In September 2018 People First successfully secured funding from Children in Need for a new three year youth project which operates throughout North and West Cumbria.

Talk-Active supports young people with learning difficulties (aged 10-18) to become better self Advocates, experience success, recognise and demonstrate their strengths and develop key skills and knowledge around 6 areas of life; A healthy life, safe life, expressive life, future life, skills for life and relationships. To achieve these goals we ran/introduced;

Programmes of community based activities: Each activity was linked to a ‘Key Area’ and provided opportunities for young people to gain different experiences, learn, develop skills and meet new people. Activities included Skill Swaps, Multi-Sports, Police visits, Canoeing and Rock Climbing.

Crucial Conversations’ took place at each Talk-Active session and provided young people with an opportunity to express their knowledge, ask questions, share views and opinions.

Workshops: Workshops provided young people with opportunities to learn about a range of topics including mental health awareness, healthy eating and money management. Workshops were ran at educational and youth settings.

Talk-Active Bitesizes: are shortened versions of workshops and provided young people with a brief introduction to a topic.

October 2019 marked the end of the first year of the project. During the year we worked with 140 young people and experienced high levels of success.

Young people became better self advocates and are now more able to express their views opinions and ideas. One member of the group now talks confidently about his future career goals without feeling embarrassed and another spoke about how his brain injury affected his life resulting in a positive discussion around mental health.

Young people experienced success. Young people successfully over came barriers, overcame a fear of wasps and another overcame a fear of heights by climbing to the top of a stepping stone challenge she was so happy and proud she shouted “I did it, I can’t believe I did it” at the top of their voice for everyone to hear.

Young people successfully learned and gained important life skills and knowledge including how to tie a tie, prepare for interviews, make stress balls and to speak in different languages. Young people learned about online safety and how to improve physical and mental health.

Feedback from Youth Work Professional following Talk-Active Workshop: The relationship workshop was really good and feedback from young people has been positive.

Since the workshops young people have continued to ask questions and discuss the topic, demonstrating they learned about and acknowledge the importance of the subject.

The Talk-Active staff member did an excellent job in engaging and involving everyone, we have several young people are on the Autism Spectrum and they would have found this challenging earlier in the year.  We look forward to welcoming Talk-Active back.
Talk-Active took part in ‘Give a Day to your City’, volunteering their skills to a local school. They successfully created a sensory Garden for pupils and received excellent feedback from the school.

Young people are more able to recognise and demonstrate their strengths. Young people demonstrated team work by working together to create the Talk-Active logo and a morning exercise routine. Young people demonstrated their ability to problem solve and overcome barriers by navigating an assault course and young people demonstrated expertise and knowledge by reciting all premier league winners since 1996 whilst another spoke.

Young people told us that being able to demonstrate strengths helped challenge the stigma around people with Learning difficulties and their ability to succeed.

As a result of these activities and workshops, throughout the year, young people developed personal traits such as confidence, self esteem, resilience and independence. This has led to transition to other groups/services and a willingness to challenge themselves in the future.

Quote from young person “Before joining Talk-Active I lacked confidence to talk to new people but through attending activities and meeting new people I am more confident in doing this.”

In November, to celebrate the successes and achievements of the young people and the project Talk-Active are going to the Bendrigg Trust for a day of activities and fun.

Overall the first year of the project has been a great success and we would like to thank all young people, parents/carers, staff and volunteers for their contributions.

Chris – “This year has been a great success and it has been amazing watching young people learn, develop and have fun. We are working hard to ensure the next 2 years of the project are as successful”

Stef – “It has been fantastic to see the progress of the young people I have worked with over the past year. I have had the amazing opportunity to learn from the young people as well as the young people learning from me.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Talk-Active project please get in touch with Chris on 0300 303 8037 or chris.tolley@wearepeoplefirst.co.uk