Posted: Thu, 27 Jun 2019 15:38 by Miss Amy Bird
Two Schools in Birmingham who are using structured sports mentoring programmes with young people on the verge of exclusion have reported improvements in students' abilities and skills to relate to themselves and others.
For children living in deprived communities and struggling with special educational needs in mainstream settings or facing challenging home situations, sport can offer an alternative route to re-engage with school. With growing numbers of exclusions, schools and pupil referral units in Birmingham were searching for something new, so eagerly tried out a new intensive 6–12-week course from Sport Birmingham.
Schools using this innovative approach –delivering relationships education through a completely different part of the curriculum – are reporting big improvements in behaviour, with children learning new ways of coping with stress and taking time to think before reacting to situations. Pupils learn about respect and are beginning to think through consequences, in safe relationships with responsive adults whom they respect.
A team of five runs weekly four-hour sessions for up to 15 young people selected by the school as needing specific support beyond the existing school provision, focusing on areas such as relationships, teamwork, leadership, resilience and responsibility.
The sessions include activities held inside and outside the classroom, and the approach is flexible to let the young people take the lead. The order in which topics are taught depends on group dynamics. Much of the work centres on how the young people conduct themselves in three environments – school, home and the street – and the consequences of actions in each.
The sessions are co-led by youth mentors, who provide positive role models to the students, demonstrating healthy relationships.
One young person says, 'It has encouraged me to avoid fighting and doing stupid or bad stuff offered by friends. The mentors use slang language that I understand, and they know the streets better than us because they have lived through our generation. Talking to them is like talking to a friend! I've learned how to box clever and avoid certain situations.'
The physical activity element itself ranges from football and cricket to dance, and even paintballing or go-karting if funds can be found. For students less interested in traditional sports, the paintballing and go-karting can be used as an opener to help them relax. There are no expectations of skill or competition in any of the activities, but many students do enjoy developing their skills and enjoy the team aspect of some sports.
The in-school provision is part of a wider programme. In the holidays, a van parks in areas known for anti-social behaviour. Pop-up tennis, football, volleyball, rounders, WiFi and music are available, and young people are encouraged to do something positive with their time. Holiday activity weeks and youth clubs also take place on neutral ground, where young people from various postcodes can come together without fear of local gangs. This work builds trust between the students and the provider. It also means the course leaders gain an in-depth understanding of the young people's situations and can ensure the life skills they teach are relevant and tailored to their needs.
Lucy Meade, Guidance and Support Centre Manager at the Arthur Terry School, says, 'Students really enjoyed the range of activities. The programme supports change and offers a safe space to try out new skills. The experience of team has enabled our young people to focus on leadership, resilience and responsibility.'
Alison O'Connell MBE, Youth & Community Reach Out Manager at Sport Birmingham, says, 'Focusing on behaviours at home, school and on the street reflects the key environments of young people and acknowledges that relationships in each situation require different responses. For young people at risk of exclusion, providing activities both inside and outside the learning environment can help build trust, and this at at the core of what the mentoring service provides'.
Credit: This case study was written and produced by FASTN as part of their snapshot of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) practice across England, delivered by schools, organisations, practitioners, councils, parents and communities, working in partnership.
FASTN works for a society in which all children and adults can experience safe, enduring and nurturing family environments, and where children can develop the skills needed for positive, committed relationships in adulthood. Further information can be found here: www.fastn.org | email@example.com | @fastn_org
Posted: Fri, 14 Jun 2019 07:44 by Miss Evie Harrison
In the Summer of 2018, the Sport Birmingham MAD team were approached by West Midlands Police to deliver activities across the south of the city, due to limited provision in the area. There were four areas, one of these being Bartley Green, with the concept being to go out into the parks and conduct outreach work to engage the local young people in positive activity, for around six hours a week.
