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Education Update

The Accompanying Project for key times of transition

Change can be tough. But it becomes that bit easier when there’s somebody by your side.

Such is the ethos of Bath YFC’s latest schools ministry. The Accompanying Project comprises mulit-disciplinary support for young people as they travel through potentially difficult times in their lives. Its vision is “to see a child be all that they can be” by offering a listening ear, helping hand and supportive voice.

James Vaughton, director of Bath YFC, says: “Accompanying is hard to define, because it does not set out with a specific situation or crisis to address but sets out to build a relationship. The ethos behind accompanying is that it is positive relationships that bring about positive change and transformation in the life of a person.”

One of the most obvious times is the big step from Primary to Secondary School; a time highlighted by research into Education as making a big impact on a child’s social development and academic achievement. If this transition is handled badly, the young person runs the risk of poor outcomes in their school career and later life. The Accompanying Project team set out to bridge this major educational move, beginning conversations with Year 6 and continuing with the young person until at least the end of the first term of secondary school, with easy access to further contact through a range of opportunities beyond.

The project uses several approaches in its youth work to achieve different, essential ends. For example, one to one activities are employed to build confidence and relationship between young person and adult. Group work and positive activities – whether that’s a cooking club, a sports team or a lunchtime group – were used to help young people interact with peers, develop skills but also provide a relaxed environment to talk and share with others their feelings about big life issues.

James says, “When we set out on this journey we felt that if the Accompanying Project was to make a difference and to offer something new it had to be as genuinely child centred as possible and that positive relationships are the foundation for positive change. Those preconceptions have only been confirmed by the one year pilot project.”

Research into the project’s effectiveness have shown a marked improvement in levels of its young people’s wellbeing and development, making Bath YFC keen to continue with the project and offer support to others keen to use Accompanying as an approach within their youth work. If you would like more information on this, please contact James Vaughton at Bath YFC – james@bathyfc.co.uk.