As the end of another school year approaches, we have been reflecting on the past 11 months in which we have helped support 45 young people from schools across Wolverhampton.
We have been involved in a range of exciting and positive activities for all our young people to take part in, from appearing on BBC news for Mental Health Awareness week, to raising over £200 for different charitable causes. At Switch nurturing a young persons’ emotional and social well-being through early intervention, mentoring and support is our primary focus and we strongly believe that through positive experiences and relationships they can have far more success in the school environment.
We often have a challenging, but rewarding, job at Switch and are delighted as always with the contribution we make to young people in Wolverhampton and celebrating their achievements.
We were thrilled when BBC England came to visit The Switch Project as part of their Mental Health Awareness Week coverage in May. They spent the morning with us and our young people, filming one of our activities,interviewing the young people and publishing it on their news website. It was fantastic for our young people to speak on camera about their feelings and we were really proud of everyone involved.
You can watch the video via the BBC website by clicking on the link below
Chloe, Millie, Amit and Tyler taking part in the BBC News video for Mental Health Awareness Week
Therapeutic Intervention Service
Our partnership with psychology practitioner Helen Pitchford has continued to go from strength to strength as she has been with us all year offering therapeutic interventions to our young people.
Helen joins us from Reach Psychology and has delivered interventions, advice and guidance on a 1:1 and group basis. Working holistically, Helen listens to the needs of the young person and provides them with the tools to allow for self-reflection, especially around areas of anxiety and stress, low self-esteem, trauma, bereavement, behaviour difficulties and school exclusion.
Helen specialises in using techniques such as art therapy and Lego BuildToExpress which helps engage young people and opens up a dialogue with them about the challenges they face at home, in school or socially. This means we can then better target the type of support they might need in the future.
Providing Valuable Skills
The Spring term saw us link-up with ACE Drug Training to deliver a workshop that gave our young people an opportunity to learn about substance misuse and the effects of drugs and alcohol on their bodies.
Covering subjects such as this is vitally important for all young people, but especially for those who are already vulnerable and often find themselves on the margins of the school environment.
Each year we feel it is vital that the young people learn about the importance of charitable work and how it helps others, then organise and take part in a charitable event of their choosing.
In October the young people took part in a sponsored walk for charity. The young people chose the charity MIND, a national mental health charity and walked 10 miles to raise money. It was great to see the young people take part in something so positive and they were all thrilled to complete the walk – if not a little tired by the end of it!
In November we ran our own Great Switch Bake Off in aid of BBC Children in Need. Staff and students took part in baking a range of cakes and all the money raised from sponsorship and selling the cakes to friends and family went to the charity.
This year our young people have raised an amazing combined total of£220.62 for BBC Children in Need, MIND Charity and Lennox Children’s Cancer Charity.
Welcoming our newest staff member
This year we have decided to employ an Apprentice Youth Mentor to begin work with us in the next academic year.
We are delighted that Tori Povey has accepted our offer of an apprenticeship and will be working with us, whilst also studying towards a Level 2 qualification in Youth Work at Wolverhampton College.
Tori attended Switch in early 2017 and her motivation, independence and ability to help others meant that when Tori contacted us to volunteer after completing her GCSEs, we jumped at the chance to have her on board and part of the team on a longer term basis.
Not only will Tori bring to Switch a unique understanding of what it is like to use our service, but her enthusiasm and ability to relate with other young people will be a huge asset to Switch next year.
A Parent’s View of Switch
“I wanted to let you know that K has done amazingly well at school. He has applied to study A-Levels as he’s settled in so well. He is attending after school revision classes and goes into school on Saturdays to get more revision done. All of this has been his choice, as he wants to do well.
He’s so much happier and surrounded by friends who have high aspirations and have a positive outlook on life.
Thank you and everyone at Switch for giving K the support and space that he needed to regroup and start again. Without Switch he wouldn’t have developed the space and skills to regroup. He was very unhappy at that time and he didn’t really know why.
I appreciate everything that you have done for K. He picked up on the calm way that you and the team handled situations and his manner of dealing with conflict has remained much calmer since.
He said recently that he didn’t appreciate a lot of things at the time, but he’s developed a new appreciation of what he does have.”
Ms Jones, Parent, Wolverhampton.
In December we took the young people to volunteer at the annual Heath Town Senior Citizens Christmas dinner. It was a fantastic experience for the young people to contribute to such an important and valuable community project. Both the young people and the senior citizens enjoyed their afternoon and everyone got into the Christmas spirit… even the Switch staff!
If you want any more information about our projects or services for schools and young people, please do not hesitate to get in touch by visiting our website www.theswitchproject.com, calling our office on (01902) 552288 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org