Our future work with disabled young people
London Youth has been running Activenture - a programme of residential adventure weeks for young people with disabilities - since 2000. At the start of 2013 in line with the development of London Youth's new organisational strategy, we began a review of the Activenture programme with a view to developing and improving our overall offer to young people with disabilities. We have had passionate input to this review from families, volunteers, local authorities and staff, have examined our current offer in detail and understood what other organisations are doing in the field. We would like to thank everyone who has fed into this process.
As a result of the review we have decided to stop running Activenture weeks, while at the same time increasing our capacity to deliver residential and other programmes for groups of young people with disabilities. This decision has been influenced by a number of significant external factors including the changing needs of young people, the increasingly holistic family and therapeutic approaches that denote best practice in this area and the transition to personal budgets.
As a network of 400 community based organisations serving young people, werecognise that we can make the biggest difference for disabled young people and their families by working in partnership, with and through other organisations. We want to mainstream and improve our offer for disabled young Londoners across all of ourprogrammes, beyond the relatively small numbers of young people who have previously been able to benefit from Activenture.
Creating opportunities for disabled young people to develop their confidence, character and skills continues to be a priority for London Youth. Instead of delivering a bespoke Activenture disability programme, we will:
- Ensure all of London Youth’s programmes across sport, youth action and employability (as well as any emerging new programmes) engage young people with disabilities in both targeted and inclusive opportunities, developing a team of inclusion champions across the organisation to lead this work
- Improve the opportunities for groups of young people with disabilities to learn and enjoy themselves at our residential centres Hindleap and Woodrow, developing our spaces, programme, skills and marketing to better meet the needs of all young people
- Support our youth club members to share learning and best practice on working with young disabled people, including fostering stronger relationships between non-disabled and disabled young people through a dedicated support network and through embedding expertise within our training and quality assurance offer
- Ensure young people with disabilities continue to be represented on Dare London, our youth advisory board, and at our Trustee Board, to ensure the voice of disabled young people is heard and acted upon
Activenture has delivered strong outcomes for young people throughout its long history, increasing the confidence and independence of disabled young people, establishing friendships between disabled and non-disabled young people and offering valued respite to parent and carers. We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has committed their time and care to Activenture and to making this possible, as well as to the young disabled guests who have made Activenture such a special project.
At London Youth, we hope to take forward the learning from Activenture to deliver even more change for disabled young Londoners and their families in the coming years.
A number of families have been asking about other organisations that offer unaccompanied holidays similar to Activenture. We are suggesting that you speak to Kim Willing at ‘3H - Helping Hands for Holidays.’ Their website is www.3hfund.org.uk/contact.php and they do run similar holidays to Activenture. You can also try www.jumbulance.org.uk. Parents and carers will of course need to do their own research on whether the opportunities that they offer are suitable for your child.