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URPotential Award Winners

URPotential are thrilled to have been awarded the Wyre Civil Society of the Year Award. Our Fantastic staff & volunteers work closely with Wyre Council, High Schools, Community associations and other organisations to privide a much needed service to young people and adults in Wyre. This award recognises all their efforts and achievements and will enable us to continue and build on the hard work we already do!

URPotential, the Grand Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company

What an amazing experience our LGBT Coordinator recently had on a trip to the Barbican Theatre in London to watch Romeo and Juliet. This marvellous opportunity was provided by The Grand Theatre Blackpool who we are working with to provide opportunities for young people to experience the arts on another level and gain accreditations. The performance by The Royal Shakespeare Company truly brought the play into the 21st century with energy, style with a few new spins to reflect modern society. Many of the cast were young, there was plenty of diversity, and everyone spoke their lines in what appeared to be their personal genuine accents of Yorkshire, Scotland, London, Ireland and beyond. There was some nice touches around gender and sexuality in that Romeo’s male best friend had a crush on him, and a traditionally male character was played by a female actor.  Phill Fairhurst from The Grand provided great company on the trip and we got to meet and speak to the cast during the after party about URPotentials LGBT young peoples’ future involvement with the Royal Shakespeare Company and their visit to The Grand Theatre next year.

It’s all about YOU-th Summit

 

During the evening of 14th November 2018, Blackpool Youth Council held their annual youth summit, this is where the top 3 issues from the national Make your Mark campaign were discussed. These issues were voted for by Blackpool young people, which were Mental health, Put an end to Knife Crime and A Curriculum to Prepare us for Life.

Mental Health was an issue that the young people felt strongly about. Young people from the audience questioned about exam stress, the general points were made that the exams can’t change in terms of content however the resources available can be provided and services can be changed to help support younger children during this period. Another point that was made was the resilience levels and how it should be taught in schools/colleges and how to sign post if needs be. Factors that affect mental health in schools and colleges especially during exam periods were due to cost as the panel members stated it is more cost effective to have exam halls rather than one to ones. An issue that was also raised about mental health, the stigma is still present and schools have a lack of knowledge around supporting young people with mental health, the panel suggested away to reduce the stigma by using different language rather than using more academic words for example using Mental Wealth rather than Mental health. Lancashire Police in particular highlighted they are working to talk more openly about Mental Health, and are encouraging the workforce to be more open about difficulties It was highlighted that there was a lack of knowledge about support services to help young people deal with their mental wellbeing.

An extra topic discussed was based around asking the panel about why LGBT young people feature so highly in suicide and homelessness statistics and what is being done to address it. The panel highlighted the work done by the voluntary sector such as URPotential are doing. The program Stacey Dooley did around homelessness in Blackpool/Manchester was discussed, with the good work by Streetlife being highlighted, however this is only a temporary solution with only eight beds, so there needs to be more support in Blackpool. There was a discussion around where is the safest place for young people to go, as home may not always be a safe place to return. The police acknowledge previously they may have sought to take young people home to family but now listening to young people and asking where they feel safe. The importance of relationships being highlighted. Young people should feel supported to identify people they feel comfortable to talk to.

The discussion around knife crime revealed that knives and other offensive weapons are being carried by young people, undetected. Recorded knife crime in Blackpool however, is very low compared to other areas across the country, with the police stating stats show 1 person under 18 years of age being the victim of knife crime in Blackpool since January 2018. Young people said that many people felt unsafe living in Blackpool and that a feeling of safety and protection was a primary cause of knife possession. There was also a consensus that knife crime should be a topic that schools should educate their students upon. The panel were also surprised when the question was put to the audience regarding how many people knew someone who carried a knife, with around ¾ of the room raising their hand.

Curriculum for life was a point of discussion where it was discussed about the lack of knowledge people have about basic life necessities for example how to cook and iron. A questionnaire was given out to all young people on the night asking if they agreed with the topics of Curriculum for Life and if these were of the same importance. Additionally, it was asked if the topics were currently being taught already, and where from. From this Blackpool Youth Council are planning to work with local young people to design a Curriculum for life package that school can adopt.

                            

Make Your Mark 2018 – Blackpool – Final Results

Make Your Mark, the annual national ballot of all young people aged 11-18 took place from August to October this year. 7147 young people from Blackpool made their voices heard by voting on the issue that they felt most passionate about. The 10 possible issues were: Mental Health; End Period Poverty; Votes at 16; End Knife Crime; Curriculum for Life; Support Youth Services; Equal Pay, Equal Work; Homelessness; Transport; Welcome Refugees. The issue that Blackpool’s young people voted as their top priority was ‘Mental Health’ which received 14.9% (1066 votes) of total ballots. ‘End Knife Crime’ was second with 13.3% (954 votes) and in third was ‘Curriculum for Life’ with 13.1% (934 votes).

‘Mental Health’ has now been the top issue in Blackpool for 2 years in a row, being the top issue in 2017 as well.

Blackpool Youth Council will work with schools, colleges, youth groups, Blackpool Council and other local organisations in order to help raise awareness on these issues, allowing Blackpool to become a better town for young people to live, learn and work.

The starting point for developing our strategy for these issues is holding our annual Youth Summit which for this Make Your Mark cycle will be held at The Oracle, St. Anne’s Rd. on Wednesday 14th November 2018 at 6pm. Our Youth Summit is open to the public whereby young people can question a panel of professionals and decision makers on the top issues raised in Make Your Mark.

Each vote cast is one young person making their voice heard to change their lives and their town for the better. We would like to thank every organisation and young person that took part in this important vote to change the lives of the young people in our town.

