In April 2015, Care Link West Midlands received a grant award of £1,000 from The Edith M Ellis 1985 Charitable Trust towards its ‘Connecting Young People to Opportunities’ project – a youth club programme to provide a comprehensive support service to young care-leavers from French-speaking African background in Smethwick area, West Midlands.
This project has seen positive results since funding was secured. We are satisfied that the African community in West Midlands know where to go for support. Thanks to this ‘Connecting Young People to Opportunities’ project, 57 care leaver young people aged 18-21 have developed life skills which they needed for their full integration into the community.
In trying to support the young people with their support need Cre Link West Midlands has focused on the needs of young people based on three high level outcomes:
- Vulnerable young French-speaking African refugees leaving foster care to feel less isolated and to have increased mental health and wellbeing. In total, 57 young people have participated in organised activities through the Drop-in centre; 31 young people have reported an improvement in their mental health and wellbeing; 27 young people have stated they feel less isolated as a result of this project.
- Vulnerable young French-speaking African refugees leaving the care system to have improved confidence to engage in employment and training opportunities. A total of 34 young people gained employment as a result of support offered by this projct including self-employment; 23 young people engaged in training opportunities and gained employability skills as a result of the suport offered by the project through the Drop-in centre and work placements; the project has seen 48 young people who have reported an improvement in their confidence including those young people who were receiving 1-2-1 support in the office and not attending the Drop-in centre.
- Vulnerable young French-speaking African refugees leaving the care system to have increased confidence and skills in making positive lifestyle choices within their community. A total of 35 young people have become peer mentors in a voluntary capacity at the end of the year; 48 young people have positively participated in community activities; 32 young people have stated they will not turn to crime as a means of rsolving issues associated with poverty.
The project runs a Drop-in centre (at Holy Trinity Church, Smethwick B67 7AH) every Monday and Wednesday to deliver support activities to young people as well as numerous support services delivered at the office.
The project carried out on a weekly basis an emotional wellbeing surgery for young people for a mental health.
The project also coached young people in job-seeking techniques via the Job Club twice weekly.
City Link runs weekly befriending activities including advocacy, assistance with the compeletion of forms etc.