The Place Strategy - Making a difference in Hanley
National Citizen Service programme at Reginald Mitchell Court
The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation and The Prince's Charities aim to ensure their work in communities such as Burnley, Tottenham, Redcar and Burslem, would impact and have a ripple effect on the surrounding areas.
In July, a group of 16 and 17-year olds from Stoke-on-Trent participated in a National Citizen Service (NCS) programme and delivered an exciting reminiscence project with customers at Reginald Mitchell Court a Midland Heart sheltered housing scheme, located in Hanley. The 2013 NCS programme is being delivered by Stoke City Football Club (SCFC) in partnership with other key stakeholders, including Business Connectors who work with The Prince's Charities to transform lives and build sustainable communities.
The NCS programme is funded by the government and aims to help young people build skills for work, and life, while taking on new challenges and meeting new friends. Nationally 50,000 plus young people have taken part in NCS projects, with a total of 54 young people taking part in the Stoke City Football Club NCS project. Projects delivered across Stoke-on-Tent have included working with the Wildlife Trust and St Ann’s Church.
This year's 4 week project, included residential team building, ideas generation and project planning. The young people had the opportunity to learn new skills, take on challenges and to work in teams to deliver a social action project with community benefits during the final week.Their achievements will be recognised at a graduation event on 5th September 2013.
A Business Connector works with Stoke City Football Club
In an exploratory meeting with Stoke City Football Club (SCFC), Elaine Le Montais, The Prince’s Charities Business Connector, came up with the idea of involving the team and customers at Reginald Mitchell Court, in a history/reminiscence project to attract young people with a preference for more creative activity particularly linked to art and photography. Elaine worked with the manager of the National Citizen Service programme and the lead from SCFC to develope a proposition focusing on sharing stories and experiences called “When we were sweet 16”.
The idea was presented to the young people at the end of May and a team of 12 accepted the challenge. The overall theme of the community week was the reminiscence project. Participants were encouraged to think about the project in the context of past, present and future and the residents provided books, pictures and maps to illustrate their memories. In addition they had a food swap to explore different preferences and tastes. A joint play list was made to reflect their differing musical tastes. All of the young people developed their event planning skills by arranging the celebration event held at the end of the project, on 26th July, with the residents and their family and friends.
The young people and residents of Reginald Mitchell Court were delighted with the project and shared the following with the team.
Erin Softley aged 16 - "The project has really improved my confidence and my communication skills. The residents were so full of energy and had really interesting stories to share about when they were our age. Some of them didn’t achieve the career they really wanted because they left school at 14. It has made me determined to go for what I want. We have achieved unity between our generations."
Joyce Richardson aged 87 - "I brought in an edition of the Daily Express from May 1940 and the young people were fascinated by the stories in it. They really have the capacity to listen to older people and they have shown compassion."
Atticus Bettany aged 16 - " I got involved in the programme because I wanted to get experience in different skills that will help with my CV for University and to help the community. The opportunity to work with older people attracted me to this project. I’ve found that we have things in common. I’ve made lots of new friends and it has helped me to be more confident."
Bernard Scaratt aged 82 - Bernard has lived at Reginald Mitchell Court for 22 years and was one of the first people to move in. Bernard played chess for the first time in 20 years, with Ryan a participant and enjoyed teaching chess to other members of the team. Bernard said "I have really enjoyed being amongst them and getting to know them. It’s been enlightening."
James Reynolds – Manchester Met University student. "I have seen a rapport between the young people and the residents. I observed a winning mentality and some of the young people will go on to great things as a result"
Dan Wright – aged 16 Dan wrote this poem and shared it with everyone in his presentation slot at the celebration event.
My time with Midland Heart has been so great
I think it has decided my fate
As a care worker is what I wanted to be
Now I am sure it is the job for me
Hearing people’s stories put pictures in my head
We leave here with fond memories and new friends made
A place in my heart which will never fade