FIVE teenage boys in care are getting tailored support to help them become successful, confident individuals because of funding from community minded organisations and individuals.

Cumbria County Council, Whitehaven Town Council, local branches of Unite and GMB Trade Unions and a pledge from County Councillor Mike Hawkins has raised £9,625. We at Brathay Trust have also added funds from our New Beginnings appeal which raised money from 70th anniversary events and a BBC Radio 4 Appeal during 2016.

This means we can provide targeted regular support to the youngsters including, a three day residential at Brathay Hall.

As Jacqueline Wallace, our Cumbria Projects Manager, explained:

“We started with an introductory session at the end of January in Whitehaven. The boys got to find out about the programme and to work together on group activities and games. They also helped us plan what we would do over the coming weeks and months, all aimed at building their trust and confidence. They were able to try new challenges like bouldering and climbing which helped them to explore their strengths and begin to understand how they respond to risk-taking which is what change is about. A session on the water, rafting canoes together, a high ropes course and abseiling allowed them to continue to build and develop trust. Understandably their life experiences means some aspects of these activities are very hard for them.

“Over the last few months we’ve seen a change in the boys. Their confidence has grown, their relationships with their peers have improved and they’ve been given a chance to learn from some very positive experiences. It’s important that we can respond to their very diverse needs so they have the best chance of being successful and happy individuals and what they deserve.

“The funding from these sources will allow us to continue working with them until September. It’s all thanks to some hard work by members of Hensingham Action Group who have brought everyone together.” added Jacqueline.

A spokesperson from Hensingham Action Group said the long term goal was to give the youngsters in care the skills and opportunities to get involved with their community and to be in a position to find employment. The group recognised that young people in care, through no fault of their own, find themselves on the fringes of society and that unlike their peers, who are usually still living at home at 18-years-old, care leavers are having to live independently.

Hensingham Action Group said they had entered into the project with the long term ambition to assist the young people in resetting their values and being in a position to seek out qualifications and work.