'Stepping Up': New Online Transitions Project

We’re pleased to announce that we have been awarded a grant of £26,040 from the Youth Endowment Fund to support young people at-risk of being drawn into violent crime through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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With the funding we will be launching Stepping Up - a new online project to engage Year 6 students who are transitioning from primary to secondary school.

Current year 6 students will be moving up to secondary schools in September without having completed their final year in primary school and without the usual support to prepare them for the move. The transition to new ways of learning, larger schools with increased anonymity and less individual attention, lack of support networks and friendship groups all increase risk factors for vulnerable children. These risks have been heighted during the lockdown, and young people have had a huge gap in their schooling. Through this new programme, we will provide consistency and stability for young people facing these challenges.

The project will support young people who may have English as a second or additional language, have struggled with behaviour at primary shool, have experienced major change (e.g. recently arrived in the borough/country), have experienced bereavement, have found it hard to engage in online learning during lockdown, are not transferring to secondary school with close friends or older siblings.

Our aim is to ease the transition for young people who find this period in their lives overwhelming, confusing, and anxiety-inducing.

The programme will involve online sessions every Saturday exploring key issues such as making friends, personal safety, both online and at school, and personal wellbeing. We will also be providing participants with their own tablet to enable them to get online. Throughout lockdown we found that many of our regular Estate-based Youth Theatre participants struggled to join our online sessions or complete school work as they did not have access to computers or tablets and often had to use a parents smartphone to log in.

We are one of 130 organisations to share part of a £6.5m grant pot from the Youth Endowment Fund to help at-risk young people impacted by COVID-19.

The Youth Endowment Fund is an independent charitable trust set up by the Home Office. It funds, supports and evaluates projects in England and Wales which work to prevent children and young people from being drawn into violent crime.

Jon Yates, Executive Director at Youth Endowment Fund, said:

It has been too easy to forget vulnerable young people during this crisis. The pandemic has removed much of the critical support that many of them rely upon – from teachers to youth workers. This funding will help us find the best way to reach and support these young people when they most need it.

Thanks to this funding, Stepping Up will run for a full year to provide continued support for participants across their first year of secondary school. The project provides opportunities for participants to gain accreditation and, at key milestones, the group will share their work with parents, carers, and if possible, form tutors via online platforms.

When social distancing eases, they will be brought together for trips, and have the chance to get involved in holiday projects and our Youth Board. We hope that, at the end of the programme, participants will move into one of our Estate-based Youth Theatre groups. Sessions will also be supported by our younger Peer Facilitators, aged 15-17, who are still in school themselves and will provide positive role models for participants.

Sessions begin on Saturday 1st August.
For further information on the programme contact Participation Manager Charmain Humphrey on 07525892953 or email charmain@immediate-theatre.com.