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Finally Future Ready at Unity

Caroline is back to update us on the end of her Future Ready Programme at Unity!

This has been the last half term of our programme with Unity and we have had a real focus on their social action projects.

The boys group or the Rapscallion Repellers were focussed on crime. It is something they felt was really important to people of their age. Three- quarters of the group had been affected by bike crime and knife crime in Blackpool was something they were all concerned was becoming more and more of a problem particularly amongst teenagers.

They came up with their name and designed a logo:

They then had badges and stickers made up of the logo.

They decided to launch their project with an Easter Egg raffle at school – all the prizes had a Rapscallion Repeller sticker on them, and they gave out badges too to generate interest.

After a lot of debate as to what they could do about this they decided to create a leaflet that could be given out at school and shared on the school website. They also promoted awareness of the issue using social media posts:

The leaflet they wanted to produce contained a wide variety of information on it – facts about crime in Blackpool but most important to them was sections on where good and bad places were to leave your bike as even though one of the local parks had recently installed bike safe storage, they knew that these weren’t safe and could easily be broken into! They also planned a section on the best, most value for money bike locks on the market. For knife crime they had done quite a bit of research into where this was happening and where knife bins were for safe disposal of knives which they felt was really important information to share within their community. The leaflet is still receiving its final touches and then they hope to be able to share it.

The girls’ group – Unity Fresh focussed on the cost-of-living crisis and in particular the rising cost of food and feeding a family. Both groups identified this as an issue, but the girls chose to focus their project on this and felt it was something lots of families in the Unity community were struggling with.

They came up with their name and designed a logo:

They then had badges and stickers made up of the logo.

They decided to launch their project with an Easter Bunny giveaway at school – all the bunnies gave away Unity Fresh stickers and badges along with the chocolate to generate interest in their project.

They decided they wanted to produce some food bags that would feed a family of 4/5 with a healthy meal for a reasonable price. They researched recipes and costs as well as thinking about whether goods were perishable or had to be kept refrigerated – all vital skills in their project management. They eventually settled on two recipes for their food bags that came in within their budget – tuna pasta bakes and a vegetarian chilli. They priced up each recipe so that it came in under £5 per bag allowing them to create 20 food bags. Each one had a recipe card with method on it as they wanted them to cook as a family as well as enjoy it as a family meal. They made up the bags and then the pastoral team distributed them to the lucky families.

They were asked to send back photos of the finished recipes and we had some amazing feedback from the families and young people who had loved this. Unity Fresh are also producing a series of recipe cards to share with the community which follow their tag line of fresh food at reasonable prices. The girls were so proud of what they had achieved, and I am incredibly proud of them and their commitment to the issue.

Since we completed this, they and the school really want to try and continue this and so the girls with the support of Mr Mashiter (HOY) and their headteacher Mr Cooke have written a letter to all their local supermarkets asking them to support them in being able to continue this project and making it a regular thing they can do in school. Fingers crossed they get the support they need!

On the final session last week both groups worked hard on their final presentations where they showcased their amazing work to each other, Mr Mashiter their Head of Year, Mr Cooke their Headteacher and Beth (CEO of PIE). They were really nervous as they presented on the large screen and in the assembly hall but I was incredibly proud of them all for the amazing work they have put in not just for the presentations but over the 7 months I have worked with them culminating in these fab Social Action projects which will hopefully have a lasting legacy in the Unity High community.

We also finally managed to get the girls group trip to Manchester in last Friday. (Train strikes and exam clashes meant we had to delay this from February!) They travelled on the train to Manchester on a gloriously sunny day. We then walked down Oxford Road to MMU where we were greeted by Sophie from the Q-Step Sociology department and great friend of PIE. The girls had a tour of the building and then a really interesting talk from Sophie about what their department does which she showcased through a discussion on gender inequality. This created some brilliant discussion and really got them thinking about what sociology is about and how we can look at the stories behind the statistics. They then got to go in a lecture theatre and had the chance to present to us all using the microphone. They chose to read out the letter they had created to send to the supermarkets which was so lovely to hear. We then walked up to St Peter’s square looking at some of the sights of Manchester along the way. We got the tram to Media City where we had lunch at Pizza Express and then a tour around Salford Quays and Media City ending with a milkshake and a sit down on the deckchairs near the Blue Peter Garden. We then travelled back by tram to the train at Deansgate for the journey back to Blackpool. I’m really going to miss these students – they have been a pleasure to work with!

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