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Altogether Now Project Update

11 Mar 2024

2024 saw Ross and Kym start working on the Henry Smith funded 'Altogether Now Project' and since then, the team have been busy planning the vision of our work with SEND young people and making things happen between young people, businesses, education providers, families and the community. The team have been building up a caseload of SEND young people across Leicester and Leicestershire and working with these closely to start building confidence whilst they are transitioning into the world of education, employment or training. This support has so far included travel training, CSCS test revision, CV writing, job searching and exploring voluntary opportunities. It is important to the team that this support remains intensive and holistic to ensure that the young people engaging in support get the help that is needed to fit well into our Power To Change model.

Ross and Kym have also been doing lots of networking, meeting with local authority to discuss Supported Internships, something that the project hopes to be able to develop with Leicestershire Cares' businesses in order to leave a legacy when the funding ends in August 2026. There have also been meetings with business members, education providers, community groups, alternative provisions as well as attending careers fairs and even the launch of an Art exhibition 'Traces' at the Attenborough Arts Centre. The team found this to be extremely empowering as it was a dynamic exhibition of wheelchair printing and giant mark making created by children and young people at local SEND school Ashfield.

Plans for the rest of 2024 include bringing specialist SEND schools to our businesses and set up provisions and partnerships that can hopefully becoming longstanding between local businesses and education providers. The idea behind these provisions are to work closely with those young people who are coming towards the end of their time in education and are facing a 'cliff edge' regarding support. We want these young people to have the opportunity of exploring routes into employment by means of facilitating World of Work Tours, Interview techniques, Careers talks and interactive workshops to increase the skills and aspirations of these young people before they leave the education system and are left with little opportunity. These provisions are also crucial to businesses to change perceptions regarding SEND young people in the workforce as well as ensuring businesses are equipped to support SEND people and meet their needs when coming to work. The team are already planning these provisions with multiple education providers and businesses and are really excited about the opportunities and learning that will come from it.

The Altogether Now Project would also like to look at different ways that our business volunteers can get involved in our work with young people. One particular way that the team are pursuing is business volunteers and young people having the opportunity to interact on a similar level rather than the formal environment of a workplace or across a desk from one another. Across the demographic of the project, it has been clear that a lot of the young people who engage enjoy gaming, and this is a hobby shared by millions worldwide by people of all ages. The project hopes to bring a provision which can allow business volunteers and young people to sit and game together which can bring a whole new perspective to our work at Leicestershire Cares. These opportunities give our young people a chance to develop key social skills and also our business volunteers the chance to engage with our young people in more relaxed environment.

Ross and Kym are looking forward to what the future of the Altogether Now Project may bring in regards to supporting local young people with SEND whilst also having a wider impact on the local community and economy, encouraging more businesses to give this wonderful demographic a chance to prove themselves in the workplace as loyal, hardworking and reliable employees.

If you would like to support this project, find out more or refer a young person, please contact Ross Cox - Altogether Now Project Manager on