash, and his ability to be open and honest with the young people around him, really engaged them.

We look forward to hearing how the young people got on at the end of the eight-week course. We hope they finish with strong ambitions, a clear idea of how to work towards a positive future and that they have been linked into a range of local activities and are able to engage more with their peers and in their communities.