Friday, April 13, 2007

Turn Around 2007

The Essex Chronicle newspaper recently carried an article entitled "Going Wild in Rehab" which focused on our TurnAround 2007 pilot programme for Essex-based youth. We are delighted to have the support of the Chronicle, which will be featuring regular updates as the programme develops.

Journalist Helen Orrell interviewed Project Manager Edward Charles, who gave readers and outline of the kinds of young people that we are seeking to work with and what we hope to achieve:

"These children are on the edge and if they don't get positive intervention quickly they could turn to drugs, alcohol abuse or even crime.

"They are perhaps children who have not made it at school - kids which don't easily fit into the school curriculum but may have some hidden talents that don't get brought out through normal schooling.

"They may be children who are at the point where they are ready to come out of foster care - but there is no real after-care programme, or they may have behavioural problems. We hope to get them interested in the environment and build enthusiasm by being out in the open air.

"They are a privileged few who are being given this as an opportunity to change their lives and they need to understand they can make a way for themselves in the world through their own efforts."

"We want to teach them an appreciation of the environment whereby we point out their old lifestyle is destructive and not the one they want to follow.

Participants in the pilot will spend nine months working through the programme, which will include a Wilderness Trail at the start to develop a bond within the team and the Life Coaches who will be supporting them and then later they will set out for South Africa to face the challenges of a Wilderness Trail in a completely new environment, supported by two trail guides.
Eddie continued:

"They will have good walking boots and good outdoor clothing, rations and stoves - all other 21st Century items are out of the window.

"It's a form of rehab or eco-therapy, getting out in the wild spaces where there are no mobile phones, no toilets or showers.

"You have to cook your own food and not see anyone else other than four or five people and the benefit of that is you connect with the environment and bond closely with your group."

Similar schemes have run in high crime areas in South Africa since 1954 and have had an 85 per cent success in keeping teenagers out of prison.

The Foundation is still seeking support from partners, volunteers and sponsors. To become a life coach or make a donation, email info@wildernessfoundation.org.uk or call 01245 443073.


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