The Fight for Peace Alliance Creating Pathways programme has reached its conclusion, with Alliance member organisations from across the UK gathering at the Fight for Peace London Academy to mark the milestone and reflect on the successes and learnings it generated. A detailed external evaluation of the programme has also been published and is available to read in full here.
Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF), Creating Pathways supports Alliance member organisations in the UK to adapt the Fight for Peace Pathways education programme for delivery to young people in their local communities.
Pathways is an accelerated education programme that supports young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) to gain the qualifications, skills and confidence to progress in their professional lives, or in further training or education.
Five organisations from different parts of the UK were selected to deliver Creating Pathways courses in their communities, being: Bulldogs Boxing and Community Activities (Port Talbot, Wales), Sporting Chance (Newcastle, England), St. Columbs Park House and Strike Martial Arts (Derry-Londonderry, N. Ireland), Tamworth Boxing Club (Tamworth, England), and ZKJ Dojo (Belfast, N. Ireland).
In preparation for delivery of the courses all of the participating organisations completed a training course led by Fight for Peace, focusing on the design and set up of education courses for young people in different local contexts. A planning phase then followed in which organisations prepared for the delivery of their courses, with support from specialists at Fight for Peace.
In total, 174 young people completed the programme across the five locations, 149 of whom were involved in the full project which included English, maths and vocational qualifications, and 25 others being involved in a vocational-only version of the programme (without English or maths).
An array of learnings emerged from delivery of the Creating Pathways courses and were captured by the Fight for Peace Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team working alongside the programme. Notable among these learnings were the importance of delivery partners being well known in the local community, ensuring that mental health is an integral part of support provision, and the value of embedding a social worker within the team of delivery staff. These and other key takeaways from the programme are presented here.
For one of the young people on the programme, the atmosphere of the course and the individual attention of the teachers and tutors made a crucial difference in the experience of learning:
“Everyone just seems so happy and positive, and when you speak to [teachers and staff] it’s not like you’re asking them something like when you go to the doctors… You can speak to them, and they’re really happy to help and engage. I think it’s to do with how everyone is here to be honest. Just a good atmosphere.”
A fellow participant explained that the difference of this course compared to a traditional school setting lay in the personal relationships built between teacher and student:
“They know you more, compared to in school it’s just like, go in, sit down. They speak to you, they talk to you, you can have a conversation with them about anything. They are really helpful.”
At this end point for Creating Pathways, two participating Alliance organisations have impressive plans for developing their education provision further. St Columbs Park House and Strike Martial arts, who worked in partnership to deliver their education programme at HMS Magilligan in Northern Ireland, are developing their programme to deliver in other prisons.
Meanwhile, ZKJ Dojo, also based in Northern Ireland, have been invited to work with the world governing body for mixed martial arts, IMMAF, to roll out a programme to train trainers in other countries to deliver programmes focused on martial arts, personal development, coaching and mentoring.
As this first Creating Pathways programme draws to a close, it is extremely encouraging to see what Alliance member organisations have achieved over the past two years, both individually and through partnership, and the impact they have had on young people in communities across the UK. This gives us great optimism as we look ahead to what the next phase of Alliance collaboration will bring.
The Fight for Peace Alliance is a network of over 100 like-minded organisations across the world who actively participate in a thriving community of practice, which strengthens the capacity and capability of its members to realise the potential of young people living in communities affected by inequality and violence.