Marlborough launch for new Wiltshire based charity aiming to help young people
An enthusiastic audience of well over a hundred attended the launch of the new Wiltshire charity Thriving Through Venture (TTV) at Marlborough Town Hall (January 17). The charity has been set up amid concerns that we have in our society an increasing number of young people who lack self-confidence, self esteem and a sense of purpose.
TTV will target such young adults and provide them with project opportunities in their communities here and in Marlborough’s link community of Gunjur in The Gambia. It is hoped that these experiences will be life changing for the young people in both communities.
The charity is the idea of educational psychologist Caro Strover who is based in Ramsbury together with Dr Nick Maurice founder and one time Director of the Marlborough Brandt Group.
Speaking at the launch Dr Nick Maurice said, “Something needs to be done to stop pressures that prevent young people from fulfilling their potential.”
Caro Strover spoke of the “dire situation in our society which has seen a 70 per cent increase in anxiety and depression in teenagers since the 80’s.” She is interested in “how to provide young people with the experiences to launch into the adult world with confidence and resilience.”
TTV’s Programme for 2017/18 will offer twelve 16-18 year olds in Wiltshire and Swindon the opportunity to be involved in three projects, both local and in Gunjur, The Gambia where they will spend two weeks in August.
The storytelling project will involve recording comparative life stories of the elderly in their communities here and in Gunjur. The photography project will involve taking portrait photos to illustrate the publication that will be the end product of these two projects.
The twelve young people will be mentored by professional writer Colin Heber-Percy and professional photographer, Hilary Stock who is based in Great Bedwyn.
Colin Heber-Percy believes that “learning about storytelling is a way for us to develop the core qualities of empathy, respect and relationships.” He hopes the project will teach the volunteers “to be good listeners, to pay attention and will encourage social interaction... and confidence.”
Photographer Hilary Stock told the audience that the photography project will give the young people a skill for life and will equip them “with a way of seeing and understanding images so they can read the increasingly challenging world around them.”
The third project involves researching a business proposal for the national and international distribution of mangoes grown in Gunjur. It is hoped that by developing the local economy and creating jobs the flow of migrants from The Gambia to Europe will be reduced.
Currently 13 per cent of migrants crossing to Europe from Libya are Gambian, which given the small size of The Gambia is a huge proportion.
Claire Nuttall, Community Champion for Tesco, Marlborough: “Our ultimate goal is to support the Fairtrade mango project in Gunjur.” TTV organisers are grateful to Tesco for providing refreshments for the launch and for supporting the mango project by arranging a visit for the volunteers to their pepper farm in Sussex where the ‘food to fork’ process will be explained.
The launch ended with advice to the volunteers from two young people who visited Gunjur in 2016 – Ed Northeast and Cicely Herrod-Taylor. Ed’s advice is to “go with an open mind, let yourself become that better person within you. Everything you do, throw yourself into it.”
Dr. Nick Maurice hopes that TTV will take off nationally and change the lives of many young people. He has already discussed the charity with MP Claire Perry and at the end of the current projects will be taking the twelve young people to Westminster to meet her. Ultimately he hopes TTV will influence government policy.
In the meantime TTV is looking for financial support. To make a donation or for more information visit the charity's website.