If you would like to find out more about Blackpool Youth Council, find out more about our Youth Summit and engage with our campaigns to represent and empower Blackpool’s young people, contact myself (Connor Danson, Chair of Blackpool Youth Council) at: dmyp@blackpoolyc.org

Social Media links:

@blackpoolyc (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook)

Website:

blackpoolyc.org

        

Thursday 25th October, Lightpool

URP art group, LGBT group and BBO participants got together to take part in Blackpool’s annual Lightpool Festival.

Thousands of people lined the trams lines and gathered on the comedy carpet to take part in the free family event.

The art group made huge glow in the dark letters that read BLACKPOOL as they paraded down the tram lines from Central Pier to the Comedy Carpet.

The LGBT group followed behind them with their banner and decorated their faces in glow in the dark paint.

The BBO participants and manager supported Phil and Alex the directors of the Lightpool event. Wayne Harrison in particular shone on the night and continued to support the festival on Friday and Saturday.

World Mental Health Day 2018

What are we doing to support the community with mental health?

#WorldMentalHealthDay

Here at URPotential we are supporting people on a daily basis who face struggles with their mental health, we believe that it is important to support people into positive activities that gain them skills, improve their confidence and self-esteem and give them a sense of belonging. We do this through are many projects

Youth volunteering, we support young people aged 10-25 years into volunteering or social action projects. Are aim is to support young people with additional needs and emotional health and wellbeing to allow them to access the same opportunities as other young people and grow as individuals. We believe all young people should have access to the same opportunities as each other.

Youth groups, inclusive social action groups, open to all young people. They create a safe space for young people to be themselves, make new friends, and engage in positive activities. The groups also campaign around issues they feel passionate about to instigate change and improve lives of other young people. Our LGBT workers also offer 1:1 support for young people. LGBT also have a Family support group to support family members of young people accessing URPotential.

Adult BBO projects, supporting people from 16-65+ who have multiple barriers that are preventing them from getting back into employment, training or volunteering. These projects support individuals to access valuable support that they require to improve their lives, mental health and opportunities.

Training, we support the community to access courses that can enhance their CV’s, improving job prospects for individuals. We also train young people and adults as peer mentors or befrienders so they can support other people into positive activities that will improve their mental health.

The team will try their best to support the community in any way they can, whether that is accessing support from ourselves or whether we sign post individuals to the appropriate service, we will always be willing to help.

Linda appointed Director of SELNET Board

Linda Markey Director of URPotential has been appointed as Director to the SELNET Board.  The Chair of the Board Graham Jones warmly welcomed Linda to the Board to work alongside existing Directors and two other new Directors appointed at the Annual General Meeting.

Linda stated that ‘she is looking forward to working with her partner VCFS organisations to develop the sector in a time of uncertainty with Brexit looming but with confidence in the ability of the Board and partners to influence and lobby for change’.

LGB&T Rainbow Playground Event – August 2018

                             

 

In August URPotential took a group of 7 young LGBT people to Manchester to attend the Rainbow Playground Youth Pride event run by the Proud Trust.

The day consisted of workshops, live performances, demonstrations and sports activates along with an autism friendly area and a quite zone. Young people took part in the workshops around the idea of what would a superhero look like if it represented you, mindfulness sessions, yoga, a musical performance, and a live performance of ‘Sexxes’, faith in yourself and body euphoria workshops, along with competitions on the climbing wall.

Young people really enjoyed the climbing wall which enabled young people to support others to overcome fears and to help them climb the wall when they were struggling.  The day was full of activities and had a wonderful positive atmosphere it was all about the young people celebrating who they were. The day drew to a close in the theatre with young people performing poems, songs and showing off their talents, with a movie of the day to end on.

 

ReachIT Digital Inclusion Project

The ReachIT Digital Inclusion Project is helping residents of Lancashire through the Building Better Opportunities funding that supports projects in England to tackle poverty and promote social inclusion. It is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.  

URPotential has been marketing and promoting the vast benefits of the Reach IT Project since January 2018 and this has certainly paid off.

Weekly IT training sessions have taken place at URPotential enabling the future Digital Champions to complete the necessary modules on Learn My Way.

In May 2018 the first one of the URPotential participants went through the second phase of the Digital Champion training.  Another two attended the second phase of training in July and there are twenty who are now ready to attend the final part of the training in September.  URPotential has been the first partner to deliver the second phase of the Digital Champion training from their offices.

One of the Digital Champions is now using this rewarding volunteering opportunity and is running successful IT Drop-ins three times per week at other organisation locations and charities across Blackpool and the Fylde coast and another Digital Champion has just started running a drop in once a week at Revoelution in Blackpool.   

URPotential is delivering five IT drop-ins per week (one every day of the week) across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre. This is promoting Reach IT and also providing the volunteers with the opportunity to run their sessions and also to recruit future eligible volunteers for the Reach project. This is also providing the residents of Lancashire with IT support making them more confident about using digital technologies, helping to improve their IT and online skills and ultimately support them towards achieving their goals of volunteering and employment.

URPotential has attended the partnership meeting during this quarter and has made links with Disability First and Fylde CAB office providing each other with communication and support.

Going forward and judging by the first few participants’ commitment to their volunteering at the successful IT drop-ins they have been delivering, this project has the potential to be a very sustainable role for the future.

For further details on the ReachIT Project or the daily IT drop-ins please contact Jolene on 01253 344398 or email jolene@urpotential.co.uk

Fitter Fylde Coast

Dancing on Ice star Daniel Whiston has urged people across the Fylde coast to join him to break a Guinness World Record and promote a ‘fitter Fylde coast’ this summer.

People across the area have been encouraged to bring their children and families to Lytham Festival’s main arena on Lytham Green on the morning of Saturday 21 July to help break the record for the most people exercising to a fitness video. The current record, set in China, stands at 4,814 people.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TO THE EVENT

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