Published by Valerie Root on Thu, 10 Oct 2019 08:19

Aylsham Parish Church has teamed up with the Benjamin Foundation to help

and encourage young people living in supported accommodation with the Go-

Ahead Career Coaching Award Scheme. The Benjamin Foundation’s Forward

Court in Aylsham is home to young people on their journey to living

independently. As part of this journey their Youth Support Worker Claire

wanted to help the residents make meaningful use of their time, improve their

life chances, re-engage them with their community and tackle issues of

loneliness and isolation. Through her research she deduced that the best way

to promote engagement with the residents was through positive reinforcement

and ongoing support and encouragement, as a result, the Go-Ahead project

was born.


The Benjamin Foundation developed the programme of career coaching with

the residents and Aylsham Parish Church funds the positive reinforcement

component by purchasing supermarket vouchers for those residents

successfully taking part in the scheme. As part of the scheme residents have

taken up roles gardening, volunteering in the community, engaged in training

and education and progressed into employment. The vouchers have provided

a much-valued encouragement and benefit to the young people who are all

living on very low incomes.


Callum, Forward Court Resident said:


‘I’ve been volunteering at a clothes exchange project. I’ve made a new group

of friends and I’m getting experience in the retail sector. I feel better about

myself now because I have a more active life. I am getting unpaid work

experience which will help me get a job in the future and the Go-Ahead

vouchers motivate me because I can shop for myself. '


Claire Menear, Youth Support Worker at Forward Court said:

‘Our valued partners at Aylsham Church have helped to maintain the

resident’s enthusiasm for the scheme. The positive reinforcement aspect to

the scheme has been a source of pride for our residents making a

constructive change in their lives.’


Revd Jack Branford, Curate at Aylsham Parish Church said:

‘We are incredibly proud to play a small part in this pioneering scheme. It is

really encouraging to see the young people at Forward Court gaining such

valuable experiences, improving their career prospects, and engaging so

positively with the community. The money for the scheme has been taken

from a fund in memory of our late Churchwarden Liz Jones who was a strong

advocate for young people in the town. We are sure she would have been


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