Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

We seek funding to extend and improve our “Path of the Little People” (POLP) programme with young people who have additional support needs (ASN). POLP is a new interpretive trail that has been constructed by staff and young people. Funding will:

• Help this programme attain sustainability
• Pay for the salary of a Project Coordinator for 2018, a position currently funded by BBC Children in Need
• Solidify the educational component of POLP
• Purchase basic “fairy” equipment, tool kits and “inspiration kits” for the young people to engage in the building process prior to arrival
• Ensure a strong outreach component through the funding of travel costs and the development of educational materials
• Augment POLP

Grant-funded travel expenses will empower the Coordinator to conduct numerous pre-site visits to ASN units and groups over the next year. These visits and the teaching of hands-on learning activities are crucial in the preparation of young people for their on-site visits at Wiston. The “inspiration kit” will help teach young people about POLP and the “tool kit” the coordinator leaves each class will help YP on their personal journeys.

Funding helps us purchase “aesthetic items” (i.e. habitat globes) that allow young people to improve POLP with their own creations (i.e. painting fairy home doors). It would also pay for new projects that would benefit Autistic (ASD) visitors such as a stepping stone course, a giant “sorting area” and delineation arches.

Importantly, the project involves the participants’ enjoyment of the resource. Grant-supported activities include: music, wood-working, nature appreciation, woodland management and theatre/interpretation. Funding would allow us to organise 24 historic/folkloric-themed activities with the young people like battles, adventures and treasure “quests.”

We teach programme participants core “life skills” (such as team-building, reliability and communication) through focusing on their Personal, Social and Emotional Development. Additionally, by inviting young people to take ownership over the project, we teach them to take pride in themselves, enhancing their self-esteem and confidence. According to one recent POLP participant: “Wiston Lodge has showed me that I can be better than I think I am, which is something I hope I never forget.”

Our programme addresses three challenges within our community: 1) a lack of autism-friendly outdoor activities in Upper Clydesdale, 2) increased negative destination rates for school leavers and 3) a dearth of resources for local families.

1) Autism-friendly Activities- There is a regional need for more coordinated autism-friendly outdoor activities. Over the last decade we have seen increased numbers of young people with ASD attending our courses. Young people with autism support groups such as Kear Campus and Cathkin Support Unit have successfully engaged in programme work on POLP. Many of them interact with others more positively while here. We strive to improve our visitors’ cognitive abilities, social communication and social awareness. All participants can then use these newly acquired skills in their lives, thus benefiting themselves, their families and their friends.

2) Negative Destination Rates- Many school leavers fail to attain positive destination rates. (The Scottish Government describes a "positive destination rate" as a job, further education or training.) S. Lanarkshire is the sixth worst region in Scotland (out of 32 council districts) when it comes to young people’s attainment of positive destination rates. Our POLP work with individuals can help them attain positive destinations.

3) Scarce Resources- According to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, South Lanarkshire has higher levels of income deprivation and employment deprivation than "those in Scotland as a whole" (18 December, 2012). Families need high quality resources for their children and POLP helps meet that need.

Wiston Lodge

Moment of Pride

We are so proud of our determined, joyful young people for making POLP a reality. To date they have constructed 700 metres of trail and helped us design and install several units including several giant musical instruments, an "earth-keeper's hut, "a Viking longship and many fairy homes.

Location: United Kingdom