The Prince’s Trust / Fairbridge Programme helps 13-25 year olds that other organisations find difficult to engage – giving them the motivation, self-confidence and skills they need to change their lives. There are 15 different centres offering the Fairbridge Programme throughout some of the most deprived areas in England. The premises where I visited is located between two large housing estates near the Oval cricket ground, which is also where two of the biggest gangs in Europe operate.
I was shown round and given a real insight into the services they provide. At the beginning of anyone’s involvement with the centre everyone attends a 5 day residential course, be it young person, work assistant, volunteer or management. 80% of the activities on the course take place outdoors, pushing its participants outside their comfort zone through typical activities like white water rafting, ropes course or abseiling. It has been proven to be really successful and gives everyone involved common ground. There are then a series of courses tailored to the individual need, all of which are offered with one aim - to help give them a better and brighter future.
I had also been invited to have lunch with some of the young people who are participating in the programme. They prepared an amazing spread of food, and were more than happy to join us to eat it. They were incredibly open and honest, and most were keen to tell us about what they were doing at Fairbridge. I came away really impressed and thought the centre was fantastic.
As part of our involvement with LandAid, Hawkins\Brown are providing professional advice on other Fairbridge Centres including one in Salford in Manchester, who have recently acquired new premises.