A local educational project supporting young mums continues to impress with yet another nomination for an inspirational award.
Young Mums Will Achieve (YMWA) is a nationally recognised initiative for young and expecting mums, aged 19 and under, with the primary objective being to support them back into mainstream education or employment, while promoting the development of positive parenting and life skills. Run as a partnership between Cornwall Council, The Cornwall College Group and Fit N Fun Kids, the ongoing regional success of the programme means that there are now YMWA groups active across the county.
Following on from previous successes, YMWA has recently being shortlisted for this year’s Children & Young People Now Awards. The awards, which are seen as an industry gold standard, recognise initiatives from the public, private and voluntary sector that work with children and young people as well as their families. Initiatives might be aimed at a community as a whole or targeted at those who are the most vulnerable or disadvantaged. YMWA is a finalist in the Youth Work Award category, which is given to the initiative that has done the most to promote young people’s personal development and help them achieve their potential through youth work, informal education and participation in positive activities.
CEO of Fit N Fun Kids, Rachel Jones said: “Having worked in partnership with the Local Authority and Cornwall College on the Young Mums Will Achieve project for nearly nine years now, I have seen first-hand the positive impact this outstanding programme offers. I have seen the project grow from its early pilot days in St Austell to become countywide, being flexible in changing to meet needs, seeing high progression rates for young mothers and positive impacts for children cared for by the Fit N Fun Kids crèche teams.
“I nominated YMWA this year for the Youth Work Award in the 2016 Children and Young People Now Awards as I felt the project really delivers outstanding outcomes for young mothers and their children. YMWA has previously been finalists on three occasions at the national Nursery World Awards, recognised for its work ‘Working with Parents’, so I am extremely proud to be part of something so positive for families in Cornwall and for it again to be recognised at national level.”
Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Young People, Andrew Wallis added: “Over the last few years this project has gone from strength to strength and does a fantastic job of building the self-confidence of these young women by raising their self-esteem and encouraging them to re-engage with education and employment. As a result of the support and encouragement provided by Young Mums Will Achieve many of these young women get qualifications that allow them to attend further education.”
During the programme, young mothers study and take qualifications while receiving additional support from the crèche team, who provide free childcare, and additional parenting support, advice and guidance. Former participants have used the programme as a springboard to progress into a wide range of vocational areas, with some going on to higher education and others into apprenticeships as well as paid employment. Katie Jones, 21 years old from Liskeard is someone who has benefitted greatly from her involvement in YMWA, she said: “I have two little girls; Summer aged 3 and Grace aged 2. I first joined Young Mums Will Achieve whilst I was pregnant with Summer, I went along and really enjoyed it! Since then I have gained so much including my level 1 and 2 maths and English! I gained long life friendships, the programme helped me through both of my pregnancies, and they supported me when I most needed it. It also gave me the push to apply for a job, which I currently am still in and couldn’t be prouder! I would recommend Young Mums Will Achieve so much, so if any mums are worried or unsure honestly it’ll be the best thing you ever do.”