March Spotlight On Local Good Causes
Players of People's Postcode Lottery have raised more than £1 Billion for thousands of charities and local good causes. Each month we will focus on the great work local charities and good causes are achieving throughout our communities.
Ocean Youth Trust Scotland
Ocean Youth Trust Scotland is a leading youth charity and floating outdoor education centre. Through adventurous residential sailing voyages and the help of hundreds of volunteers, the Trust supports young people aged 12-25 to realise their true potential.
Sailing between James Watt Dock in Greenock, Inverclyde through to Oban's North Pier, the charity delivers residential sailing trips to over 700 young people from a diverse range of backgrounds each year.
The Trust works with schools, young carers, youth groups, young people with additional support needs, sailing clubs and many more across Scotland.
The residential sailing trips last for up to seven days and provide an ideal environment for learning new skills, building friendships, and gaining confidence, with participants collectively securing over 1,000 qualifications.
Caitlin Davidson, Fundraising Manager said, "Thanks to funds raised by Players of People's Postcode Lottery we were able to buy a new hybrid transit van. An essential part of our kit, the van allows us to transport volunteers and staff, and vital equipment such as sails between our storage containers and the boats."
Following his residential course, one 15-year-old said, "My confidence has increased 100% and I have been able to control my anxiety. My experience on the boat has helped me develop lots of skills that will be useful to talk about when applying for a job. I feel proud of myself for going out and doing something different."
In 2022, the success of the Trust was recognised by Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce when they scooped the ICON Award for Diversity and in December last year, they were presented with the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award.
Building Self-esteem and Resilience Among Children and Young People
Beyond the Horizon offers therapeutic support to children and young people dealing with bereavement, parental separation, and domestic abuse.
Working in schools and the community across Birmingham, the charity helps children and young people to manage trauma and loss, improve their mental health, improve relationships and increase their confidence, self-esteem and resilience.
Jenny Graham, CEO at Beyond the Horizon said, "I am very proud to work with the most amazing team who are passionate about the work we do and the difference it can make to children's lives. Through Counselling, Play Therapy, Art Therapy, Therapeutic Parenting Programmes and Parent Support, we offer a variety of services to help children affected by complex childhood experiences."
A parent of a child receiving support said, "My daughter has progressed a long way since she started her sessions. She felt very supported by the therapist and was able to put in place the strategies needed to be able to manage her feelings."
Successes over the last year include an 85% reduction in mental health concerns, 86% reporting higher self-esteem and 93% of children and young people talking more about their feelings.
One head teacher said, "The service has consistently met the needs of some of our most vulnerable pupils."
'Early' Matters Most When It Comes To Eating Disorders
A charity set up to help people with eating disorders says early intervention is the key to successful outcomes.
Norfolk-based Eating Matters has recently seen a doubling in demand for its services and more than 4,500 counselling sessions were administered during 2022. The charity has also moved to larger premises thanks to funding from players of People's Postcode Lottery.
Yolande Russel, CEO of Eating Matters said, "The biggest measure of success is in our service users' outcomes. If we are able to support people at the earliest opportunity, they have more chance of recovery and living a life free from intrusive eating disorder behaviours."
One mum whose daughter had been assessed then admitted to hospital straight away said that without the team at Eating Matters recognising how unwell her daughter was she would have deteriorated rapidly, potentially putting her life in danger.
Feedback from the service is showing the direct impact the counselling is having in helping people live better lives.
One service user said, "I have reached a point where I know that going back to the comforts of my eating disorder is not the answer and it is never going to be. Where I am now has a lot to do with the help and support I received from you guys. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Success Measured In 'Miles of Smiles'
Working to attract young talent to the performing arts while developing a sense of community is what the Empire Electric Palace does in spades.
Open to 8-14-year-olds with no experience of performing, they join a week-long workshop learning the ropes with professional coaching in drama, singing and technical skills. They put that all into action with a live performance to their local community in Wear Valley, County Durham.
Trustee Malcolm Read said, "We champion the arts by engaging with the community. We've grown from an audience of 35 people seven years ago to over 1,000 this year and none of that would have happened without the support of People's Postcode Lottery. We measure success in participation and 'miles of smiles' with people of all ages laughing and smiling together, it is simply amazing."
One young performer's life was transformed. He was often withdrawn in school and his Headteacher expected he would not complete the workshop. He has since gained confidence and has gone from being 'lost in the crowd' to talking in class about his experience and making it to the top of the class.