On Thursday 29th September 2016, St Basils celebrated a record number of young residents graduating from St Basils accredited Life Skills programme with a Level 1 OCN qualification at a prestigious event held at Edgbaston Cricket Ground. The format was a departure on previous years. Those graduating sat at Awards Dinner style round tables with their Support Workers who have coached them through the programme. This new format was aimed at emphasising how special this occasion is and how proud young people should feel of their achievements.
Opening the event Learning, Skills and Work Manager Tamaan Wilkinson said:
“Life Skills continues to upskill, educate and inform young people, equipping them with the tools they need to maintain their independence.
This year, we launched St Basils’ Pathway unit, which enables young people to gain further credits, evidencing the progress they make during their time at St Basils. We’re always looking for ways in which we can improve the Life Skills offer and the coming year will see us looking at how we can expand the programme to offer a broader range of qualifications, including higher level qualifications.
I’d like to thank our valued partners and funders, your support ensures we’re able to focus on the work that tonight shows, is making a difference in the lives of young people. I also want to recognise the hard work that our staff dedicate to the progress of young people. Lastly and most importantly to every one of you in your cap and gowns tonight, be proud of yourselves. Tonight’s graduation is just one of your many accomplishments to come in life so enjoy yourselves as this is your night”.
As well as a performance from a talented young man who played “I’m Yours” on the Keyboards and the handing out of the certificates, one young person took to the stage to share her story with those present.
Kristie, 18, who has recently moved on to her own flat, had only just turned 16 when she came to live at Bromsgrove Foyer. She said:
“I first became homeless as I struggled with life at home whilst still at school. There was lots of arguments at home, and I didn’t get along with my mums boyfriend, the stress of my home situation led to me making some wrong life choices, this made things at home worse and I ended up in a vicious circle.
When I first came to St Basils it was scary. I had never lived alone before, so it felt like I needed to learn everything and start again. I started working with my support worker Emily. I was very guarded and didn’t want her to judge me. When I realised that she didn’t and she was there to help and guide me, I started to open up more and then saw how helpful her support was. She then introduced me to Life skills. I studied three modules they were:
These were all relevant to me and it was a practical way for me to work through issues I was having. I first completed the drugs and alcohol module. I used to use drugs as a coping mechanism when I felt low. Completing this module made me realise that this isn’t the way to hide and there are better things I can do and achieve without them. I realised I could work through things better with the help of staff, and I could use other tools to deal with feeling low.
The next module I studied was sex and relationships. I had struggled with relationships in the past, often finding it hard to identify what was a positive relationship. When I completed the module I realised I didn’t need to be in a relationship with someone to feel special and wanted. I didn’t need to be friends with toxic people just for the sake of having loads of people there and it meant more to me to have a few close friends who I can really trust and depend on. I also learned how to build a strong positive relationship with my family, and how to let go of the past.
This linked in well with my final module which was Confidence. I always come across as confident and bubbly but this was often a front that I put on to hide how I really felt. When I completed this module, I tested myself by carrying out the tasks and giving myself a goal to work towards and achieve, this was to finish my Level 2 in Hair Dressing which I have done. Since completing this module I can see my own strengths and abilities it helped me to realise that I can achieve anything I want to and I am determined to reach my goals.
My plans for the future are to proceed with my hairdressing to a higher level so that one day I can open my own salon. I am now working on my Level 3. I’m working in a salon and I have my own cliental. It feels really nice for clients to call the salon and ask for me to do their hair, it makes me realise that I am good at what I do and all my hard work is paying off.
I would like to finish by saying thank you to the staff at Bromsgrove, thank you for supporting me and guiding me in the right direction. Thank you for picking me up when I was down and being on my side even when I was wrong. I love you all and am truly grateful for all you have done and I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for you giving me a second chance. You will always be in my heart”.