We took 10 young people from nine Foyers around the UK to sunny Northamptonshire. They took part in a series of challenging activities and sessions designed to build confidence, develop effective communication and grow leadership skills so that they can become influencers and positive changemakers in their Foyers and communities.

The first challenge was the abseiling wall. It was an adrenaline rush for everyone, but especially for the young people who had a fear of heights! Each young person overcame their fears, anxieties and butterflies to step out over the edge and take the risk. By the end, there were races and upside-down push-ups happening.

The freezing cold river water was the barrier to face on day two for raft building. In three teams, the group first designed and then built rafts to support four people using only a few logs, barrels and pieces of rope. Three rafts made it out onto the water and 2.5 came back! An afternoon of teamwork, engineering and wet shoes.

We kept warm in the evenings with campfires, complete with ghost stories and toasted marshmallows, then back to the lodge for games. On the last day, after a walk around the lakes, Team Power Up shared their thoughts about their Foyers: what they love, what they’d change, and what they’ve learned about other Foyers that they’d like to have in their own. We’ll be sharing these ideas with Foyers directly, and we’ll also be working the views of these young leaders into The Foyer Federation’s strategy for the future.

Here are some of the responses from the young people who came on the trip:

“I was proud that I spoke in front of a crowd of people.”
“I really enjoyed the activities and getting to know the staff and the other young people during the activities. I conquered my fears at my own pace.”
“I enjoyed laughing and feeling like I belong.”
“I’m proud of completing all activities to the best of my ability regardless of my fears and anxieties.”
“I enjoyed getting to communicate with people from different backgrounds.”
“I want to remind myself that my voice should be heard and not to give up!”

The residential may be over for 2019, but there’s plenty more to come from Power Up. We have 10 awards of £250 to give to young people for a project, programme, purchase or course they want to take to deepen their skills and build on their strengths. We also have a new website coming soon with a brand new Trust Youth page, dedicated to the voices, talents and skills of the young people who live in our Foyers.

If you or a young person you work with wants to hear more or get involved, contact Kate at [email protected]. Find out more here.

The Foyer Federation is registered in England and Wales under company number 2699839 at Work.Life, Core Building, 30 Brown Street, Manchester, M2 1DH. The charity is registered under charity number 1040482.
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