Gemma, our UK Programmes Manager, spoke to some of the young people involved in the Manchester cohort of our Co-operative Adventure project about the difference that taking part has made to their lives and how they feel now that they've completed it.

As UK Programmes Manager it’s been an absolute privilege to work with this group of young people. I’ve seen them develop from shy and timid characters into confident co-operators who approach any challenge with energy and enthusiasm. This is certainly true of Lucy* who I asked to sum up in a few words what difference the project had made for them.

Before I joined the Co-operative (ad)Venture project I was very shy, nervous and scared. Life is different now because I have made friends since I have been here and think my confidence has really grown. My favourite part of the project has been meeting new people and having fun! I think that young people who are thinking of taking part in the project should come because it gives you a really good experience of how to be a good person in life, and I feel more mature around school or anywhere I go.

It’s this sense of a new found confidence and overcoming nervousness that runs throughout the group, as Sarah confirms:

Before starting the project, I felt nervous and scared. By the second day I felt like I could do this and was excited at being out of school! I liked the way that I could write things down instead of saying how I felt. Sticking up what we did helped to remind us what we had been doing.

Co-operative (ad)Venture participants at Rochdale Pioneers Museum

Through the practical, interactive sessions and a trip to the Co-operative Pioneers Museum all those involved have developed skills that will help them as they transition into the world of work, as Michael* alluded to when we spoke:

The most enjoyable part of the project was either the trip to the (Rochdale Pioneers) museum or the practical side of things. I liked how we built trust and as we got to know each other and talked about our disabilities. It has made us feel more comfortable with each other and our disabilities. I love every minute!

Co-operative values have played a major part in the project, with all the young people learning about these and their significance before applying them in the sessions, at school and in their personal lives too too, as Ben* talks about below

Things are different now as I’ve been asking a lot of questions, giving presentations and speaking to the group has built my confidence and given me a good sense of achievement. I won an award at school for my confidence which was voted for by the teachers and they said they can see the difference in me since the project. We all work together to deliver in many different areas and there’s always a lot of support with everyone helping each other and I know that when I am struggling I can get help.

It has been difficult saying goodbye to this first cohort - they made us thank you cards and each of them asked if they could come back and volunteer with our groups in the future - we would be delighted if they do! I can’t wait to see what the next group of young people will achieve and the transformation that we’ll see in their lives too.

*As our Co-operative (ad)Venture project works with young people, we've altered some of the personal information in this blog, such as names.

Are you interested in taking part in this project or know someone who is? Then click the button below, fill out the form and a member of our team will be in touch with more information.

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