Delivery Partner Interview: Manchester Young Lives


Greater Manchester’s Hidden Talent is led by GMCVO, but it is our Delivery Partners that work directly with our hidden young people, through full time or part time Talent Coaches. The benefit of this model is that each organisation works in a different way – a necessary given the regional diversity of Greater Manchester. To highlight the range of approaches 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.

Find out more about all of our Delivery Partners here but today, we talk to...

Manchester Young Lives

GM's Hidden Talent Manager: Samantha Maunder

Talent Coaches: Martina Convery

Date Founded: 1889 

Ethos: Manchester Young Lives works to promote the social and educational inclusion of children and young people. We believe everyone can improve their life chances through learning and make a successful transition to adult life given the right opportunities, support and guidance.

Describe the young people on GM’s Hidden Talent in three words: Vulnerable, challenging, supported

Describe the Talent Coaches in three words: Passionate, enthusiastic, resourceful

Why we should visit your offices: It is a chilled, friendly place where everyone is welcome and the kettle is always on.

Local delicacy we should try when we’re there: Jerk chicken!

" Martina listens to the young people and discusses other services they are invloved in or go to. If the services they mention are not know to her, she will visit them, introduce herself and explain about Hidden Talent."

Who are you as an organisation, and what is it that you do?

Manchester Young Lives (MYL) is a registered charity that has been working with children and young people in some of the most disadvantaged areas of Manchester for nearly 50 years.

Our work was originally centred on the development and management of adventure playgrounds in Ardwick, Moss Side, Hulme, and Wythenshawe. In recent years we have successfully developed a number of youth work and educational/training programmes, particularly targeted at children and young people at risk of social exclusion. The culmination of these efforts was the establishment of Manchester Young Lives Independent School in 2010.

We believe the integration of play, confidence building, and education within an informal and supportive environment provides a genuine opportunity for early intervention with children and young people who are at risk of falling outside mainstream services and becoming involved in anti-social and risky behaviours.

Why did you want to be part of GM’s Hidden Talent?

MYL wanted to be part of the this project as we had previously particapted in the GM Talent Match project.  Even though we have different provisons avaliable, GM's Hidden Talent allowed us to focus on supporting the 18+ age group, and more specifically the  hidden young people of Manchester, who really need help and support. Furthermore, MYL got invloved as it is what our charity is fundamentally about: supporting young people in a variety of ways.

How do you recruit hidden young people?

Martina uses her knowledge of services to visit centres / hostels/ areas where young people attend or visit, to either inform them or the staff of the opportunity to join the programme. When travelling around, Martina will approach young people she sees and speak to them, and she will put up flyers when she visits different venues. Furthermore, information about the programme is spread through word of mouth by professionals, parents and the young people themselves. Martina also listens to the young people, and discusses other services they are invloved in or go to. If the services they mention are not know to her, she will visit them, introduce herself and explain about Hidden Talent.

Is there a typical life situation your hidden young people find themselves in?

The young people we are working with present with a variety of different needs:

  •  Learning needs / disabilities where they need additional support in many areas of their life 

  • Anxiety — In my opnion this is growing among young people, and this can affect daily things such as using public transport, leaving the house, meeting new people so support is require around this

  • Lack of education including English and Maths — support is required to either achieve these, or create a good CV as they have the skills require for a job role, but are unsure how to express them 

  • Some have been involved in negative activities, or with the wrong peers and are trying to find ways out of this. With the right guidance and support, they can achieve a positive outcome.

  • Homelessness is a big issue.  Some young people are homeless through no fault of their own. Homeless young people require support in many areas of their lives.

  • Some are ok in their personal lives, but just need the right guidance and understanding of employment opportunities available for them with some support around CV writing andinterview preparation.

Why, in your experience, do hidden young people not claim benefits?

I have seen from the young people on the programme that there is a perception/ stigma that people who claim benefits are lazy and most young people don't want to be categorised under this heading.

Another reason is due to lack of understanding of what they are entitled to and how to go about claiming this. Some who do have the understanding of how to claim may lack the confidence to then attend their appointments.

Why do you think the Talent Coach model is the best model of support for the programme?

This model enables there to be a person available for the young people on an individual basis. Hidden young people can have trust issues and need the time to build that trust with an individual to enable them to support them in the way they want and need.

Having the capacity to work with the young people for up to 24 months allows that to happen, as we can then support them with other services they may require such as housing and mental health, as they may need this before they can consider going into employment. Then, when they are ready we can provide the CV writing support, and guidance on interview techniques, taking into consideration any individual needs and ensuring they are going onto a positive pathway towards being fully supported.

To find out more about what we do as a programme, you can sign up to our monthly eBulletin here

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