Skills and support project for vulnerable young people in North Wales

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Aimed at ages 16 to 25, the WeMindTheGap WeDiscover program has had a positive impact on participants in Conwy County.

As a result, the scheme will now also be available to NEET candidates (not in education, employment or training) in Wrexham, Flintshire, Denbighshire, Gwynedd and Anglesey.

Run in partnership with Conwy Employment Hub – which oversees the successful Communities for Work, Communities for Work Plus and PaCE initiatives – it is supported by Conwy County Council and other funders.

Participants praised the mentors for changing their lives and giving them the confidence to take advantage of post-pandemic opportunities.

Among them was MJ, a young carer struggling with mental health issues and admitted to joining WeDiscover for “something to do” having lacked motivation after leaving school.

They said,

I didn’t do much except play video games and make art once in a while, although I was losing my passion for it.

My sister found the course online and I didn’t think at first that I would, or maybe I would ever go, but I stayed and I’m so glad I did because it was an amazing experience.

MJ added:

The WeDiscover team has been so supportive, helped me with my artwork and to be honest, if it wasn’t for them I’d probably still be stuck at home

The mentors were nice and kind and whenever I needed to talk they were there for me; it’s been an amazing journey and i feel like a completely different person.

I love art and I’m very creative, so the virtual and in-person sessions have given me a boost, so much so that I plan to start selling my artwork and selling it. move forward as a business.

In addition to access to computer equipment and presentations by guest speakers such as MMA fighter Aaron Aby and a zookeeper from Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay, attendees enjoyed field trips, participated in community events and received awards for their commitment – MJ’s progress and commitment. was rewarded with a voucher for art materials.

Laura Columbine, WeDiscover Program Manager, was delighted with the feedback and excited to have a platform to support even more young people in the region when the next cohort arrives in September.

She says,

We will now be working with local agencies, families, charities and organizations to seek referrals and demonstrate the value of moving this project forward.

One of the new partnerships forged over the past few months has been with the Marine Conservation Society, and we will be looking to add more to have a lasting and lasting effect on the environment, economy and, most importantly, the future of the young people involved.

Libby Duo, Conwy Employment Service Strategy Manager, added:

Hearing the difference WeDiscover has made to the lives of MJ and others is so encouraging and a testament to the hard work and care of everyone involved.

We now have the opportunity to do even more, targeting other areas of North Wales to make a real and lasting difference after two difficult years.

We encourage more families and agencies to contact us because it’s a chance to do something special, to help young people take that first step on their future career path, overcome adversity and lay the foundations for a better future.

The scheme has been a major success in Wales and the North West, and since the schemes began in 2014 they have changed the lives of up to 250 young people, providing over £5.5million of social value and over £2.5million in public savings.

Rachel Clacher CBE, President and Founder of WeMindTheGap, said:

We are delighted to be working with Conwy County Council again to bring our unique digital program to underserved young adults.

The impact of Covid-19 and the ongoing restrictions have disproportionately affected our young people. By delivering a program with love and meaningful opportunities, we aim to help young people transform their own lives and take the next step in the wider world.

WeDiscover discovery sessions will take place starting September 19, before the program begins on October 3. To enroll in the WeDiscover program and for more information, email [email protected] or call 0333 939 8818. Visit www.wemindthegap.org.uk and watch a video about WeDiscover here: We Discover | WeMindTheGap

Visit www.conwy.gov.uk/conwyemploymenthub to find out more about Conwy Employment Hub.

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