Virtual College Safeguarding recently donated £1500 to Streetlife, a youth work charity established in 1982 with the aim of assisting vulnerable young people in the Blackpool area.

Streetlife will use this funding to provide three residential training opportunities for eight Young people, providing intensive, meaningful opportunities for a total of 24 young people.

During the weekend the young people will be involved in the planning, budgeting, cooking, and cleaning. Helping them to develop their communication, relationship and life skills as well as develop their confidence. More structured learning sessions will also take place during the course of the weekend covering topics such as anger management, first aid and budgeting.

Young people will be encouraged to access further learning opportunities once the residential has finished. They can access basic accredited lifeskills training twice a week at the day centre and also complete weekly training sessions to achieve certificates in health and safety, first aid and manual handling. These certificates and the experience of the training raise self-esteem and help the young people to perform better in interviews.

Streetlife provides shelter and support for 400 young people under 26 every year, they aim to do this by enabling and empowering young people to make informed choices about their situation and the issues affecting their lives.

The young people are often estranged from their families due to relationship breakdown, mental health issues, domestic violence or abuse. They can be at risk of sexual exploitation, crime and often need support with their finances. The majority of young people are not in education, employment or training. Streetlife provides individual, holistic support to each young person to ensure that their needs are identified, goals are set and reviewed.

Training providers regularly attend Streetlife and young people are encouraged to apply for courses and apprenticeships. They provide support with CVs, interview techniques, provide appropriate clothing, on-going support in maintaining their employment, education and/or training and emotional support if they are unsuccessful.

Streetlife ‘s staff team is made up of a variety of staff including specialist workers who support young people with a range of issues, for example, victims of crime, substance misuse. We also have a budding team of approximately 30 volunteers including several who are gap year volunteers from Germany, New Zealand, Spain and Ghana.

“We are thrilled that Virtual College has been able to support our work. We really value donations such as these especially during this period of austerity. Charities across the country are feeling the impact of local authority cuts.”

“Blackpool Council has had over £55 million in cuts and has a further £25 million to save in this next financial year. It can no longer provide the £100,000 per annum that Streetlife has historically received. Streetlife has made two part-time staff redundant, we are considering further redundancies and we may need to merge the shelter and day centre into one building”

“We are doing all we can by way of fundraising, applying to big funders eg the lottery and raising our profile locally but ultimately are services could be seriously impacted if we are unsuccessful in meeting this gap.” – Jane Hugo, Streetlife CEO

If you would like to help support the Streetlife project you can donate here: www.justgiving.com/streetlife

Case study
Just over a year ago a young person presented at Streetlife after going through a terrible personal struggle with a life threatening illness, family breakdown and consequently homelessness.

Despite his circumstances this young person has worked closely with Streetlife to not only find his own apartment but also build up many life-skills qualifications and has now started an apprenticeship in Business Administration.

When first presenting it was clear to see this young person was close to rock bottom, he accessed the emergency nightshelter and the day centre and was willing to explore his options. He participated in residential training weekends, lifeskill sesssions, cook and eat groups as well as one-to-one support.

He has now successfully settled into a new life and is rapidly progressing to new levels.

Here is a Youtube link about this young person getting help from the Vicars Relief Fund after Streetlife helped him to fill out an application to them.