When the global coronavirus pandemic struck, we were keen to continue to support young people with their personal development and wellbeing at home. We quickly developed Home Grown Skills, a package of free resources for families and schools. These have now been accessed by nearly 10,000 people, providing young people with quick and accessible activities.
But we wanted to go one step further.
While the pandemic has impacted everyone’s lives significantly, it has had a disproportionate effect on the young people who were most disadvantaged before the pandemic. This has been particularly demonstrated by the detrimental effect on young people’s wellbeing, personal development, and future prospects.
We are seeing a lack of confidence from young people in their futures. More than one in four young people claim their future career prospects have already been damaged by the coronavirus crisis, while 49% say it will be “harder than ever” to get a job. Research has also found that almost half of young people do not feel they have control of their lives, greatly impacting their overall wellbeing.
Our core programmes focus on personal development and wellbeing, providing personalised coaching and extra-curricular trips for young people. We know the impact they have, with 82% of our previous students feeling more prepared for the future. Even though we are unable to run our usual programmes at the moment, our team knew we could still use our experience to empower young people whilst navigating these challenging circumstances.
This led us to developing and piloting a brand new resource: My Strengths Toolbox.
What is ‘My Strengths Toolbox’?
My Strengths Toolbox is a brand-new comprehensive personal development workbook which helps young people to understand their strengths and how they can use them to be successful.
This physical resource contains activities, advice, and explanation into the fundamental skills of confidence, communication, resilience and self-awareness.
It is designed to support KS3 students aged 11-14 with:
Retaining resilience and wellbeing through this challenging time.
Establishing a habit of goal setting as they transition back to normal life
Developing strengths and skills needed for future success
A young person, with the support of their family and school, will decide how they use this book, empowering them to take control of their development and make positive choices about their future. Young people will develop a ‘toolbox’ of resources, skills and knowledge that they can draw upon now, and well into their future.
How can young people access this resource?
We would like to recognise our community of supporters who contributed significantly to developing this product in the first place, raising over £2,000 in two weeks through their individual fundraising efforts. Following this, the Kusuma Trust and the City Bridge Trust gave us generous grants through the London Community Response Fund.
This funding has enabled us to launch a pilot, providing Toolboxes to 2300 students across 29 schools. Working alongside ImpactEd, a leading evaluation specialist, we are gathering feedback and impact data to inform the next stage of development.
We plan to make My Strengths Toolbox available to all schools, and parents, in the near future.
To register your interest in the next stage of My Strengths Toolbox, please contact Sophie, Impact Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In the meantime, a selection of activities to support personal development and wellbeing are available to download for free from our website: Home Grown Skills.