Having had the free summer sessions, a lot of parents came back and said they wanted a youth club for somewhere for their kids to go in the long term. Supporting Long Nukez youth club, MAD helped the club apply for Active Citizens funding to kit out the youth club with equipment and hall hire in order to host the young people. Once they got the go ahead they paid for the hall, paid for a container, some equipment they started the youth club 5-7pm with the younger ones, then they work with the older ones later on in the week. All volunteers ran the sessions and the mums involved in the club are really enthusiastic and talk to lots of different people in the local area about the project to kids and fellow parents. By getting the community to take ownership and buy into the project, there is a feeling they can reclaim their area. "I think the project gives the parents a little bit of hope in terms of challenges the area faces and there can be a lot of positive activity in the local area when it comes to their children." Alison O'connell MAD Reach Out Manager
"I've got a lot of pride for our community now, whereas I didn't prior to this. I feel like we're trying to help the kids and the parents. We want it to be a hub so we'll have housing and benefits people come talk to the parents, umbrella sexual health are coming to talk to the older kids, a homework club being setup there's a lot of exciting things in the pipeline" Volunteer
One week changes to the next depending on what the kids want to do, and delivery is very much youth led. Some kids won't do the sport but then there is the arts and crafts sides. The project is currently seeking a projector to be able to put on movie nights when the weather isn't so good to expand their offer even further.
"My favourite things are basketball and singing I'll sing anything! I'd love this so continue. If MAD hadn't come over to the park that one day, my mum wouldn't be here it really does change people's lives. I've noticed that there's a lot more children feeling safer round the area and a lot more children talking to one another. My mum has become a lot calmer, she's taking a noticing to more of the children in the area. I'd describe LN as life changing, amazing and sociable. I'd like to see a lot older kids coming to the youth club as there's a lot of problems with knife crime here and then we might be able to nudge a few kids to more positive activities." Participant
Provision also includes often a hot snack, toasties being a crowd favourite but often this is vital for the young people that come through the youth club's doors "MAD's work is vital with kids and getting them to do more positive activities. I feel the food is an important factor in retaining kids to the youth group, we have kids that come from a wide set of situations which might mean they don't eat at home and it's vital they can rely on some sort of food to fill their stomachs here as their other meal would only be a school lunch." Kitchen Volunteer
The MAD team are still there doing bits and pieces but what we've essentially done is up-skill the mums. These mums have now got their health and hygiene certificates, have done a youth work course, obtained DBS clearance, have done their Safeguarding and Child Protection qual, first aid and a couple of them also became Tennis Activators. Once the club is constituted and a bank account is set-up, MAD will completely come away from the area and the mums will take full ownership of the programme.
If you would like to know more about the project in Bartley Green, follow their facebook here If you're looking for advice/support on setting up a youth club in your area or feel MAD could have an impact in your area contact us
Posted: Tue, 12 Mar 2019 13:06 by Emily Wade
We can confirm that our first MADFUNDAY event went down a success!
Just under 100 young people registered and got involved on the day...
Activities included a 5-A-Side football tournament, Tennis, Pana Football, Workshops with Umbrella Sexual Health and Music/DJ by DEEJAY RJ.
A few quotes from the day...
I think today has been a positive, there's been no trouble, all the young people have got on. We've had lots of different kids from different areas, different postcodes, coming together, working together, for the MAD project... and that's what it's all about 'Making A Difference' bringing people together, and changing people' mindset.
Leon, Youth Engagement Officer for MAD Birmingham
If you go to MAD, they give you extra stuff to do so every half term we go to MAD
I liked the atmosphere, like everyone was together and stuff like that
To see our MADFUNDAY all in action, watch our YouTube video below!
Posted: Thu, 07 Feb 2019 10:09 by Emily Wade
One of the main goals for our project is to boost the aspirations of young people.
The MAD mentoring programme, which takes place in schools across Birmingham, was first set up in September 2017 when we realised there was a need to support the young people more widely than just during our evening weekly sessions.
Since the programme began, we have now engaged with 50+ students from secondary schools throughout the city and we are amazed by the change in mindset of these young people over the 6-week period of working with them.
Our mentoring programme offers the students a balance of indoor classroom and outdoor learning.
The important factor to this intervention is to provide a non-judgemental, confidential outlet / sounding board for the young people; gaining trust through a neutral, safe and trustworthy role models.
The sessions focus on teamwork, leadership, resilience and responsibility. The MAD team deliver these key themes through their own mini workshops, presentations, group discussions, classroom games and outdoor sporting activities.
After a term ends, we will then follow up with a consultation and touch-points to review and reflect on the progress of the young people in the schools.
