Despite Cheltenham’s national reputation for affluence, it is also an area of challenging social circumstances. The Rock is situated inside the St Peter’s Ward, where 10% of pupils are eligible for free school meal (MAIDeN Gloucestershire Neighborhood Profiles 2012). Figures from Department for Education showed that 537 pupils in Gloucestershire secondary schools had received one or more exclusion in 2013. Currently Gloucestershire has the third highest level of NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) young people within the South West, with Cheltenham having the highest level of NEETs within the county.
The Rock was set up as a major strategic youth project at a time when all front line youth services were withdrawing in Gloucestershire. The redundant church of St Peter’s, its hall and grounds were given by Gloucester Diocese to enable this pioneering project to happen.
Since January 2013 The Rock has been working with over 13 different schools or agencies. These include the three main secondary schools in the area and their feeder schools. The Rock also works with the Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Alternative Provision School (formerly St Georges) and the Virtual School that supports looked after foster care children. We also work with Social Services, Families First, Inspiring Families, the Police and the Aston Project locally. Agencies are increasing and renewing the work we are doing. Projects combine engaging positive activities (such as team building, photography, cooking, film making, mountain biking, community projects and music making) with experienced individual support. We work flexibly with schools and other agencies to create engaging and effective programmes.
The Rock often work with young people for 8 week stretches but this could be longer and at a higher level if necessary. All beneficiaries are made aware of the community youth work and encouraged to attend on top of their ‘formal’ attendance. The Rock staff have acted as an appropriate adult if a young person is arrested or attended hearings at court etc…
Young People Outcomes For 2011-2012
The Rock takes a flexible approach with all projects as no young person is the same and needs to be treated as an individual.
57 Young people developed skills to plan, prepare and cook a meal on a limited budget
32 young people took, edited, printed and displayed photographs for a photography exhibition.
31 young people completed community action project – helping the wider community.
9 young people undertaken First Aid training and received certificates
5 young people passed Wider Key Skills Level 1 (Improving Own learning / Working With Others)
4 young people passed Level 1 and 1 at Level 2 GoMTB Mountain Bike Qualification.
4 young people developed childcare skills to plan and run a session for a 2 year old.
2 young people achieved Level 1 climbing award.
All young people were supported to work towards targets such as: addressing eating disorders, stopping criminal behaviour, working through bereavement.
What difference can you make?
By supporting a team member, specific project or adding to general funds you will enable The Rock the ability to continue providing exciting yet challenging activities to each young person we engage with.
Why support The Rock?
Many of the Grants we apply to have an interest in the Cheltenham/Gloucestershire area. The Rock is a locally based registered charity that builds strong lasting working relationships with local young people. Our mission is to provide a safe space for young people to develop their spiritual, emotional and physical well-being. Regardless of their faith or background we offer challenging activities from urban street sports to essential life skills. By supporting The Rock you are giving local young people the opportunity to create their own tool kit of skills and abilities, which they can use now and in the future.
Many of The Rocks skilled and experienced team work across both the daytime and evening work to enable consistency and continuity of support for young people.
You support will enable this work to continue, The Rock to forward plan and create a sustainable facility for young people.
What do you receive?
The Rock has strong working relationships with the local media including; The Echo, Radio Gloucestershire, Radio Winchcombe, Cheltenham magazines and more. We have over 600 followers on twitter (many of whom enjoy retreating our feeds), our Facebook posts regularly reach 200 views and our likes are ever increasing. We are also happy to provide information of support via our website, including a web links.
The Rock produces a newsletter every term updating our readers on events, activities and opportunities. Our readers would love to read about your support, many work locally, attend local churches, pass on information through word of mouth and all support the activities we provide to local young people.