Programme helps young people build confidence across Lowestoft

The Team Programme students on board the Excelsior.

The Team Programme students on board the Excelsior. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

An inspiring initiative has allowed a team of young people to help refurbish a historic vessel in Lowestoft.

Jack Pope sanding down some of the woodwork.

Jack Pope sanding down some of the woodwork. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

The Team Programme is organised by Inspire Suffolk – which now runs five Prince's Trust schemes across the county.

This year is the 15th anniversary of the programme being run in Lowestoft – with 15 young people aged between 17 and 24 currently part of the scheme.

They have recently been on board the Excelsior vessel, based on Harbour Road, to help with restorations in time for the summer season.

Members have completed tasks including sanding, painting, cleaning and conducting work on the sails.

Peter Ward helping paint the Excelsior ready for the summer. Pictures: James Bass

Peter Ward helping paint the Excelsior ready for the summer. Pictures: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

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The initiative is open for those aged between 16 and 25 who are not in employment, education or training and is run by team leader Stacey Foulger.

'The young people we have on this team come from a variety of backgrounds – who all face their own individual battles – but are volunteering their time to create a more positive progression route for themselves,' she said.

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The programme, based at Colville House, in School Road, is completely free to those who take part.

It works to develop the lives of unemployed people by offering support to those looking to make positive life decisions – helping them to improve their confidence and move on to new opportunities.

Taking place over 12-weeks, the programme is made up of a variety of activities including a residential trip, fund-raising, helping charities, work experience and advice on how to write a CV.

'The team have already completed a week's residential at Lambourne End Outdoor Residential Centre, where they worked on their team building and communication skills,' Mrs Foulger added.

'They completed various activities including a gruelling late night exercise which included using a map to find two casualties and to carry them back through thick mud to safety.'

In order to complete their community project on board the Excelsior, the team had to fund-raise for the materials they needed.

They completed a bag pack at B&M in Lowestoft, held a street collection and also ran a bake sale to raise funds.

Jack Pope, 20, of Denmark Road, joined the project after his sister previously took part.

The former Roman Hill and Denes High School pupil described his experiences of the programme.

'After college I just applied for loads of jobs but I didn't get much luck,' he recalled.

'I joined the course and have found it very enjoyable – it is better than sitting at home.

'It is a great way for us to build confidence and meet new people and I would encourage people to come and give it a go.'

Mr Pope eventually aims to get a job in computer engineering.

He also described how the group raised about £400 to help with the Excelsior refurbishment.

'We did bag packing and held a raffle to raise funds,' he added.

'We sanded, painted and cleaned up the boat – it was a very different experience.'

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