A PROJECT to help young people make positive life choices has been given £7,500-worth of Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) funding.
Cleveland PCC Steve Turner has given the cash to Stockton-based community interest company Element 1.
The money – part of Serious Violence Funding – will support an innovative pilot called Skiver’s Schools of Listening.
The project aims to help young people make positive life choices, break free from anti-social behaviour and escape a downward spiral into mental illness.
It will work with secondary schools, colleges and virtual schools, placing particular emphasis on young people in the care system, who often face the most difficult challenges and life choices.
The project aims to show young people how they can use their gifts, ideas and creativity to benefit the wider community.
The listening aspect of Skiver’s Schools of Thought is inspired by a long-running prison-based project led by the Samaritans.
The Listeners trains prisoners to become positive role models and listeners to enable them to help their peers. As a result of helping others, prisoners transform their own lives.
Mike Mc McGrother, Founder of Element 1, plans to launch the project with a series of assemblies and performances, telling prisoners’ stories.
Consequences of crime
The stories – frequently told in song – will show young people the real consequences of crime.
Mike hopes hearing the stories will inspire the young people to become part of Skiver’s Schools of Listening.
Young people will be encouraged to become listeners. This will enable them to pinpoint the first signs of distress, isolation and other mental health issues among their peers.
They will receive training to enable them to actively listen and be able to signpost those in need to additional help, advice and support.
Skiver’s Schools of Listening want to create a network of Young Listeners across the Tees Valley.
Cleveland PCC Steve Turner said: “Skiver’s Schools of Listening are prime examples of how creativity can engage young people and get them talking about tricky subjects such as mental health, anti-social behaviour and crime.
“It’s only by talking that young people can share their experiences, create empathy and understanding and start to find their own solutions to problems, which could otherwise be potentially life limiting.
“Becoming involved in anti-social behaviour and criminal activity can seriously limit a young person’s chances of achieving their full potential – as well as having a massive impact on the wider community.
“It’s important that these issues are tackled at the earliest possible opportunity to stop our young people from being drawn into negative and destructive lifestyles.”
Young people will also be encouraged to get together to raise money for the Russ Devereux Headlight Project.
The charity supports families and individuals, who have suffered a traumatic bereavement and suicide.
Skivers’ Schools of Listening builds on the legacy of One More Light (OML.)
The inspiration behind it
OML brought together hundreds of people to sing and send out a message of support for those effected by – or considering – suicide.
Peter ‘Skiver’ McIvor took his own life as the OML project began. His family became heavily involved in the project and used it as a way of coping with the tragedy of his death.
They will also be involved with Skiver’s Schools of Listening along with Mike, the Samaritans, the Russ Devereux Headlight Project and other partners.
To coincide with the project, Mike record Skiver’s Song in memory of Peter, who inspired the project.