HAMPSHIRE based charity Motiv8 has commemorated 20 years of supporting disadvantaged young people in Portsmouth.
The celebratory event, which took place at the Mountbatten Centre, welcomed 170 people including staff, dignitaries, 90 young people and returning participants who have benefited from the charity’s work.
In the last year the charity has supported more than 2000 young people to overcome multiple social barriers to achieve their potential.
Chief Executive Officer, Clare Ansell, said: ‘Today is about celebrating our 20th anniversary and bringing together all those people who have shared in our journey.’
Event organiser, Rebecca Stotesby, added: ‘It is fantastic to pull everyone together. The charity has helped so many people and it is quite emotional to see everything fall into place. A lot of past participants got in touch through social media to say they wanted to come back and be part of the celebration.’
For Chair of Trustees, Valerie Hopkins, one of the charity’s great appeals is it focuses on the Portsmouth area.
‘The thing I love about Motiv8 is it is local – youngsters feel it is part of their community. I am seriously proud of everyone involved – they really are the best. Many of these young people have had it really tough but have come through to find a new life and direction. When I listen to their stories it often reduces me to tears,’ said Valerie.
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Lee Mason, is also proud of the charities local support.
‘Many people put a lot of effort into Motiv8. It is a local charity doing a great deal of good in our area,’ said Councillor Mason.
As chair of trustees Valerie is also particularly proud of the organisations longevity in what is a ‘difficult time for charities’ and hopes to continue to develop partnerships with local businesses.
One such business who have recently become involved is the banking group Santander.
Company Banker, Mark Lampard, said: ‘We run a foundation to support local organisations and charities. The fantastic work of Motiv8 made it an obvious choice for us. As well as providing a grant of £4000 we also run workshops with the young people about money management.’
The celebratory event showcased the areas which Motiv8 look to provide support. A key focus for the charity is to provide outreach support in engaging young people to provide vital information and support on issues such as sexual health and exploitation, anti-social behaviour and rug and alcohol abuse. Motiv8 also works closely with schools to help improve educational attainment and emotional well being.
Educationalists and dignitaries attending the celebration were unanimous in their praise of the charities work.
Mayor of Gosport, Diane Furlong, said ‘I am aware of Motiv8 work in supporting young people across the social spectrum to develop skills for life. The charity play a vital role in helping young people become well rounded adults contributing to society.’
Many of the young people attending the event credit the charity with turning their lives round. They feel that without the support provided by Motiv8 they may have chosen a very different path.
By the age of 13 Katy already had criminal record for Arson and had been in trouble with the police for anti-social disorder and threatening behaviour.
‘There were problems at home and I would often be on the missing list. I was getting into all kinds of trouble at school and with the police. If I didn’t have the support from Motiv8 then I am certain I would have gone down a criminal route,’ confessed Katy.
In addition to group activities, Motiv8 offer a personalised mentoring programme to support people like Katy who may be having difficulties in their home life.
‘Motiv8 have been more like a family to me. I lost my mother at a young age and also had a baby at 16. They supported me through what was a difficult time,’ said Katy.
Katy has continued her relationship with Motiv8 and for the last 6 months has been an employee with the charity. She hopes to use her own experience of her troubled teenage years to help support other young people.
‘Being part of Motiv8 is an amazing experience. They have given me a sense of responsibility. I hope I can use the difficulties I have faced to support vulnerable young people to make the right choices. I absolutely love my work and if I can help just one person to make a difference then that is so worthwhile,’ explained Katy.
The charity look to support to children in school by offering one to one mentoring which it is becoming increasingly difficult for schools to provide.
As deputy director for children’s services, Mike Stoneman, explained: ‘Schools can only provide so much. It is great for the schools and the young people that organisations like Motiv8 can provide the time and additional support for children who may be experiencing challenges and need focused intervention.’
Rachael Redford, 16, was one such youngster. She had been having problems throughout her schooling which resulted in a catalogue of exclusions.
‘I really struggled in school with my concentration and behaviour and kept getting removed from lessons and excluded. When Motiv8 offered their support, I joined a group of other young people and we would meet every Thursday. In the morning we would work at how to improve ourselves as individuals and in the afternoon we would often take part in activities such as kayaking and climbing,’ explained Rachael.
The sessions are designed to get students to reflect on any negative behaviour and to improve confidence, teamwork and communication skills.
‘After working with Motiv8 I really found my concentration and behaviour in lessons improved,’ added Rachael.
Having successfully completed her GCSE’s in the summer Rachael has now gone on to study hair and beauty at Fareham College.
‘If it wasn’t for Motiv8 I certainly wouldn’t now be in college. They have been such a great support,’ said Rachael.