Stepping Up to Blackpool
The new Step Up Transition Project has begun! We run this returning project in collaboration with the Neighbourhood Inclusion Team from Stockport Council. Students for this project are selected by their Primary Schools, identified as benefitting from some additional support during their transition to High School. We provide support in this area by building on their confidence, supporting them to try new things and push their boundaries, in a safe and supportive setting.
We started in July, and already have three sessions under our belt:
Session 1 – Bowling and ice breaker games at The Light in Stockport.
Session 2 – Team Building Challenge Day which took place at the Guide Hut, Marple.
Session 3 – Day Trip to Blackpool!
We’re here to tell you about the most recent session in Blackpool, the aim of the trip being to encourage our young people to face their fears, exercise some independence and to try somewhere new! Many of the current transition students haven’t had a ‘typical’ last few years in Primary School, often missing out on trips and experiences, so we hope to fill that gap for them. This year’s trip has also included some special guests, a number of peer mentor students who have undertaken this programme in previous years. It was a great opportunity for the mentors to take on that role and to talk to the new students about their experiences, while being able to offer some real advice!
The day started as we met at the station for the train to Blackpool. As predicted, most of the packed lunches were eaten before we got as far as Piccadilly! We had a lovely sing song on the train acquiring a few friends and fans along the way.
On arrival, we had planned to head to the beach but the tide was in! Instead, we enjoyed a walk on prom, taking in the scenery and watching a few dance troupes. We feared Antony may run away and become a new member! We really enjoyed the piers and the sunshine.
After lunch, we headed to the top of the Blackpool Tower. Each with wobbly legs, our young people worked hard to reach new heights. It was a beautiful clear day and we could see all the way to the Lake District. On the way up we dealt with lots of nerves, but we are so pleased that all the students faced their fears with support, and truly challenged themselves. Everyone took part, making it up to the top and finishing by walking over the glass floor. Chance are, Beth & Antony were the most scared! On top of this achievement, we all learnt a bit about Victorian Seaside History, and the 4D Cinema was really entertaining.
We finished the day with Ice Creams and a paddle in the sea, followed by some much needed water, a stick of rock and nap on the train home. A really fun time was had by all, a typical British summer experience!
Elaine (Neighbourhood Inclusion Team) had this to say:
“When taking the young people out of their familiar setting and onto a trip like this, it means that we’re seeing these young people in a different environment where they’re dealing with new things and new people. To watch that positive growth in such a short space of time is something to be really pleased and proud about.
My stand-out moment came when dealing with one student in particular. She was absolutely clear that she wasn’t going to go up the tower, and even though we provided support and gentle encouragement it was she, herself, who put in the work to move her mindset to a different place and overcome the fear. She not only went up, she went onto the glass viewing platform, resulting in feeling really proud of herself. I felt really proud too! It made my day. Her courage and happiness at the result was my outstanding moment of the trip.”
One of the Peer Mentors’ parents got in touch about the programme and we were so touched, we had to share:
“PIEs high school transition programme has been amazing for my son. He is the oldest of 3, the first to move up and he struggles with anxiety. The meet ups and trips out have built his confidence by allowing him to be more independent, making new friends and being responsible for himself. He has no idea though as he is so busy having a great time!!! It's been lovely to see him welcome others who have joined the group and I think the experiences have provided him with great skills and positive relationships that are really important at this stage. Thanks Beth & PIE.”
We are looking forward to seeing the group again at the Drop-in next Thursday @ Start Point, followed by another great experience at Stockport County FC on Sept 17th, (tickets very kindly donated by Stockport Community Trust).