Vision North West
The project will increase the confidence, independence and social skills of 12 young people, aged 14 - 19 years, who are visually impaired and at a crucial transitions stage of their life, using the outdoor environment as the motivating factor so that they no longer feel so isolated and alone.
Field Studies Council
Visual impairment (VI) is a low incidence high need disability. Parents of VI young people are often over protective, under confident, resistant to new opportunities and highly risk averse. This creates problems as the young people begin to move into adulthood as. The project aims to help improve: independent living skills - decision making, independent travel; social skills – self confidence; healthy living - increased physical activity and environmental understanding.
The project will use the following methods to achieve the aims:
planning together as a group of young people with a range of VI needs
independent train travel
residential weekends away from home and shared accommodation
planning for the next weekend puts control of activities in the hands of the young people
a range of stretching and challenging activities taking place outdoors in the natural environment
group reflection times on handling risk and building resilience
12 young people with VI will improve their independent travel skills by taking part in project
Activities» Help the young people to plan travel to take part in a series of weekend residential at FSC Castle Head and achieve independent train travel
Safe and independent travel experience during the project which extends into their daily life.
12 V I young people will increase their self confidence and improve their independent living skills.
Activities» Preparing for and packing, self medication, making own packed lunches, sharing accommodation, sharing meals, getting organised for a whole day outdoor
Enjoyment of weekends away, organisational ability, an increase in self confidence assessed by self and parents/other adults
Physical benefits including improved fitness from taking part in outdoor environmental activities
Activities» Programme including outdoor climbing, shelter building, mountain walks, tree planting, footpath maintenance
» Deliver a programme that introduces young people to alternative forms of physical exercise other than sport
Perceived increase in fitness, confidence to take part and to embrace outdoor physical activity
increased self belief, better resilience & judgement of the risks from outdoor activities
Activities» Guided reflections, risk taking reviews, feedback from peers using overnight camps, fire building and outdoor shared cooking
Reports of increased resilience, increase in self esteem, recognition of value of natural environment for healthier mental status
feel less isolated and alone and will gain new friendships and establish support networks
Activities» Shared experiences, time between residentials to reflect, share and plan and formal celebration of achievement
» Support the development of a network between the participants to continue after the project
Evidence of friendship groups and independent meet ups and increased use of social networking with friendship groups
The ultimate change is increased resilience to cope with lifes ups and downs using the natural outdoor environment as a support. The project helps the youngsters to move from a personal focus of disability to an external focus of meeting others, forward planning and recognising ability.The staged approach of residentials allows for reflection and sustained involvement. Success will be shown by anecdotal reviews from young people and significant adults collected through structured interviews.
Young people won’t engage with the project. Remediation:Big pool of potential young people and clear recruitment messages.
Loss of project staff. Remediation: involved many staff at outset to build up experience and share responsibilities.
Initial independent travel too challenging. Remediation: identify minimum intervention levels and support as needed.
Personalities clash and friendships strained. Remeditation: Long term involvement, variety of activities, focus on tolerance
Donors will receive two updates a year giving details of the young people involved and their planned activities. High level donors will have the opportunity to join the final celebrations on the final weekend and meet the young people. The FSC website will be updated regularly.
Budget - Project Cost: £19,222Loading graph....
Amount Heading Description £7,379 Salaries & overheads part time proejct officer £2,920 Volunteers Training for Action for Blind volunteers and volunteer expenses £6,960 Residential Three 2 night residential weekends including all activities, accommodation and food £1,963 Specialist equipment Specialist equipment which may be required during the residentials
Current Funding / Pledges
Source Amount Action for Blind People £1,150 Guaranteed Field Studies Council £588 Guaranteed
The project will be focussed in England’s North West region. FSC will work closely with Action for Blind People office based in Eccles. The young people will come from all over the NW region and Manchester. The residential will take place in South Lake District at FSC Castle Head near Grange over Sands. This project could be developed at other locations/regions but would need an increase in set up and training time and finance.
The young people with visual impairment will be direct beneficiaries of a range of experiences which will develop confidence , independence and social skills. Their families will benefit from the experience of 'letting go' which could lead to increased independence and opportunities for the young people as they move into adulthood. Staff at FSC will benefit from increasing their skills of working with VI young people and developing and extending the existing programme.
FSC will work in partnership with Action for Blind People to deliver this project. These organisations have worked together closely since 2003.FSC is an established national environmental education charity which celebrated its 70th birthday in 2013. FSC works with all ages and abilities but its niche is working with 11-19 year olds. FSC has 19 learning locations around the UK and a stable staff of over 400 and a self sustaining business model.
Read more about the Charity running this project.
Phil works for Action for Blind People in the NW. He already knows the VI young people in the region and will recruit youngsters to the project
John works for Action in the NE and supports VI young people. He brings personal empathy to the project as he is VI.
Paul is Head of Centre at FSC Castle Head. He is an experienced outdoor educator and will help the young people plan the activities.
Becki works with Paul and she will make sure the activities are fun, challenging and safe. She will also lead the guided reviewing sessions