Youngsters dance their way to a brighter future

Princes Trust community event for Pendine Park residents held at Hillbury Care Home. Resident Alan Hassall dances with Sabrina Rafferty

A group of unemployed young people danced their way to a brighter future by organising a tea dance at a community centre.

The event at the Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham was the climax of an “inspiring” three-week programme called Truth about Youth – Who Cares? which is funded by The Cooperative Foundation.

The course was run by the Prince’s Trust in partnership with Pendine Park’s training arm, Smartcare.

A similar scheme last year resulted in 17 of the participants gaining social care qualifications. Eleven of them secured jobs, six of them at Pendine Park.

A raft of special guests turned up to the Gwern Alyn Community Centre at the Hillbury House Care Home to congratulate the latest group of young people on the course.

They included Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths, the Mayor of Wrexham Cllr Alan Edwards and the Mayoress Glenys Edwards and the Head of Enterprise and Employment at Prince’s Trust Cymru Rhian Mathias.

The guests, who also included Co-operative Membership Officer for Mid and North Wales, Deb Wozencraft, and the Director of Wellbeing and Empowerment for the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Daisy Cole, were served a feast of sandwiches, cakes, coffee and tea by the enthusiastic team of 14 young people aged between18 and 25.

The dedicated group also performed an energetic, funny, and thoughtful play about remembering the little things when taking care of people.

The event ended with the tea dance which saw Pendine Park residents and staff, as well as the crew from The Prince’s Trust strutting their stuff.

It was the culmination of a three-week course where members of the group gained experience and qualifications in the care industry with the aim of helping them onto the first rung of employment ladder.

More than half the group are likely to be offered jobs by Pendine Park.

According to Sabrina Rafferty, 18, from Gwersyllt, who learned the ropes as a care practitioner at Pendine Park’s Hillbury care home, the Princes Trust course has made a huge difference to her life.

She said: “It’s been an amazing experience. It’s like a big family here, and it’s helped me to see my future, which is working in social care. I didn’t see a future for myself before but now I do. I was unemployed for six months. It was boring and I just felt useless all of the time.”

The Prince’s Trust supports 3,500 young people in Wales each year through its programmes. Three in four young people supported by The Trust move into work, education or training.

Alan Hasall, 67, a resident at Bryn Bella care home at Pendine Park, added: “These young people from the Princes Trust have been brilliant. They’re very helpful and very polite.

“I’ve just been dancing, and I really enjoyed it. The tea dance is something a bit different.”

Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths added: “This is a project that helps get young people into work, and I understand that some of these young people will get jobs at Pendine Park at the end of it.

“I’m always happy to come to Pendine Park. The work they do in the care sector is fantastic.

The Mayor of Wrexham Cllr Alan Edwards, added: “Anything that helps get young people into work can only be a good thing.

Daisy Cole, Director of Wellbeing and Empowerment for the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, added: “I see this as a model that other organisations can follow. I think Pendine Park and The Princess Trust are leading the way. It would certainly like to see more projects like this, because it empowers and inspires young people.”

Deb Wozencraft, Co-operative Membership Officer for Mid and North Wales, said: “I think that this project is fantastic. It’s just wonderful opportunity for young people and a brilliant way to build up their confidence and give them new skills. Something as simple as taking an interest and believing in them can make a massive impact on their lives.”

Pendine Park proprietor Mario Kreft MBE, added: “What has pleased me the most is that they’ve understood that it’s enrichment that gives people the quality of life, and for these young people to take that on board after only three weeks is really good. It’s a joy to see. I’d like to thank them for the dedication they have shown.

“We will certainly be offering jobs to some of these young people.

“I’d like to thank the Co-operative foundation for supporting the project. It now a longstanding relationship that’s been developed between Pendine Park and The Prince’s Trust, and it’s been a privilege to work together.”