SkillForce has been able to make a real difference to young people from across the North of England after receiving over £11,000 thanks to the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.
The funding boost from the Postcode Community Trust was received to enhance the programmes the charity offers to help young people develop their confidence, self-esteem and improve their wellbeing.
Lucinda Foulkes-Arnold, Director of Fundraising for SkillForce, said: “Our instuctors, who are predominantly ex-Service personnel, work with children of all ages and abilities.
“This includes young people who can feel quite isolated and nervous in the company of others – particularly in a school and community setting. To help support these particular students, our instructors developed a mountain-bike programme to offer them the opportunity to develop their confidence and encourage team work and peer relationships.
“There was, however, one clear problem. All the equipment needed to run the programme came at a significant cost. This was not just for the bikes, but the trailer, safety equipment and training for the instructors themselves.”
Thanks to the generous support of the players and organisers of the People’s Postcode Lottery, the instructors’ idea became a reality and is now supporting dozens of young people.
At the end of the school term, for example, a group of students from TRACKS Education, a Pupil Referral Unit in Bradford, went to the Yorkshire hills to push themselves and each others on the bikes. The feedback was amazing.
Craig, one of the students from the unit, said: “I really enjoyed it! Everyone worked as a group, stayed together and supported each other. Even though it was about individuals riding, the group worked well together and felt a sense of accomplishment.”
Alex Young, the SkillForce instructor who ran the programme, said: “Taking these students out to different environments encourages them to try new things and do something that they may have ordinarily choosen not to do.
“In doing so, they are more open to working as part of a team and building relationships that they may have shyed away from. When we get back to their community, they then feel less isolated and excluded.”
When you sign up to play People’s Postcode Lottery, your postcode is your ticket. A minimum of 30% goes directly to charities across Great Britain and internationally. It costs £10 for 10 draws paid monthly in advance.