What is Active Futures?
Active Futures is a unique service – designed for young people who have completed or are about to leave their educational placements – whether this was residential or day and is particularly important for those who are returning from out of county having been away at residential specialist Colleges or other providers. It adds a new dimension to landscape of opportunity for young people with a learning disability.
Who is it for and how does it work?
Developed specifically for the 19 – 25+ age range the Active Futures provision is about using supported Social Enterprises to deliver meaningful work and opportunities for young people to contribute to the community in which they live. It gives a home to the skills that young people need for long term progression in terms of their personal development using sustainable business vocational placement. It is unique because it includes the owning and running of micro and macro social enterprises developed around sustainable small business models. These can be delivered centrally utilising the facilities on our purpose-built campus and based at our ‘Active Futures’ Enterprise Centre & Hub. We are flexible too, so where opportunities are identified in home areas, enterprise satellites are established. All sessions are carefully planned and recorded and supported by qualified activity / care & support specialists and undertaken in consultation with supporting enterprise leads & mentors from local & national businesses.
What activities do they do?
As a starting point all candidates take part in an induction to the programme that links into individual person-centred plans. This includes careful consideration of both benefits and future ambitions (the aim is to avoid compromising existing arrangements). Active Futures runs in teams of between 8 and 12 with an enterprise leader and supporting facilitators to provide the support and direction for the activities. All young people become ‘team members’ from then on. Each team then enters a ‘start up’ phase and undertake foundation module which follows the ‘Young enterprise’ -Team Enterprise programme model. This provides the framework that delivers the skills to our diverse individuals to ‘come together’ and then to work together. Together, they establish a collective approach that allows them to work properly as a team and develop a shared business over the next 3 months. Learned skills include: turn taking within a working environment, respecting and valuing others, improving the self-esteem of others and yourself, all alongside the work skills & competencies demanded by the business. In doing so team members will also take on a specific role: alongside the cooperative group work that forms the majority of each day’s activity. These include: Managing Director, Marketing & sales, Finance Director, Operations Director, IT Manager, Company secretary and Human Resources.
Once the foundation module is completed our ‘start up’ team members become share-holders in their own social enterprise and business. For a very few this may become a partnered enterprise(Micro) rather than team based (Macro) – this is usually to take advantage of a location near to where the young person lives. Some of the enterprises will be service based such as business support or recycling, while others will focus on manufacture and retail such Arts & Crafts or second hand, furniture upcycling.
We intend to establish a circle of 5 such enterprises by the end of 2018, 10 in 2019 and 15 in 2020 – this will provide opportunity team members to reinvest their shares and move to other enterprises as part of an individual development programme or simply join an additional enterprise. Initially we envisage that each enterprise will operate on one day of the week.
Going Forward – in terms ‘Preparation for Adulthood’ and ‘future destinations’ we use careful planning for each young person through an individually structured programme that stretches across the social enterprises that they undertake, this includes any levels of individual support needed. Overall the aim is to achieve individual objectives based around personal growth, confidence, skills and competencies that allow them to contribute to their local communities. This could be simply through becoming a member of a successful enterprise within the Active Lives framework or by achieving a future destination and purposeful activity that the enterprise can provide. These can range from work placement and volunteering to Supported Living.
Active Futures is all about providing the right support, at the right time, at the right pace to let people grow; our concept is to help individual success through individual achievement.