Here at County Finance Group, we help all manner of enterprises to achieve and maintain cash flow. Through this process we get to know our clients very well, often forming long, successful partnerships. One such partner that we are very proud to support is the Cornwall-based charity group Transferable Skills Training (TST) and their sister organisations Work Skills South West and Battling On. They are dedicated to helping disadvantaged youths and adults by providing work-based learning, mentorship programs and community service.
It was not long ago that TST went through a difficult time; they had lost significant funding in the latest round of government spending cuts and their not-for-profit activities were in threat of being suspended. County Finance Group has been working with this organisation since 2003 and has offered increased support since 2008, allowing them to continue their work helping the most vulnerable individuals in their community.
Their many years of dedicated service were recently recognised at the Volunteer of the Year Awards, held by the Devon Community Foundation. The Battling On project was awarded the premier award of the evening, the Sir Eric Dancer Thriving Communities Award, in recognition of its work helping veterans and young people through their innovative mentorship program. We would like to congratulate them on receiving such a high honour and are very proud to have been able to provide assistance to keep this project alive.
Here is a summary of the work this organisation undertakes from their farm in the heart of the Cornish countryside:
Work Skills South West
This project was set up in 2011 to fill the gap caused by government cuts to frontline services and works primarily with adults with learning disabilities. They offer regular activity for adults with disabilities, such as classes in independent living, health and safety, gardening and conservation work. They also offer a weekly visit to their care farm combining farm visits and woodland walks with cognitive behavioural therapy. The isolation caused by their illness and physical location, often without access to a vehicle or means of travel, makes this program even more pertinent. It has been so successful that there are now groups set up as a result that are completely self-supporting.
Transferrable Skills Training (TST)
TST provides education through high quality training and work-based learning. They work with young people and adults that have fallen out of mainstream education, offering a range of vocational training courses covering subjects such as construction, horticulture, crafts, work and leadership skills, and eco-therapy. The program is designed to help participants enter employment, traineeships or apprenticeships and couples practical skills with development of emotional resilience and counselling where necessary.
This project won the Devon Community Foundation’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2015. It was set up just under three years ago to help veterans who were struggling to reintegrate into society. Participants in this program may have complex emotional problems, low levels of literacy and struggle to retrain which puts them at risk of suffering homelessness and alcoholism. The program initially began by offering cognitive behaviour therapy and counselling alongside vocational training in areas such as construction. The veterans on the program began to ask if they could work with the young people on some of the other programs and soon began assisting as instructors and mentors.
This cooperation not only gives ex-service personnel a sense of worth and purpose, but provides vulnerable youths with strong role models and guidance. The program works with youths between 12-14 years old engaged with the youth offenders team. It links maths and english lessons and vocational training with work experience including conservation projects, community gardens, bridleway and footpath maintenance in the Dartmoor National Park, and volunteering at animal shelters. The program has contributed 5000 hours of community work and has had an 87% success rate where the national average is 30% for projects of its kind. Many of the youths involved have gone into full-time education and none have reoffended.
Once again here at County Finance Group we would like to say how proud we are of the work TST, WSSW and Battling On does for those in need. If you would like to learn more about these projects, please visit their website, or contact them on 01579 384798.