The programme is tailored to the schools needs and timetable. We are a fully flexible team and will try our best to cater for the school.
Here's what a few of the young people had to say about our mentoring programme by exploring a few different themes.
1) How it has changed the young person's outlook on life…
"During the M.A.D program, which is a program designed to help you think better, I have found my sessions very well used as they have showed me much more in life and that how certain things can make you feel down if you don't use them right!... Thank you for letting me join!"
"You learn about why you need school… also they give you good tips like listening, respect, box clever. Also you can have fun with everyone in the group and the people that do it"
2) Developing their understanding on Mental Health…
"Mentoring is good because it helps me with stuff like understanding mental health and depression. Another reason it is good is their advice on how to avoid getting in trouble and I've used it quite a lot at home and at school. Overall I would recommend it to anyone and it is a good experience"
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my times with the mentor group as it has helped me to understand other people's views and to respect them, I have found that I can relate to most of what is said by the group and it gives me an opportunity to express views and share past experiences so that the rest of the group could possibly learn something new as I have when I have listened to other peoples stories"
"Sometimes we also do sports which I like so that we are not just inside…We speak about mental health and social media, sometimes the mentors tell us stories about them or what they have done or been through"
We also have a quote from a young person about our MAD staff…
The mentors use slang language that I understand and they know the streets better than us because they have lived through our generation. Talking to them is like talking to a friend!"
And finally, a quote from the Teacher at the school…
"Students who took part in the MAD programme really enjoyed the range of activities and the balance between learning in the classroom and outside. The team offer a non-judgmental and genuine programme which supports change and offers a safe space to try out new skills. The experience of team has enabled our young people to benefit from an opportunity outside the normal school day to participate in a highly successful 6 week programme focusing on teamwork, leadership, resilience and responsibility"
If you work for a school and feel like your students would benefit from the mentoring programme, please get in touch with the MAD team on email
Make.A.Difference (MAD Birmingham)
Posted: Wed, 30 Jan 2019 10:13 by Emily Wade
At MAD Birmingham, we make it our mission to provide each young person with the understanding of how crime and anti-social behaviour can lead to consequences. We also promote social inclusion and community cohesion. The team will always support the young people and guide them in the direction to the more positive opportunities in life.
One way we do this is by discussing the real life examples shown on YouTube videos and documentaries. The topics of discussion include things like, crime, gang culture, knife crime and more sensitive subjects such as Mental Wellbeing and Pressure.
Below are a few quotes from our Mental Wellbeing round table discussion...
"Only emotion you feel is Sadness or no emotion at all"
" Some people turn to Drink and Drugs"
"When you get depressed its because nothing good is happening and then you have thoughts of around suicide"
A young person also commented on how the MAD sessions help the young people keep away from the streets...
"It's a thing that helps the youth to stay away from trouble, so the couple of days we be there gives us something and activities to do that will keep our mind away from trouble"
If you know of any young person/s who would be interested in this, please contact us and refer them to us!
Please visit our Instagram page here to see an example of a YouTube clip we showed the young people about crime and gang culture at our Perry Barr session in Holford Drive Sports Hub.
Posted: Mon, 21 Jan 2019 11:17 by Emily Wade
Ish is a very supportive youth worker at the Pump, especially for those young people who have a desire for music production and becoming their own artist.
From a very young age, he always wanted to become an artist himself, trying his best to record at home in his bedroom. Unfortunately the support and equipment wasn't there for him.
Ish thrives off the energy from the young people who come into the Pump week on week to record their own music.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW
"With great thanks to Levi Strauss®, the Pump is able to offer everyone a brand new media space. It offers the state of art hardware and software for those budding creators out there. The room offers an industry-standard experience to generate ideas and create music and film that wil inspire young people to express themselves and produce the next hit track or movie!"
-Information taken directly from https://www.thepump.org.uk/levis-media-space
Follow us on Social Media so you don't miss out!
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/madbirmingham/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/MadBirmingham
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/madbirmingham/
Posted: Wed, 16 Jan 2019 09:46 by Emily Wade
On Tuesday 15th January at Nechells, our Digital Marketing Apprentice, Emily, interviewed a few of the kids at the session that is held at Nechells Wellbeing centre every Tuesday!
