Seeds4Success (S4S) is a small youth work charity based in South West Wiltshire

The Project
This grant has supported staffing costs for the open access Leisure Credits scheme by paying for a sessional youth worker to supervise sessions during school holiday time, 2 days a week, when young people are not in education and want to be involved in volunteering and training.  There have also been work sessions delivered on alternate Saturdays throughout the year to enhance this offer and this work has been funded through the Blagrave Trust and more recently some funding from Wilton Middle School Education trust has supported this work to enable young people from the Wilton area to access the scheme. Young people from the MTCV scheme (during the first 6 months) as well as other young people engaged in National Citizen Service (NCS) were trained to volunteer as peer leaders on the holiday and weekend project and have passed on their experience and skills to new members of the group throughout the year.

The grant has also helped to pay for the Co-ordinator’s time spent on the Leisure Credit project (around 5 hrs per week) who has provided essential support for volunteers, liaised with local parishes and communities on the work to be undertaken by the young people as well as promotion and administration work.

What you hoped to achieve:

By providing volunteering opportunities based around practical skills young people have been able to take part in activities which increase their chances of gaining paid employment or further training. The Project enables young people to develop a sense of responsibility and commitment to a particular task, motivating them and enhancing their work ethic which is valuable to their future employability. Working together with their peers on the Leisure Credits scheme gives young people valuable experience of working in a team, completing tasks and receiving rewards for their work.

We know from local feedback that by volunteering visibly in the community, relationships between the generations is improved, and young people who may previously have been seen as a problem are more appreciated by the wider community.  The young people themselves also take greater pride in and care for their environment reducing anti-social behaviour.

Results so far:

The work of the Leisure Credits project has often been the most noticeable and recognised piece of youth work in South West Wiltshire and there remains an encouraging response from the local communities in which we work. We have continued to develop very positive relationships and partnerships with local parish councils, the Wiltshire Council Rights of Way team, local footpath groups as well as local residents. These partnerships have provided young people with the experience of meeting and working alongside various different adults as well as their own peers. When working on a footpath in Semley during the summer of 2014 an elderly man spoke to the group and wrote a very moving letter of thanks to the Council about the positive impact the improvements to the footpath had made to his life. This was then featured on BBC Wiltshire when a young person and the elderly gentleman were both interviewed and spoke to each other.

Local communities have been generous in recognising the good work carried out by young people with donations from a number of parish councils as well as some specific individuals making their own personal contribution to the charity following work sessions. This income makes a real difference to the charity as it is put towards the personal development and reward opportunities we offer the young people in return for their hard work. Support at community events has also been a great aspect of this project with young people carrying out roles such as marshals, setting up stalls, assisting with children’s activities and also selling some of their own handy work. These events have enabled young people to gain valuable skills in working with members of the community, leadership, sales and organisation as well as promoting the charity locally and visibly challenging some of the negative stereotypes that exist around young people. When working in a number of communities, in particular Chilmark, Wardour and Bishopstone, at various times over the past 2 years residents have come out to the group and given them refreshments and snacks to thank them for their work. All these kind gestures prove to the young people that the work they are doing is valued and appreciated by the wider community and reinforces the benefits of volunteering to them.

From Jan 2014 to November 2015 92 different young people have been engaged in LC’s of these young people 23 were NEET or at risk of becoming NEET, 19 have SEND and 4 of these are looked after. 62 young people have gained accreditations including ASDAN Environmental Awards, First Aid Certificates, LANTRA Brushcutters Awards, ASDAN leadership awards and V Awards. For some young people, in particular those young people who are not high achievers at school, these qualifications have been significant in helping them gain a place at FE College or a work placement. 14 different communities across South West Wiltshire have benefitted from the work of the Leisure Credits project over the past 2 years.

Grant awarded: