After its establishment in 2008, Positive Futures in Cotgrave recently celebrated its fifth year in the local community.

In that time, the team has tackled the issue of young people at risk of social exclusion and anti-social behaviour.

Now, five years on, co-ordinator Mark Clifford has seen a shift in emphasis for his team in the village.

“The programme we’re implementing now has taken a massive twist from when we arrived,” he said.

“Five years ago, this was all about the reduction of anti-social behaviour in Cotgrave, but now we’re working around the aspirations and careers of young people.

“We’re running what we call the ‘Futures Talent Programme’, which aims to improve the attitude of young people to school attendance, teachers and their behaviour before it becomes an issue.

“The schools are certainly saying that were making a difference to those young people.

“They don’t want to give us all the credit, of course, but Positive Futures is making a difference to their lives.”

Clifford is one of a small team in Cotgrave, and has found the work they have put in has seen good results. By maintaining good personal relationships with the young people at risk, his team can offer personal support outside of the confines of school.

“This project wouldn’t be anywhere without the work that the team do, they’re on the ground with the young people on a daily basis, building these trusting relationships that have become the foundations of our work,” he said.

“If something happens to one of those guys in school, they’ll come to us, pop in and see us or give us a call. We can have a chat, nip the problem in the bud and sort it out with the young person directly.

“The trusting relationship we have with them helps because they give us the information, they’re willing to talk to us and we can then go and speak to the parents and the school.

“It’s vital that it’s a holistic approach, that we’re all working together and at the centre of it is a young person’s wellbeing.”

The scheme in Cotgrave offers motivation through sporting events, in order to ensure that Positive Futures are seen to be working in the community, not just in schools.  Clifford, a former footballer, was keen to offer young people a suitable ‘carrot’ for getting involved.

We run courses in six-week blocks, so they’ll have six weeks of training and participation in a new sport, which culminates in a tournament against Positive Futures in Hawtonville,” said Mark.

“We’ll have a couple of teams, they’ll have a couple of teams and there’ll be medals for the winners.

“The Positive Futures trophy is at stake. We want them to enjoy it, and it benefits from having a competitive edge, it really builds the team ethic.

“We’ve done football, futsal, dodgeball, and the next one will be short tennis. We’ll be looking to retain the Positive Futures trophy again, that much is certain.”

“It’s vital that it’s a holistic approach, that we’re all working together and at the centre of it is a young person’s wellbeing..”
Mark Clifford – Positive Future Co-ordinator.

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