In 2019 we have funded these five projects -
Fife Young Carers - Residential training and support programme for young carers aged 14 to 18 who look after family members
Community Relations in Schools (CRIS) - Funding for a residential break for cross-community peacebuilding with two Belfast nursery schools
CHICKS - One week respite break for five of the UK’s most disadvantaged children
Masambiro UK - Contribution to the cost of building a new double classroom block at Kunyanja secondary school in Malawi
Re-Cycle - Providing 50 recycled bikes to high-school students in West Africa plus repair and maintenance training to local mechanics
There is more about all of these below -
FIFE YOUNG CARERS
Residential training and support programme for young carers aged 14 to 18 who look after family members
Fife Young Carers has been supporting young carers in Fife’s most deprived areas for over twenty years. These young people look after family members with problems such as long-term illness, mental health challenges, physical or learning disability, sometimes overlaid with drug or alcohol issues. Also in caring for their younger siblings, carers are faced with a wide range of demanding tasks: managing money and ensuring there is adequate medical care, offering emotional support, and providing practical help with domestic chores. Through this young carers often face their own challenges: bullying, social exclusion, poor educational attainment, financial difficulties, along with personal anxiety and low self-esteem.
Working alongside agencies and organisations such as Fife Council and the Carers Trust, Fife Young Carers aims to provide every carer with the same opportunities and experiences enjoyed by their peers. Through workshops, residential courses, day trips and one-to-one sessions, carers are supported with their mental and physical well-being as well as given practical support with the day to day issues they face. Fife Young Carers ran over 700 one-to-one support sessions in 2017/8 as well as group programmes, skill-based workshops and information and advice events. Well over three-quarters of the young adult carers who attended reported increased confidence and improved support, and over 90% of them said they felt better able to cope with their caring roles.
Our £4,815 donation will help to provide a three-day residential training programme for 12 young carers aged 14 to 18 entitled 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. The course ran successfully in 2017 and 2018 and proved so popular that demand has built for further sessions. The programme aims to teach key skills such as taking responsibility, thinking positively, communicating clearly, and looking after one’s own health as well as caring for another person. Above all, individuals who have taken the course find themselves better empowered to take control of their lives and to activate solutions to their problems.
COMMUNITY RELATIONS IN SCHOOLS (CRIS)
Funding for a residential break for cross-community peacebuilding with two Belfast nursery schools
Community Relations in Schools (CRIS) is a peacebuilding educational organisation set up in 1982 to bridge deep community divisions arising from the conflict in Northern Ireland. A leading agent of change, CRIS’s vision has been to shape an inclusive and safe society by supporting schools to engage in building good community relations. Working with pupils, parents and staff, CRIS helps to build capacity in schools by developing curriculum resources, offering direct training, and by facilitating workshops that also include the wider community. CRIS works across all ages in different schools, building durable relationships between different kinds of school. Because local experience of conflict differs so widely, CRIS seeks to ‘start where people are at’, rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all model, and in so doing can begin to bridge the gap between Catholic and Protestant communities.
For 20 years CRIS have worked closely to support cross-community peacebuilding in two Belfast nursery schools, Edenderry and Holy Cross. Both are inner-city areas that suffer from multiple forms of deprivation, and have significant experience of the impact of violence, trauma and conflict. Their year-long Buddy Up! programme helps staff, children and parents to overcome barriers of social movement, to further educational and social development, and to build relationships in an area of poverty which has a legacy of conflict and segregation.
Our £5,090 donation will go towards the next residential trip to Corrymeela Community of Reconciliation in Ballycastle on the north coast of Northern Ireland. CRIS will be offering the seaside break to 22 families, 11 from each nursery school. During the break specialists work with the families to consolidate work already done through the year and the feedback on previous years has shown it to have a profound impact within the goals set by CRIS.
Funding a week-long respite break for five of the UK’s most disadvantaged children
CHICKS was founded in 1992 and now provides over 800 children annually with a week’s break in a countryside retreat in Cornwall or Derbyshire. Each respite break is offered to 16 children aged 8 to 15, and the group is led by three leaders and up to six volunteers, allowing a high child to adult ratio. All the children supported by CHICKS face disadvantages ranging from poverty to neglect or bullying; they may have faced physical, emotional, racial or sexual abuse, and will often have experienced domestic violence or the effects of alcohol or substance abuse in their homes. Typically, these children face a combination of harmful circumstances, all of which will have had a negative impact on their life and well-being.
CHICKS respite breaks in either their Coastal Retreat in Cornwall or their Daleside Retreat in Derbyshire offer these children a carefree week of activities including rock-climbing, surfing, kayaking or horse-riding. Working closely with professional organisations who understand children’s home circumstances, CHICKS respite breaks target the most needy in society, with over 60% of referrals coming from families living in poverty. Monitoring and evaluation of the benefits of a CHICKS break show that 96% of referral agencies felt a CHICKS break had had a positive impact and 98% agreed that children they referred had improved in confidence.
Our £4,850 donation will fund five children to go on a respite break in 2019. The donation will also go towards providing the important post-break support including a memory bag, and birthday or Christmas cards sent, helping provide good memories when life is tough back home. The safe and supportive environment that CHICKS provides helps the majority of children who have had a respite break build strong bonds and develop trusting relationships, and to return home with increased confidence and self-esteem.
Contributing to the cost of building a new double classroom block and reducing class sizes
Masambiro UK was established in 2004 to fundraise and provide support to Kunyanja Secondary School in Nkhata Bay, northern Malawi. In the last 15 years Masambiro UK has helped create an outstanding school in an area largely deprived of secondary education. Now over 500 children attend the school, plus 150 night school students. A bursary system helps 75 children annually with their fees (there are no free state secondary schools in Malawi). The school is now renowned for its excellent exam results and has an increasing number of students going on to university – 15 students in 2019, including the first to medical school, in a country with one of the lowest per capita university attendance in the world, this is a huge achievement.
Our second donation follows the 2018 grant we made towards the cost of constructing new toilet and sink facilities. This year’s funding of £7,500 would provide a significant contribution to the estimated cost of £23,000 for a new double classroom block. With now more than 100 children in some classes, the top fund-raising priority is to build additional classroom space. The additional space for existing students should reduce class sizes to no more than 80, while capacity for up to 60 new students will provide income to recruit new teachers. The completed classrooms would lead to better performance and pass rates for Kunyanja students, especially those of middle and lower ability, and with a focus on female students.
Providing 50 recycled bikes plus a repair and maintenance toolkit for high-school students in West Africa
Founded in 1997, Re-Cycle sources, collects, checks and sends quality used bikes from the UK to independently-run projects in Africa. In 2018, Re-Cycle sent out 8,000 bikes to their partners in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya, The Gambia, South Africa and Zambia. Each bike is sent with spare parts and a toolkit, and local partners employ bike mechanics to refurbish the bikes and act as a sustainable repair facility. The thousands of bikes sent each year provide affordable transport that greatly improves lives, as well as preventing landfill and bike disuse in the UK. To prevent bikes falling into disrepair, Re-Cycle ensures there is local bike knowledge and competent repairers, both of which create sustainability and provide volunteering opportunities in the local community.
Our donation of £3,150 will provide 50 students living far from school in Ghana with their own bike, as well as giving them training and support as part of the Cycle to School project. A pilot project run in 2017-18 showed that students with bikes were much less likely to be late or absent from school. Many children walk more than 5 miles to get to school, a bike in that scenario dramatically changes the impact of the distance in terms of energy and time. The grant will also help cover costs of a five-day repair and maintenance course for up to 18 local bike mechanics.