Greater Manchester’s Hidden Talent is run by GMCVO, but it is our Delivery Partners – organisations working across the ten authorities of Greater Manchester – that work directly with young people, by employing Talent Coaches. To highlight the diversity in operation and approach of our Delivery Partners, we have asked them a series of questions to put the spotlight on the excellent work they do on a local level.
In this interview, we talk to Tina and Paul Huxley, who founded and run G-Force in Timperley, Altrincham
Talent Coaches: Tina Huxley
Date Founded: 26/07/1998
Number of staff: 7+
Organisation Motto: Working Together For A Better Community
Describe the young people on GM’s Hidden Talent in three words: Ready, willing, and able
Try and describe your Talent Coaches in three words: Caring, thoughtful, and inspiring
Why we should visit your offices? It's a café first so not intimidating to come into and you'll get a warm welcome and possibly a bacon butty too!
Where would you recommend visiting in Greater Manchester? Dunham Park; for a beautiful walk in the countryside. Helps you clear your mind by enjoying nature.
"A community is strong if every generation is enabled to live as fulfilled a life as possible. The Hidden Talent project allows us to dedicate the time and the resources to help vulnerable young people"
Who are you as an organisation and what is it you do?
We are a local charity set up by local people, run by local people, for local people. All our staff live in the communities we serve.
We help anyone in need with any issue that is adversly affecting them. It might be family crisis, debt, homelessness, joblessness, mental illness, loneliness, food poverty…the list goes on. If we can't help ourselves we will do our best to direct them to someone who can.
We also do lots of activities that make our community a better place to live in: like holding fun days, providing youth activities, art clubs and lessons, and organising litter picks & educational activites. Every week we work with people aged from eight all the way up to 90+
Why did you want to be part of the GM’s Hidden Talent Programme, and/or how does it align with your organisation’s objectives and purpose?
It fits perfectly with our holistic agenda for our community. A community is strong if every generation is enabled to live as fulfilled a life as possible. The Hidden Talent project allows us to dedicate the time and the resources to help vulnerable young people who are isolated and directionless (for whatever reason) to get back up and reach their potential.
How do you recruit hidden young people?
We use a variety of methods including through Facebook, word of mouth, referals by friends and relatives, conversations with customers in our café etc. We have even approached people in the street as well as using standard stuff like posters.
Is there a typical life situation your hidden young people find themselves in – or, if there is not one typical situation, what variety of circumstances are your young people in?
Most Hidden Talent clients we have had contact with have become isolated as the world seems to pass them by. They end up having fewer and fewer friends as well as spending lots of time at home. They also seem to spend at lot of time on games consoles and their time mangement suffers as a result of staying up late too. It is also amazing just how many parents share their concerns about their children's mental health and wellbeing. Even with tensions in households, Mums and Dads still love their children and want the best for them.
Why, in your experience, do hidden young people not claim benefits?
It's a good question. Many can't work out how to do it; some feel it is intimidating and/or confusing and then too demanding for their time. Some young people live in households that don't want other benefits being affected too and then get hidden by that too.
Why do you think the Talent Coach model is the best model of support for the programme?
Its allows us the time to build supportive and trusting relationships with the young people, as well as access opportunities that may otherwise not be accessible.
It also allows us to work outside the 8am to 5pm (Mon to Fri) model and give time to the young person when they need us.
The expense allowance for young people helps with immediate fiscal demands that are often stumbling blocks to a young person's development. Not being able to afford little things like needing a good haircut, interview clothing, bus passes, etc. can be massively demoralising barriers for young people that can easliy be overcome with a small amount of funding.