The TurnAround Project was in line for an Essex wide award last night. WFUK's programme for vulnerable young people in Essex had been nominated for the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service Shield, along with a small number of other youth organisations in the county.
We were all delighted that the hard work put in by members of our home community, a good many of them volunteers with their own full time occupations, was recognised by this nomination, which formed part of this year's High Sherrifs' Awards. Although we did not win the shield this year, the project was successful in winning a £1000 award from the High Sheriffs' Award Fund. This money will be put towards the cost of running the second trail programme for this year's TurnAround participants, who have chosen to spend four days at sea on a Tall Ship with the Morning Star Trust. During this time they will learn new skills, not least of which will be how to live along side one another in close quarters. We are also confident that they will graduate from the experience with their RYA Competent Crew certificate.
TurnAround Project Manager, Edward Charles, and Educational Visit Coordinator Richard Corby from the Foundation were in attendance to receive the Award and Steve Scrutton of BBC Essex who was introducing the awards ceremony opened the mic for Eddie to speak to the gathering about the project.
TurnAround takes young people out of their urban environment to a remote location, like the Isle of Mull, where they have an opportunity to reconnect with nature. Our years of experience in running wilderness trail in the UK and South Africa has shown us that their is a direct correlation between time spent in wilderness and a boost in self esteem. In that knowledge we have taken the steps to build a holistic programme of wilderness experience, reflective coaching, skills based workshops and outdoor activity days to give vulnerable young people in Essex a chance to turn their lives around. We're hugely proud of all the young people in this year's programme and the achievements they have made - each stage of the project has been a milestone in a very personal journey of growth and change for each of them and we applaud the courage they have had to take that voyage of self-discovery.
The achievements of the TurnAround participants will be recognised later this year at a Celebration event on 5th July, being held in Chelmsford, Essex. Plans for the second year of TurnAround - "TurnAround2" are already in development and we will be issuing media and information packs about the opportunities open to young people in the coming weeks.