July 19th, 2013

The last words…

This is my penultimate blog (James). These are my ‘famous last words’. As you can imagine I have been reflecting over the last 5/6 years at the Canaan Project, the high lights the low lights of my experiences. There are plenty of examples of things I am proud to have been involved in, over all it is great that the charity has survived in such a difficult financial time, this is because people saw the work of the Canaan Project a valuable – which of course it is.

One thing I wish I had done better at recording some of the experiences and stories of those positively affected by the Canaan Project, here is one record of work that has been done by the Canaan Project.

Sadia, Tanisha and Jordan (names changed), were referred by the school counsellor as vulnerable young women with home-based issues, to one of our small groups at  a local high school. We seen them once a week in this context over the last six months where they have taken part in a range of activities to help them explore identity, emotions and family and peer relationships. In addition to the lunch club, we were able to invite them to an after-school club, which they have been attending since April this year with some other young women from their school and the estate. We have worked with them to develop activities building on their interests alongside continuing to explore relevant issues. We are currently doing a t-shirt project, learning a range of t-shirt customising techniques; at the same time, we are getting them to explore identity and how this can be expressed creatively. We were also able to take them on an ice skating trip in the half-term holiday, which was chosen by them, and gave them the opportunity to try something new and develop their confidence. Jordan in particular was extremely nervous and convinced that she wouldn’t be able to ice skate. She reluctantly had a go and despite continually telling herself and everyone else that she was never going to succeed, was skating independently by the end of the session. She sent a text the next day saying “Ice skating were well fun. I love ice skating. Now I know when I try I get somewhere in life.”

Over the course of working with them, Sadia, Tanisha and Jordan’s friendships have been through several ups and downs and through the relationships we’ve built with them and regular contact we’ve had. They have all been referred to, and are accessing statutory support services, which has enabled us to concentrate on helping them maintain positive relationships and reliable support networks.

This work is so important, it may seem small but is so significant – these skills are for the rest of your life.