Delivery Partner Profile: Bolton Lads and Girls Club

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 with our hidden young people, through the work of full time or part time Talent Coaches. The benefit of this model is that each organisation works in a different way – a necessary trait for a region as diverse as Greater Manchester. 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 the local level.

Find out more about all of our Delivery Partners here but today, in our first report, we talk to Sarah Randall of:

Bolton Lads and Girls Club

GM's Hidden Talent Manager: Sarah Randall

Talent Coaches: Dora Mallott and Andy Simm

Date Founded: 1889 (our oldest Delivery Partner!)

Tagline: Enriching Young Lives

Vision: Every young person in Bolton has the opportunity to be the best they can be.

Mission: We will provide great places to go, positive things to do, and people that care. 

Describe the young people on GM’s Hidden Talent in three words: "full of potential"

Describe the Talent Coaches in three words: "Fun, empathetic, tenacious"

Why we should visit your offices: We are a friendly bunch of caring professionals who are passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people.

Local delicacy we should try when we’re there: Pasty and peas

"We have had a number of home schooled young people, who  are very isolated and aren’t used to getting out of the house and socialising with their peers..."

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

"We offer a range of targeted and universal provision including Sports, NCS, Arts, Targeted Youth Support, Employability, Mentoring, Befriending, Emotional Health and Wellbeing, and Community Outreach work. 

Our state-of-the-art Youth Club in the heart of Bolton provides children and young people (5-25 years old) with access to a selection of activities, all offering young people the opportunity to try new things, meet new friends, and gain support from friendly, warm and positive staff and volunteers.

I am Head of Targeted Youth Services, responsible for setting up and developing a range of projects and managing a team of dedicated staff who work with some of the most vulnerable young people and young adults, on a one to one basis through a variety of initiatives."

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

"We believe that all young people and young adults should be given the opportunity to reach their full potential.  We believe in empowering young people and working with them to be the best versions of themselves, through developing positive, trusting relationships.

"GM's Hidden Talent programme puts marginalised young people at the heart of its ways of working and through long term one to one relationships, invests in some of the most vulnerable – hidden – young people.

How do you recruit hidden young people?

"We have used our local contacts from previous projects and working partnerships with organisations such as Connexions, the Leaving Care Team, Carers Service, Troubled Families service, Local CVS, Housing associations, and colleges – as well as trying to get into grassroots organisations to generate referrals.

"We have also recruited young people we have previously worked with, and their siblings. It has been a very proactive 'reach into the communities' approach to find those most isolated and marginalised."

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

"All young people have presented with either poor mental health or a diagnosed mental health conditions, such as social anxiety, depression, PTSD.

"Many have poor literacy skills and are not able to read or write properly, and would never be able to navigate the benefit system or complete the necessary paperwork to make a claim. Some have learning needs.

"We have had a number of home schooled young people, who have been and still are very isolated and aren’t used to getting out of the house and socialising with their peers, as well as struggling to step out of their comfort zone. They have tended to lack basic skills and have little resilience to be able to cope doing certain activities."

"Those with learning difficulties have very little understanding of benefits and their entitlements..."

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

"A range of reasons.

"Some because of their own poor mental health issues. Those with learning difficulties have very little understanding of benefits and their entitlements. Some see a stigma of being associated with the JCP. It can also impact on current family benefits they are in receipt of. 

"One young person has stated he doesn’t want to access benefits  because their parents had, a negative experience of the Job Centre – and the young person feels they would too, so wouldn’t be much point in attending.

"Another young person said that becauuse they’ve not ‘put into the pot’, so to speak, they shouldn’t receive from 'the pot'. I also feel with this young person would struggle with the rules of job searching  and they don’t want to have that pressure."

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

"Talent Coaches use their skills to guide young people, rather than telling them what to do. In order to work with young people effectively you need to assess where they are at, and build their self-confidence and self-esteem and guide and empower them.

"The model is very informal and is a mixture of very different roles from services (such as social care, IAG adviser, youth worker and advocacy), so works holistically.  Talent Coaches are also able to do things that maybe other services struggle with or maybe not allowed to due to time restrictions: such as travel support and getting to really know the young person on a one to one level.  Valuing the time to listen and to really get to know the young person is essential to as is the ability to be flexible & work out in the community rather than being office based."

To find out more about what we do as a programme, you can follow our Monthly E-Bulletin here

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