The Key is a North East based charity which aims to ‘create a world were all young people are inspired to believe in themselves and achieve their full potential’. The Key is all about helping young people to take responsibility for something that matters to them by using simple yet effective framework to ‘ignite their passions and practically develop their skills for real world success’.
The process involves working with small groups of young people, aged 11-25, and supporting them in thinking, planning, doing, and evaluating their own projects. The group come together to develop and present their ideas to a panel, who decide if they should be granted £250 for the activity. Whether this be a trip to Jump 360 with the obligatory McDonald’s afterwards of course, a day out ice-skating, bowling, or even a social action project benefitting the community, the options are endless and are all young person led. Once Stage 1 is complete, the group can go on to stage 2 where they can plan a bigger project for £500, Stage 3 is £1000 and Stage 4 is worth £2500 for a Social Action Project.
The Key framework is embedded throughout and can be scored through a Key Skills Wheel where young people can rate themselves. Often, young people start the process not knowing what is meant by something that may seem simple to you and I, such as ‘Negotiating’, one of the Key Skills. Yet throughout the project the young people may face challenges, one friend may want to dine at KFC, yet the other wants Burger Kin, very easily a middle ground is met as the group communicate between themselves and the young people are overjoyed to learn that they have ‘negotiated’.
Linx Youth Project have worked with The Key for several years in different areas of Middlesbrough in our youth clubs and Secondary Schools, with one group getting all the way to Stage 4 and using the funds to organise a Winter Wonderland event, hiring an Ice Rink and a Grotto. Even Santa himself attended!
Since 2017, the Key groups that Linx have worked with have been granted a whopping combined total of £12,750! We think that this is amazing and will continue working with The Key to help Middlesbrough’s young people achieve their potential. Our current Key Group in Grove Hill has only just begun, be sure to check our Social Media to see the progress that the group are making each week.
Mental Health Awareness Week
This year, nature was the theme for Mental Health Awareness week with the aim to inspire more people to connect with nature in new ways, noticing the impact that this connection can have for their mental health.
Linx’s Climate Action Middlesbrough teamed up with HeadStart to deliver a meaningful session for our young people to connect with nature and reflect on their own mental health. We met a group of 9 young people and took them on a nature trail in Fairy Dell Park in Coulby Newham. Using the Huntee app, where you look for checkpoints under a timer around local areas, it felt like an adventure going from checkpoint to checkpoint while working as a team. Along the way, the group would identify natural items in their surroundings which boosts their mood, one young person said they like the feeling of being free, another said they like the vibrant colours in the flowers as it makes them smile.
Although the weather meant we had to finish early and run for cover, everybody had fun, understood the benefits of outdoor activities for positive emotional wellbeing, connected with nature, exercised, had a moment to reflect, and built new relationships within staff, nature, and each other. The group really enjoyed the session and said they would like to do it again and even show their family around the trail.