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Course helps young people turn lives around

Two groups of young people who were not in education or work turned their lives around after attending courses funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset.

The Building Self Belief course, developed by the Wimborne-based Colour Works Foundation, was aimed at developing young people’s social and emotional skills and boosting their confidence.

It was provided to small groups of young people who had not had a positive experience of school and had left with few, if any GCSEs.

Many had isolated themselves from society and suffered from poor mental health as well as living with conditions such as ADHD or Asperger’s Syndrome.

The courses, carried out in partnership with The AIM Community and The Prince’s Trust, helped the young people learn how to build stronger and healthier relationships while also providing practical skills such as interview techniques.

Feedback from the Prince’s Trust showed that, from one group of young people who took part in the course, two had gone on to take part in a further course about setting up their own businesses, four had gone on to gain jobs which they were enjoying, while others had taken part in training, volunteering or taking up college places.

From another group who had taken part, a three-month follow up found that six were in employment and two were in higher education. 

Providing feedback on the course, the team leader from The Prince’s Trust programme said: “The Colour Works Foundation had a big impact on these young people reaching these goals because they improved their confidence and understanding of themselves.”

One young person who took part in the course said: “It not only highlighted my strengths but it highlighted to everyone that they didn’t need to put on a persona that is solely to impress others and make us feel like we need to change to fit into modern society. I learnt that to fit in and be treated as you want to, you just simply need to be yourself.”

Liz Davies, programme manager for The Colour Works Foundation, said: “Some of the young people were quite isolated when they came to us. Part of what we’re doing is to get them to understand themselves and other people better, help them interact with others and learn how to build relationships.

“We’re trying to give them long term skills. It’s about not just preparing them for interviews and employment, but to enable them to stay in employment.”

The organisation now hopes to develop their work by continuing the courses as well as creating a graduate development post staffed by a young person who has taken part in the course and gone on to take part in higher education.

Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill said: “Sadly, some young people do slip through the cracks and find themselves not in work, education or training – which is not a good situation, either for them or for society. I’m proud of supporting this project, which has done an excellent job of finding new ways to help young people achieve their potential.”


The course was funded by the Safer Dorset Fund Community Grant Scheme, which enables innovative projects to get off the ground. These projects have to demonstrate they provide a benefit to people living in Dorset and help make the county a better and safer place.

More information about how community groups can apply for funding can be found here.

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