A sightseeing tour of London on board an open topped bus, ice-skating, graffiti art, nail care workshops, and a cinema trip are amongst the many activities enjoyed by a group of Hackney students this summer, as part of Inspire!’s work to support and engage vulnerable and at-risk young people.
All of the young people took part in Inspire!’s Keep On Track mentoring programme during the last school year. They received academic and pastoral support as well as advice on progression routes – their next steps after leaving school. Funded by the European Social Fund and Skills Funding Agency, the mentoring programme culminated in a series of activities over the school summer holidays, to keep participants motivated and engaged in preparation for their return to school or college in September.
The group, aged between 14 and 17, met up at Inspire!’s offices in Dalston Lane on Tuesday 20 August before setting off for a tour of London. “We wouldn’t be doing much at home so it’s good to have something to do,” said Shaista Jon (16). “So far, I’ve enjoyed the ice-skating best as I haven’t done that before but I’m really looking forward to going on the bus as I’ve only been to central London once before.”
The weather was kind as the students, accompanied by Inspire! staff, climbed aboard the 242 bus heading for central London. There was time for a quick peek inside St Paul’s Cathedral before heading off to their open-topped tour bus.
Dorothy Hodgson, Engagement Programme Manager at Inspire! said: “The summer programme forms part of a much wider initiative that we are running with European Social Fund money to ensure these young people stay engaged in education, employment or training. Bringing them together for some positive and creative activities over the long summer holiday period not only stops them becoming bored and disinterested, it widens their horizons and means staff have the opportunity to discuss and offer support with the transition back into education, employment or training at the end of the summer.
The final week of the six-week summer schedule includes a trip to Brighton, with fish and chips on the beach, and a final celebration barbecue before term begins.