Listen to our small talk about the MAD project and find out more about the kids who come along to our Tuesday session at Nechells...
Sessions are FREE and the vibe is great! Video below...
Posted: Mon, 14 Jan 2019 11:59 by Emily Wade
We understand we need a little bit of you in our foods, but why do you have to be in our drinks too!
In just one can of regular coke for example, there's 11 grams of YOU :(
We all know how hard it is to make the decision what drink to have when there's so many sugar bubbles on our local shop shelves... but in all seriousness, people are finding it hard to break the relationship with you sugar!
Where can we start?
Here's a link for you to have a read if you are looking to cut down your sugar intake..
Please reach after you've read my blog post first of course :)
(And if you do read it, I promise I won't tell Sugar you have considered replacing it!)
Less sugar = Less risk of medical issues
Some of the main related medical issues to high levels sugar consumption are:
- High blood pressure
- Tooth Decay
- Increase risk of heart disease
- Decrease concentration
- Weight gain
Weight gain is the one particularly in discussion at the moment with it being National Obesity Awareness week.
In Birmingham, we are seeing figures of adult obesity at 26%, and child obesity at 24% , these children being year 6 students, and therefore only 11 years olds!
Could sugar be playing a huge part in these percentages?
At MAD Birmingham, we actually work with children as young as 11 years old!
Our team believe in keeping our young people active and healthy through all the weekly activities we deliver and the food and drinks we can provide during the holidays. (With special thanks to Fit & Fed and Bernardos).
If you would like to register your child onto our programme, please contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
So my final note to you Sugar would be, thank you, but we are so ready to replace you, next!
*All figures above have come from the online website resources. They can be sent to you on request.
Posted: Thu, 10 Jan 2019 10:38 by Emily Wade
There is just not one word we could use to describe MAD. But in a few paragraphs, this is what MAD is all about…
MAD stands for Make a Difference.
It is a Youth Engagement Programme which uses activities, such as sport, to tackle social issues.
Our programme is about putting the young people first and presenting them with an opportunity to shape their future and the direction of the project.
Watch MAD in action on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqojUnnITQU&t=2s
(Subscribe whilst you are there too!)
Our Main Highlights of 2018 have been:
- 400 young people accessed the Summer/Autumn programme
- The MAD team expanded from 3 to 8 this year. This includes taking on a Digital Marketing Apprentice, a new Youth Engagement Officer for Stechford, two Youth Engagement assistants and a Coach Core apprentice.
- Holiday activities in the half term weeks have been in collaboration with Fit & Fed, with over 3,500 meals provided to young people during the holiday period as part of 'Holiday Hunger'
- We collaborated with Bernardo's and the Holiday kitchen programme to give free food to our kids during the holidays at the Nechells sessions.
- There was 20 hours of outreach work in South Birmingham, resulting in a new youth club to be set-up in Bartley Green. Read more here: https://www.sportbirmingham.org/mad-blog/2018/10/summer-in-the-south
- The music sessions have been really popular with the young people, whom have been able to express themselves through the mic, creating their own beats as well as some being involved in radio adverts for the programme
- 1:1 mentoring in 2 schools and 3 hub sites with over 30 young people
- Key deliverers: COB Wheelchair Basketball, Lorrell Dance, Youth to Legend Fencing and Birmingham Playcare Network
- The 'MADFam' volunteer programme has started, with over 20 new volunteers involved
What will 2019 bring?
The plans for MAD in 2019 are endless. There will be surprises throughout the year so keep an eye out across our social media pages…
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/madbirmingham/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/MadBirmingham
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/madbirmingham/
Posted: Fri, 14 Dec 2018 11:43 by Emily Wade
Rumai is one of many supporters for the MAD project.
Every week, he turns up to play with the kids at Holford Drive Sports Hub in Perry Barr.
His personality makes him a great influencer, and one of the young people have even said 'I want to be like Rumai'.
Holford Drive would not be the same without him and that's why he has developed with us, through the #MADFam experience, from a participant to a sessional worker.
You can read more on Rumai below.
You can hear more from Rumai on his experience with MAD Birmingham by watching the video on our YouTube channel below!