How these unemployed young people turned their lives around on 12-week teambuilding course
For young people not in work or college, it can be difficult to know where to get help to change their lives their better.
But a teambuilding course running across several Suffolk towns is helping youngsters to transform their fortunes at a time when hope may seem lost.
Education charity Inspire Suffolk is running regular Prince's Trust Team Programme courses aimed at helping 16 to 25-year-olds overcome setbacks as depression, learning difficulties and family breakdown.
The three-month course starts off with a boot camp-style element, with a week-long residential trip where participants try daring activities such as rock climbing and abseiling to help boost their confidence.
They then move on to working as a team on a project which will benefit their communities, with the aim of not only helping others but building the future skills they need for the world of work.
The Haverhill group chose to create a sensory garden at Churchill Special School, taking several weeks to plan what they would do before getting their hands dirty creating the garden from scratch.
George Ellis, headteacher of Churchill Special School, said: “Over the time the young people were with us they created a sensory garden for our students.
“Great care was taken to select plants and equipment to enhance the school environment.
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“The pupils at the school have positively commented on the new colour co-ordinated planters and really enjoy the bird feeders which have attracted a variety of birds to the playground.
“Thank you to the group for their hard work supporting members of their community.”
Other teams decided to tidy up a garden area at Quay Place in Ipswich, create a gaming suite for Mencap in Lowestoft and make a new garden area at Sizewell Hall.
The Lowestoft group also held a litter pick to help improve the environment, while the Ipswich group organised for an alpaca to be taken to the Willows Care Home to meet residents.
Yet despite being hard at work helping their communities, the participants also found time to go on work experience as well as get help with CVs and job interview skills, with support provided from organisations like the Flagship Group, NatWest and patrons of Inspire Suffolk.
The most recent groups of students from Stowmarket, Ipswich, Clacton, Lowestoft, Leiston and Haverhill graduated from the course in April, finishing with a presentation to their families and local employers about how the course has benefited them.
But perhaps the best news of all is that many of them have secured jobs, apprenticeships and college courses to help them on the path to a brighter future.
Another set series of Team Programmes in Ipswich, Felixstowe, Lowestoft, Thetford, Colchester and Sudbury in May.
To find out more, visit www.inspiresuffolk.org.uk