In October half-term holidays, Aston-Mansfield, piloted an exciting new ‘Transitional Youth Project’

The pilot has started working with the children who are leaving Little Manor provision at the end of year 7 but who may not feel ready, or are too young, for some of the other youth projects out there. In consultation with parents and young people we planned one day out of the centre doing a fun trip and one day in the centre, looking at life-skills and citizenship.

The two-day programme started at 10am (we thought they may like a lie in), with air hockey, pool and general ‘hanging-out’. Then we were off for our inaugural Transitional Youth trip to Bunker 51 for a spot of indoor paint balling. The last game of paintball required the children to elect a President to be protected by one team and attacked by the other. The president didn’t seem to get much protection! We saw her afterwards, she had paint everywhere! We cooled down at with a visit to the Shake Shack for milkshakes or ice cream and a crack at their table tennis and table football before making our way back to the Froud Centre to finish off the day. A good start to the project and to developing a good group dynamic.

Day two started with some IT, games and music, after this however we put them to work: they were asked to consider how the programme will work and what activities they may like to do, both based at the Froud Centre and trips. We asked them to let loose their imaginations and try to think outside the box. This involved online research and working cost of materials or travel, how we get there if we are going out, how long it would take to get there. One idea we’re excited about is a MasterChef competition at the Froud Centre. After lunch we played table tennis, football, basketball and gymnastics before coming together for some team building games.

After this we had a discussion about what the rules and ethos of the project should be, this was decided by the young people in partnership with staff. We discussed whether mobile phones should be allowed, whether to bring packed lunch or have money to buy food, and should they be able to leave the project to visit a shop. The aim was to establish a code of conduct that we’d all signed up to and which the participants had agreed upon themselves. Time to replenish ourselves after all that thinking: we were let loose in the kitchen where waffles, cream and Maple syrup was the order of the day.

Finally we got them to start thinking about fundraising for the ongoing project and how they might thank someone who had donated to the project – this is a work in progress so watch this space for more information – but the ideas were very interesting so if you know anyone looking to donate to the project send them our way as they’ll get some really creative thank-yous!

We had a brilliant two days piloting this project, whose aim is to start building responsibility and independent living skills into our young people as well as a sense of citizenship, whilst having fun, making friends and trying new things. We’re really pleased with how it went and cant wait to get planning the next Transitional Youth project sessions. Watch this space!!