29 Mar 2018

With backing from the Active Inclusion Fund, CBSA is helping young people in Carmarthenshire to find their feet by giving them the support and motivation they need to enter paid employment opportunities in a field that reflects their interests and aspirations. Read how the project has supported Shannon Campbell, a 20 year old who felt her life was ‘going nowhere’.

Shannon Campbell is 20 years old and originally from Oban in Scotland. She recently found herself excluded from the benefits system due to a three year sanction and isolated in a Welsh village with no personal transport and poor public transport. Life, in her words, was 'going nowhere'.

She was referred to CBSA's Step Up project by the local Youth Service in December 2017. At the first meeting with the support officers Shannon explained her interest in sport, sports coaching and helping others worse off than herself. In recent years she'd been unemployed and had to drop out of college for personal reasons, and now found herself at such a low ebb that she was willing to do any kind of work placement because she had to start doing something. Anything to start changing her life.

However, during that first meeting it was striking how passionately she talked about her World Cup experience. The most positive event of her recent life was representing Wales in the Homeless World Cup in Oslo, Norway in 2017. This experience clearly made a mark on her and kick started Shannon out of her slumber.

'The reason I want to coach and help people is because, well…..there is nothing better than seeing their wee faces light up! Really it's just so rewarding for me to see others happy, especially if I can be part of the reason for it'.

Taking the lead from this interest in sport and helping others, the Step Up team investigated numerous local possibilities and finally came across a traineeship at Glyn Abbey Golf Course, 3 miles from Shannon's home. Keen to pursue the possibilities with the Step Up project, the Golf Club manager, Martin Lane, insisted that it would only work if the young person was the right person for them and vice versa.

They needed someone who could learn the role quickly, be a team player and get involved in all aspect of the business.  If the placement worked out they were looking for someone who could take course bookings and orders, assist in the gym and eventually take the lead on existing and new projects. In the future there'd also be opportunities to assist with various programs including teaching golf to schoolchildren and people with learning difficulties.

Shannon CBSA

During the interview, Shannon clearly impressed them as someone who'd add value to their business and offered a placement to her with little hesitation. Shannon accepted but was anxious about getting to work by 8am every day in a rural part of Wales, interacting with a completely new group of people, answering the phone to strangers and the expectations on her to learn so much. Given her transport difficulties, the Step Up Project located a refurbished bike for her to get to work and reiterated their belief that she was capable of doing what was being asked of her.

Shannon started her placement and after just two days on the job it was clear to see that she was going to fit it just fine after calling out 'hello' to a member of the Club who responded with 'Hello Shannon, Nice to see you again'.

Four months on and we have it on good authority that Shannon is doing really well on her placement and thriving at the Golf Club - congratulations Shannon!


The Active Inclusion Fund is managed by Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) supported by funding from the European Social Fund.