We Contribute

Developing personalised pathways by shaping growth opportunities.

GROWTH has 3 core elements that combine to help young people realise their potential:

Create (enabling young people to create an inspiring vision for their future which is right for them), Connect (developing a caring and trusting relationship with a mentor from the local community); and Contribute (shaping a personalised pathway of GROWTH opportunities to realise this vision)


The Contribute phase comprises Giving, Resilience, Opportunity, Wellbeing, Transition and Hope (GROWTH):

Giving – in small groups young people create a SMILE in their local community by Sharing their unique skills for a purpose that is Meaningful for them that makes an Impact which creates a Lasting legacy and engages Everyone (SMILE). SMILEs have included the creation of Christmas hampers for the less fortunate, litter collections to improve the environment, thank you cards and presents for the Royal Mail sorting office and befriending the elderly in care homes.

Resilience – a key feature of the GROWTH programme is to take young people into their local communities to develop an awareness of resilience, the grit and determination needed to respond to uncertain and challenging situations. Here they visit the local fire station where role models share their life stories and through practical use of equipment and resources demonstrate the attitudes, skills and behaviours required to bounce back and take control when life gets tough.

Opportunity – using iCan, young people create a Golden Ticket for their future combining their skills, passions, values and motivations in life. To then make this real they are exposed to local growth sectors and encouraged to explore jobs that haven’t yet been invented. This is then followed by meaningful work-experience opportunities that begin to bring their vision to life. These have ranged from repairing bicycles in a local social enterprise and helping out at the local school nursery, to making masks for the NHS using 3D design.

Well-being – positive mental health, as well as good physical and emotional wellbeing form a continual strand within GROWTH. Practical and interactive sessions are delivered on healthy eating, food tasting and the importance of sleep. Visits to a local gym, boxing sessions and sports challenges provide a further dimension to learn and through regular group/peer support and feedback young people build healthier habits and behaviours and begin to grow in confidence, self-belief and self-esteem.

Transition – to prepare young people for their transition into further education or employment, a range of opportunities, presentations and case studies have been offered. Again, based on the personalisation of need these have included visits to the local college and university, exploring apprenticeship pathways, presentations that reveal alternative routes to achieving goals as well as shadowing, work-taster and work-experience programmes.

Hope – a celebration event with peers, family members and members of the local community provides an opportunity for young people to demonstrate how their skills, attitudes, behaviours and aspirations have developed. Young people share their personal stories, hopes for the future and personalised pathways designed by and for themselves. Mentors also have the opportunity to feed back their insights on how each young person has grown in confidence, life skills, teamwork and resilience.

Evaluation of the GROWTH programme has illustrated that young people’s aspirations have been raised by 80%, attainment levels increased by 40%, punctuality improved by 50% and attitude to learning enhanced by 60%. GROWTH provides a new pathway for young people to realise their potential and make their difference, which can compliment traditional routes such as GCSE’s. We are actively exploring opportunities to enable other pupil groups and the wider school environment to benefit in the same way.

Making a difference. Making a life. Making a living.

The Windmills Foundation