WeMindTheGap has rolled out its provision across North Wales

Member Article

Social mobility charity celebrating 10th anniversary expands services with college support

A TRANSFORMATIVE social mobility charity celebrating its 10th anniversary will support and educate even more young people across north east Wales in 2024.

WeMindTheGap has received additional funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to extend its WeDiscover, WeGrow and WeBelong provision from January onwards.

The programmes are backed by Wrexham and Flintshire councils, and supported by Coleg Cambria. 

Led by WeMindTheGap, employability and confidence-building sessions for participants - or ‘Gappies’ - take place at the Jade Jones Pavilion in Flint and the college's Yale site in Wrexham.

With a vision to help those who experienced adverse childhood experiences or from challenging backgrounds to live their “best independent lives”, WeMindTheGap CEO Ali Wheeler said: “The programmes are vital opportunities for young people in Wrexham and Flintshire to gain and develop new skills, improve their confidence, and encourage them to think about what they need for a better future.

“Work placements and projects like this have changed, and we are hearing from employers that some young people are further away from being ready for work than ever before, for a wide range of reasons including low level mental health and social anxiety, and caring responsibilities at home.

“These are worldwide issues, not just problems in Wrexham and Flintshire, which is why we approach things differently and always tailor the sessions we deliver in person and online to meet these challenges, whilst remaining true to our Theory of Change Model which has shown continued success over the last 10 years.”

She added: “We are grateful to Coleg Cambria for their role in helping us to achieve that, the tutors are positive and inspiring, and we are delighted the sessions will now be taking place at Yale as well as Flint, so we can engage with even more young people.”

Gappies are referred to the charity via organisations including JobCentre Plus, local authorities, Careers Wales and The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Cambria’s Curriculum Director for Adult and Work-based Learning Skills Claire Howells has matched dedicated mentors and tutors with individuals and groups to meet their needs, as well as creating bespoke learning plans.

Among them is Basic Skills Lecturer Shell Hotchkiss, who leads Maths and English group lessons in Flint every Thursday.

She said: “This has been a fantastic experience, the Gappies are brilliant and have made so much progress already, their confidence has risen, and you can see the impact being here is having on them."

Those words were echoed by one of the Gappies, Willow Humphreys, from Bagillt, who said: “I’ve really benefited from WeMindTheGap and being able to develop my skills."

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Martin James Williams .

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