Friday, 18 January 2013

Introducing ... COACH!

We are excited to introduce to you a brand new project within A Way Out... COACH! Our coaching programme is the first of a number of projects in process of setting up which we will spotlight on the blog over the next few weeks and months. It's an exciting time of change for A Way Out, as we continue to grow and develop our services.

COACH stands for Creating Opportunities and Casting Hope, an inspiring title, and one we know it will live up to. The programme aims to provide one-2-one mentoring and support for young people between the ages of 12-25 years. We are currently in the process of recruiting Volunteer Mentors to match with young people we have had referred to the project.

What is a Volunteer Mentor?

Volunteer Mentors offer practical support, activities or coaching towards positive life goals for young people who are at risk of poor outcomes, often linked to drug or alcohol misuse, school exclusion, homelessness or other risky lifestyle situations.
Volunteer Mentors build relationships with young people they are partnered with through weekly one to one sessions, involving an activity, or just a coffee and a chat. As relationships develop, they can offer support in various ways; perhaps teaching life skills such as cooking, or advocating on their behalf.

It's a great opportunity to make a real difference to a young person's life.

Who Can Be a Volunteer Mentor?

We are looking for individuals who have the following:

  • A passion for young people
  • Reliability for appointments
  • 1-2 hours a week free, for approximately 9 months (we expect each coaching relationship to last 6-18 months)
  • Ability to listen
  • Life Skills
  • Enthusiasm
  • A sense of humour!
What's the Point of COACH?

COACH is about releasing potential in the lives of young people. The aim is to explore what they are hoping to achieve in life, in both the short-term and the long-term and put an action plan in place to work towards these goals. The relationship can last for over a year and significant changes may take several months to achieve but the ultimate aim is for the young person to take responsibility for their own lives and pursue positive outcomes for themselves and those around them.

What Next?

If you're interested to find out more or to sign up, then contact Jeanna, our Coach Coordinator by either emailing her, or calling the office phone (01642 655071), and asking to speak to Jeanna.

We already have referrals for young people, and we're looking to match them to the right individuals. We will give full coaching training on a regular basis to our Mentoring Volunteers and offer them all the support they need for this exciting opportunity.

With love from A Way Out x

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

When I Grow up...

I wonder what she's thinking?

I heard someone say once, that no child is ever born with a burning desire to be poor, or homeless, or addicted, or alone.

Instead, like little sponges, they are open to any possibility.

I wonder what she is dreaming of? Touching a white wall, blank with opportunity,what might be next for this little adult-in-the-making?

Maybe as she clutches her dolly she one day wants to be a mum. Maybe a doctor, an Olympic athlete, maybe a mountain climber or jet pilot. Maybe, just like her own mum wishes for her, she just wants to be happy.

She is someone's daughter.


Full of potential.


Life, as we know it, with its pressures, strains and decisions hasn't touched her yet.

She hasn't had to make the difficult choices as a teenager, or experience stress as a student, or mourn the loss of a loved one who has passed, or deal with the searing pain of abuse.

She hasn't caved to peer pressure and drunk the cheap cider.
She hasn't met a bloke whose words and charm are like addictive nectar.
She hasn't taken the drugs to numb the loneliness.
She hasn't rattled through the night as her body gets rid of the poison it now craves.
She hasn't broken promises she swore to her family she could keep.
She hasn't thought the things most of us will never understand.
She hasn't taken something at Christmas that will end her pain once and for all.

She isn't the reason our women's recovery workers began the New Year heartbroken.

You see, when we arrived back at work today we were greeted by the tragic news that a young woman known to our Women's Recovery team had died over the festive period. The details are yet unknown, but it would seem that the life-controlling struggles she has battled with for years have finally beaten her.

A young woman who had once stood, just like the little girl at the top of this page, clutching her doll and believing for happiness, has now gone.

Tears aside, this is why we exist.

We believe that all women, families and young people should be free to live healthy, whole and safe lives, free from addiction, poverty and abuse.

This tragedy does not mean what we do isn't working. It just means we need to work all the harder.

I saw this quote just this morning, after we had heard the sad news. It reminded me of the amazing team of staff and volunteers who serve tirelessly at A Way Out.

But particularly for the Women's Recovery workers who now need to pick themselves up and keep reaching out and rescuing other girls who need their help... this is for them. 

I think Mother Teresa expresses it best when she said: "I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts there can be no more hurt, only more love."

The team here will keep loving. They will keep working long hours, they will keep advocating for women who need a voice, they will keep empowering volunteers to serve and make a difference in their communities, they will keep raising funds, keep believing in families labelled as troubled, they will keep journeying with young people, and keep telling broken, addicted, exploited and hurt women that there is hope.

And you can help us. If you want to join the A Way Out family by becoming a regular financial giver (just £10 a month can help us walk a girl off the streets and into recovery), a volunteer or if you would like to run a fundraising event for us, please email

We are believing that 2013 will be an amazing year for us - and for you. Be healthy, be blessed, and we'll see you soon,

with love from A Way Out.

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