Invest St Helens
St Helens Future Generation Programme
Briefly describe the initiative/ project/service; please include your aims and objectives
The Future Generation Programme is an innovative and unique offer developed to utilise the Invest St Helens platform to improve the lives of young people in St Helens. Invest St Helens’ strategic aim is to promote St Helens as a place to live work and grow, via nurturing aspiration, ambition and pride. We recognise that investment in the town means much more than economic growth, and that there is a need to incorporate social and community cohesion in the work we do, particularly in relation to young people. There are over 100 local businesses, partners and schools signed up as Invest St Helens Ambassadors, they each make the pledge to work collaboratively to deliver inspirational and motivational programmes to young people with the aim of raising their aspiration and ambition. A series of objectives have been identified:
• To raise aspiration and ambition
• To link schools and businesses together
• To link young people to the future economy
• To create a positive perception of St Helens
• To ensure every child has a chance
We consider that this partnership is a unique venture, not previously undertaken in any other localities. It demonstrates that the local communities of St Helens are working together to make a difference.
What are the key achievements?
In its first 12 months the programme has been a huge success & delivered many outcomes. The St Helens Ambassadors Programme generated in excess of £40,000 in its first year. A number of projects within the Future Generation Programme have been delivered including:
• Raising £10,000 to deliver Christmas for Children in Care
• Creating 150 personalised Christmas hampers for Care Leavers
• Delivered 12 week confidence building programme for all ages
• ‘Believe & Achieve’ careers programme delivered to all St Helens Secondary Schools
• Delivered ‘Rewrite the Stars’ Celebration event for all LAC/Care Leavers in St Helens
• Commissioned Consultants to rewrite the Curriculum in St Helens to bridge gaps identified
• Job interview preparation and guidance provided for Care Leavers
• Guaranteed interview scheme implemented with local businesses for Care Leavers
• Mentoring Programme developed for school leavers with local champions
In addition to these substantial outputs, there’s also significant outcomes in terms of raising aspiration, ambition, confidence, self-esteem, mental health, & self worth. Long term savings to the LA and NHS will be significant as we predict that these early interventions will reduce demand on services.
What are the key learning points?
There have been many lessons learned throughout our Invest St Helens journey to innovation, the most important aspect has to be developing a trusting relationship between the young people concerned and the Programme Manager. We recognised the need to appoint one named manager to oversee this programme and to build the relationships with each young person. This was so important, given the chaotic background many of these young people have experienced, they have obviously found it difficult to put their trust in officials before now, and therefore this is why it was important to keep a constant point of contact.
It was important to get full support from St Helens Ambassadors and the St Helens Economy Board, a full presentation was given to raise awareness and gather momentum, this gained full support from all involved, and led to the Chair of the Economy Board agreeing to act as a champion for the Future Generation Programme. We believe that any Local Authority should be able to replicate this programme, and as a starting point I would recommend to begin by engaging with local business networks to build relationships and foster their social responsibilities within their own region.
We believe that this is a innovative programme that is not replicated by any other Local Authority. This simply could not have been delivered without the excellent collaborative working between the many partners involved. This unique programme demonstrates the strongest partnership between a Local Authority and its private sector business network to deliver a community based initiative that will change the lives of Looked After Children and Care Leavers in St Helens.
In previous times such activities would’ve been exclusively the responsibility of the Local Authority, in times of austerity this programme enables funding to come from other sources.
The cost of this programme to date has been met by community contributions, local businesses and schools, rather than the public purse, and in the long term the savings to the local authority and health services will be significant as these young people grow we predict that these early interventions will develop a generation of people who will not be dependent on local authority and health service budgets.
The success of the first year has meant that we have developed this as a full time Programme in St Helens that is delivered all year round, this is testament to the outstanding partnerships in place in St Helens.