Skills for life

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


The project we are requesting support for is “Building Self-Belief in Teenagers Suffering Loss or Bereavement.” It is targeted at vulnerable 13/14-year-old students, in deprived areas, who would benefit from support with dealing with loss or bereavement. At this age, signs of low self-belief are diagnosable, and negative behaviours are not ingrained, so it is the best age to intervene. The reasons are complex, but we have observed that low self-belief is exacerbated by challenges at home, for example, bereavement or parental long-term illness, siblings with disabilities or economic difficulties. Our young people have trouble socialising for a variety of reasons, and our programme is proven to resolve such issues and help young people improve their outlook on life.
It is important to note that 33% of teenagers with an identified mental health problem go on to have mental ill-health issues as adults, and 90% of adults with mental ill-health issues were diagnosable when they were teenagers. Our programme is primarily about enabling people to fulfil their potential by working to address issues at the earliest possible stage.
As part of our programmes the students are empowered to participate in a cultural or community event, selected by them, that is designed to put their new-found confidence into practice and build upon their social skills. Each programme lasts for 12 weeks with 10 participants per group.
We work in liaison with schools in identifying vulnerable students and then work to address their specific needs. The children lead their own learning from a choice of topic areas which affect them, such as ‘making friends’ or ‘building aspirations in life’. For example, during one ‘Girl’s group’, we recognised that low aspiration was an issue. We arranged for women leaders and local business leaders to speak to the girls about their own career paths– the results were inspirational! We have since returned to the school to work with teenage boys suffering bereavement or parents with long-term illness.
What makes us unique is that our outcomes are defined by the specific needs expressed by the young people themselves and that we use Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Score and Rosenberg Self-Esteem measures to evaluate the impact of our work.
Our projects are proving to be a huge success, and if this AVIVA bid is successful, we hope to continue our work supporting young people who are suffering loss and bereavement. The young people that we have supported have demonstrated major improvements in their school attendance, schoolwork, their sociability and aspirations. Not only has this had a positive impact on the participants, it has improved their communication with their parents, guardians and their wider family. In turn, this has had a positive impact across the whole community and many of our participants now have the self-confidence to join local bands, perform to an audience or become young leaders in Guides and Cadets. The sustainability of our programmes is vital and in addition, we also train teachers with the required skills to continue to support the young people in the longer term.
Our programmes are proving to make a difference to the lives of young people and our hope is to continue our success with the support from the AVIVA Community Fund.

Project Video

Building Self-Belief CIO

Moment of Pride

We are proud that our programmes are driven by the young people themselves and that they develop lasting skills to support them in having happy and fulfilling lives. We are proud that young people’s well-being is at the very core of everything we do.

Location: North East, UK