The programme is WeMindTheGap’s response to the pandemic. Using all the lessons we have learnt from running face-to-face programmes for vulnerable young people across North Wales and Manchester over the past six years, it is designed for young people who might be feeling socially isolated and anxious due to the impact of COVID on their lives.
Our pilot WeDiscover programme, run in North Wales in Autumn 2020, resulted in young people taking control of their young lives and making plans and moving forward, all while gaining a traineeship qualification and earning money. Every day brought another story. For example: two brothers left their home for the first time in eight months as a result of new-found confidence; a local agency was delighted that we managed to engage with a young person that they failed to engage with themselves; and a homeless lad is now enrolled at college and has a laptop loan.
We’re delighted to say that The Westminster Foundation were impressed by our WeDiscover outcomes, and are now funding ‘WeDiscover Chester & Ellesmere Port’ throughout Spring 2021, bringing this unique opportunity to 50 more young people at this difficult time.
Through WeDiscover young participants take part in a variety of online activities and one-to-one virtual coaching sessions so that they can equip themselves with the skills and confidence to build their immediate resilience and sense of wellbeing, create a meaningful action plan for their future and seek employment or education opportunities. This is achieved through participation in fun, meaningful, relevant workshops developing life and work skills, meeting guest speakers and role models who inspire and share their stories, having support with Maths and English, and of course the use of a laptop and data to ensure access for all. What makes WeDiscover so very impactful is that every young participant has their own mentor: someone who encourages their participation in the first place, supports them throughout the programme, and then maintains that support in the crucial weeks following the programme so that they do take those vital first steps towards realising the plans they have made.
Laura Columbine, WeDiscover Project Lead says,
We created WeDiscover as we know there’s a lot of young people feeling isolated due to the pandemic and unsure of what to do next. We’ve already completed one programme and it was a huge success – the young people gained loads of confidence, made friends, learnt new skills, and even said they’d found the course to be a ‘proper banger’. We’re so pleased to have this funding to bring this opportunity to help young people in a new community who may be feeling locked down, hopeless and bored in the current situation. Thank you Westminster Foundation for this opportunity.
Caroline da Cunha from the Westminster Foundation says,
With the current state of flux and disruption, it’s so important to help young people build a positive future for themselves. We’re proud to support the WeDiscover programme, which provides an excellent mix of practical and motivational education, inspiring participants to confidently plan their next steps.