Vulnerable young people in Fife who have a background of experiencing trauma and are not ready for the workplace are to be given support via the launch of an innovative new course.
LinkLiving has been awarded £50,000 by the National Lottery’s Young Start Fund for a new personal development programme, the Steps to Resilience.
The project will see LinkLiving working with specialist health and sports science company, Total Health, to provide a nine-week course for vulnerable young people aged 16 to 24, based at LinkLiving’s bases in Fife, Falkirk and Edinburgh.
Nicky Paton, employability and development co-ordinator, said: “This programme has been developed through the strong belief that these vulnerable young people can be supported to develop greater personal resilience and a range of personal and practical skills they will need to gain future employment.
“Our experience is that these young people often tend to default into unhelpful behaviours when under stress or facing new challenges.”
By intensively supporting young people to develop a greater care for their own well-being, tools for stress-management and to recognise the positive skills and qualities they have, Nicky hopes the course will support them to be ambitious for themselves and turn their dreams for a positive future into a reality.
She continued: “The programme will run for two days per week over nine weeks, finishing with a five-day residential course which will build on what the young people have learned over the preceding weeks.
“We are looking to support 40 young people via the project over two years – ten young people on every nine-week block.
“Securing the funding for this course has been fantastic.
“We are plugging a gap with this project that isn’t available anywhere else.”
Lottery funding will cover the costs of delivering the programme, including all the materials, as well as the residential stay.
The course will cover six main topics – nutrition and exercise, confidence building, self defence, stress management, resilience and mindfulness.
Nicky said LinkLiving will be working with Total Health on the programme.
“For the first topic of nutrition and exercise, the young people will work with Total Health,” she said.
“They will look at what food they are eating, take part in cookery classes and examine their sleep patterns.
“We’ll also be supporting them to build up their confidence and self belief, working with them to show them what they can achieve.
“They have had a lot of people let them down in life and, without support, they can become isolated and pessimistic about new relationships or the worth of trying out new activities and experiences.”
Craig Ali, Total Health founder, and one of his top consultants Bill Paterson will ensure the young people build up physical, mental and emotional resilience – by offering them a variety of activities.
He explained: “We use methods to engage with them such as mindfulness, yoga, nutrition, fitness and self defence. “At the heart of the programme is support to help the young people manage anxiety and stress, understand their behaviour patterns and provide them with insight into their potential.
“We will be using breathing exercises and guided meditations to help them reduce anxiety.
“This will also help them to recognise patterns of thinking and relate this to behaviour. Later in the course, we will then introduce meditations on compassion for self and others.
“This can be difficult for people with challenging backgrounds but it is also a key step to building self-esteem and self acceptance, which is vital with a group like this.”
Exercise will also play a role in the sessions.
“Along with mindfulness techniques, we will take them through fitness and movement sessions each day,” Craig added. “We will vary this with walking outdoors, yoga, strength circuits and very basic self-defence techniques.”
Confidence is the key to change
Michael Fong, employability programme worker, will be co-delivering the Steps to Resilience project. He said: “I enjoy working with young people and seeing the changes in them. They can be quiet to start with but, once they build up their confidence, they become more chatty and outspoken.”
Nicky agreed, saying: “The exciting thing is seeing the changes in the young people from when they first come through the door. This project is about making a difference in these young peoples’ lives.” The course starts on April 14. To find out if there are places still available email firstname.lastname@example.org.