Working with children and young people is a real passion and focus at Pathway. We know that they really are our future (sorry for the pun!) However, sometimes life circumstances in a family can badly affect them, and their ability to make friends, enjoy positive activities and be confident in trying new things can be affected.
Action Kids is the only service in Pathway that is not solely devoted to supporting victims of domestic and sexual abuse. It was an adventure and a challenge in 2008 to be invited to set up something so different as this service, but thanks to a number of people who helped to shape the service it has flourished into a hugely successful and amazing project.
We need to ensure that we keep bringing in funding to cover the cost of the service and we need your help. Pathway’s funding has been cut by 33% since 2011. That has been a challenge and our focus has had to be with the core services and keeping our organisation going. We are still having to prioritise those life-saving services, but we don’t want to lose sight of the very valuable work that this service provides.
Action Kids is run by Heather Foley, with assistance from Jackie, Harry , Jo and the person who oversees it all – Hayley. We also have assistance from our volunteers and peer mentors who help not only to assist with the youth club but to help mentor the children when they are out on their activities. Action Kids run a 10 week activity programme for each young person in the scheme, which is designed to build their self-esteem, confidence and resilience. As one parent said, ‘D has no real friends and by going on activities it has given him the confidence to mix with other children’.
The young people involved in the programme are encouraged to share their hopes, dreams and aspirations and to build a vision of the things they want to gain. ‘I made new friends and some live by me so we keep in contact’, and ‘My favourite things were spending time with the horses and playing with other children’. Another parent said ‘S now has a group of like-minded friends who accept her for who she is. Action Kids were very understanding of S and her needs.’ Children taken from a world where they were unhappy and isolated and over a short time they become part of a group and feel they ‘belong’.
Every young person taking part becomes one of the team of Action Kids. They help to plan youth club activities and they learn to work together to make the project a success They remember the loneliness of not being accepted and so they work together to make Action Kids a success that welcomes others and makes them feel part of it too. They make Action Kids a great place to be.
Many of our young people have things going on in their lives which can be a barrier to spending time with their peers. Some have caring responsibilities at home, have suffered a bereavement or other life changing event. They may have witnessed domestic abuse, or been hurt by a family break up. Some have conditions which have made life particularly challenging such as ADHD, Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. Whatever their personal challenge, their team challenge is to pull together to make Action Kids a warm, welcoming and exciting environment.
If you could contribute to this work with either a one off gift, or by pledging just £5 a month, we would love to hear from you. This will ensure that another young person’s life is touched by this amazing project. Each one then uses what they have learned to support the next new Action Kid – it is the gift that keeps on giving. Please dig deep today and help us to keep this project going for as long as there are young people out there who need us.