17 May 2017

Join the Active Inclusion Fund in celebrating some of the true success stories of Active Inclusion funded projects Europe Day 2017.

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Europe Day held on 9 May every year celebrates peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historical 'Schuman declaration'. At a speech in Paris in 1950, Robert Schuman, the then French foreign minister, set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe's nations unthinkable. Aside from peace and unity, on 9th May, we celebrated the impact of Europe a little closer to home - our very own Active Inclusion Fund.

Over a year since the launch of the Active Inclusion Fund we want to take some time to celebrate some of the amazing achievements of the projects and participants which the fund is in place to support. We also want to highlight some exciting changes which the fund is going through which will make it easier for even more people to access it.

The fund, which has been awarded to WCVA by the European Social Fund through Welsh Government, is there to help people from across Wales to release their potential through different types of activities which can help improve their skills and move them back towards employment.

We would like you to join us to look back, reflect on and celebrate some of the true success stories of Active Inclusion funded projects:

Chris and Volunteering Matters

Chris Volunteering Matters

Chris aged 21, from Torfaen had been unemployed since he left education. His attendance at school was very limited due to personal issues and he experienced heavy involvement from social services and the care system with the family.

Following a custodial sentence and paired with regular drug use, Chris was stuck in a cycle and believed his life was spiralling out of control. He couldn't help but feel like he was being haunted by past mistakes. This was until he became settled in a stable relationship. Stability and insight gave Chris the impetus to embark on a journey that would change his life for the good.

Chris joined the Active Inclusion funded Activ8 project in December 2016. Building on his strengths, Chris felt he was a practical person and wanted to get a trade experience. He engaged enthusiastically on the project and through confidence building sessions, meeting with his peers and undertaking activities like C.V building and dyslexia assessment, he felt he took a great leap in the right direction to improving his life. Chris found this support invaluable as it helped to keep him busy and out of trouble. Chris knows that he will have good and bad days ahead of him but strongly believes that for the first time he feels really positive about himself and for his future.

Chris was supported to achieve his CSCS card and is now in employment. Activ8 has helped to build a sense of self-worth and confidence. Chris remarked; 'I now see that to keep trying and being positive helps me in my future plans. It matters to me to change my life and through tailored support from the project I can achieve this.'

Sophia and Swansea YMCA

Sophia YMCA Swansea

Sophia joined Swansea YMCA as a young carer. She had spent all of her child hood caring for both her disabled mother and grandmother. Despite her difficulties growing up whilst caring for family members, Sophia was determined to make something of herself and help others who have experienced similar situations. With the support of YMCA the Active Inclusion Fund, Sophia is well on her way to achieving her goals!

Inspiringly, Sophia home schooled herself and has quite the array of qualifications and achievements. However, keeping on top of her education and caring responsibilities meant she didn't have the same opportunities as other people her age to make friends, socialise, bond with peers and develop social and emotional skills. This ultimately had an effect on Sophia's mental health resulting in social anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

In October 2016, Sophia joined the Y Engage Youth project and began exercising and working on her diet, even gaining an accredited qualification in 'Understanding the importance of a balanced diet and regular exercise'. Her newfound interests gave her the opportunity to experience new social circles including the health and fitness staff at Swansea YMCA. With this under belt and her mission to share her story with others to raise awareness of children's and young people's mental health, in December 2016, Sophia engaged on a new project (also funded by the Active Inclusion Fund) and began a placement with the young carer's team as a support worker. Through her determination and passion for helping others, Sophia demonstrated that she was an invaluable member of the team and was successful in securing continued employment with Swansea YMCA.

Sophia's 8 month journey from being a young carer to a youth worker is an inspirational one but her ambition doesn't stop there. Thanks to the support of Swansea YMCA, European funding and her sheer determination to help herself and others, she is now looking at other courses and qualifications to broaden her horizons even more.


Really Pro's Bounceback project 

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We think it is really important for people to tell their own stories so people can really see the difference being made to people's lives across Wales. Please take some time today to watch the  inspirational story of Helen, Nick, Franco and Amanda whose lives have drastically changed thanks to the intervention and support of the Bounce Back project.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppZaZ1AomN8 

We want to help more people just like the ones highlighted here today and to do that the fund is undergoing a few changes. This is an exciting time for the fund as rounds will become more flexible, organisations will be able to apply for larger projects and boundaries will become less rigid meaning more organisations are able to apply and help individuals improve their lives and truly make a difference.

We cannot do this on our own and need organisations from across Wales to get involved and help make a difference. We would love to hear from any organisation who thinks they might want to get involved and will provide as much support as we can to help you help those who are most in need.

Please get in touch with us today to find out more about these changes and how you can get involved - activeinclusion@wcva.org.uk 

 

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