Possibilities for Each and Every Kid (PEEK) aim to improve the life chances of children and young people by unlocking their potential as they "Play, Create and Thrive". Operating in more than 30 communities within North and East Glasgow since 2000, and supporting children with some of the most significant social problems - including poverty, food poverty, low aspirations - they have become a trusted and respected part of the community, understanding the issues and challenges families face.
In 2008 they launched their volunteer programme in response to the needs of young people who wanted to give back to the project. Through the volunteer programme staff will work with young people to identify short and long-term goals through personal development plans and will support them to build lifelong skills such as communication and emotional intelligence. The young people will also have access and support to complete accredited awards.
The David Doig Foundation awarded PEEK funding to help deliver the Thrive Volunteering programme for young people. The programme aims to increase aspirations and build employability and life skills for young people aged 14 – 21 in the North and East End of Glasgow.
This support helped towards the salary costs of the volunteer coordinator from June 2019 - June 2020. PEEK supported 24 young people aged between 14-25 years into volunteering in their community through the programme. Another 24 young people were enrolled in January and began training, but due to COVID19 the project was cut short before delivery and they were therefore not able to be placed in volunteer roles. Through the Thrive programme in 2019/20, 24 young people contributed 1669 hours of volunteering to their local community (worth around £15,025 to the local economy based on living wage), 10 training sessions took place for young people including Child Protection and Safeguarding, Fire Play, Play Training, and Food Hygiene, and 125 awards were achieved by 48 young people (including Hi-5 awards, Dynamic Youth Awards, Saltire Awards, Arts Awards and Youth Achievement and REHIS Food Hygiene).
Young people felt empowered by the process, gaining skills and confidence as well as giving back to the community, as these testimonials show:
“My favourite memory at PEEK was when I won the rising star award because I was new to volunteering and I didn’t know if I was good at it. Then when I got that award it built my confidence. It also taught me to believe in myself more”
“I was too scared to go out and play when I was younger in case I got bullied, but knowing I can make a safe space for kids like me to play without worrying feels great”
“I challenge the stereotype that ‘young people don’t try’...I’m 17 years old, I’m a volunteer, and I believe that children should be given opportunities to play, use their imaginations and have the best childhood possible. So I give up my own free time to help make this happen. In the past 6 months I’ve spent over 200 hours volunteering at street plays, holiday programmes and creative arts sessions…on top of a full time education, making time for homework and seeing my friends. So don’t tell me young people don’t try.”
“I challenge the stereotype that ‘young people only care about themselves’. I am 13 years old. I believe that people should not be defined by their postcodes. I believe that kids who grow up in poverty are creative. I’m a young community activist. I use my voice to try and make change and make sure my community is listened to and taken seriously. When I turn 14, I'm going to be a volunteer for PEEK. When I’m older, I want to be a CEO of a charity like PEEK and make sure future generations are listened to and respected”
“My son is now captain of his football team and is part of the pupil council. He is more vocal about sharing his opinions in a group and doesn’t shy away of giving constructive feedback and this is down to PEEK and the volunteering opportunities they have given him”
Laura aged 16, participated in the Thrive Volunteer Programme. At home Laura has significant caring responsibilities, caring for her mother, and has been attending Possibilities for Each and Every Kid since the age of five. In recent years, Laura’s caring responsibilities have increased adding more pressure to Laura’s life. In January 2019, struggling with mental health issues Laura, took the decision to leave school. On leaving school Laura immediately contacted Possibilities for Each and Every Kid, and asked about the Thrive Volunteering Programme. During this period Possibilities for Each and Every Kid worked intensively with Laura to increase her life skills and aspirations for a positive destination. Laura gained employability skills, as well as life skills such as mindfulness to help manage her health and wellbeing and reduce feelings of anxiety.
Laura said: When I started volunteering, I was very shy, and I wasn’t very confident in myself. At my first volunteer sessions I hardly spoke, and kept to myself. Since then I’ve made some friends and PEEK have helped me grow. They helped me find and show off my talents I didn’t know I had! I am so happy PEEK is around because it is one of the most amazing things I have ever done and has helped me so much. I know where to go if I need cheering up or help with anything and everyone is so kind. Through PEEK I have met some of my best friends and it just been the best years of life!”
With her new found confidence and aspirations not only has she attended acting auditions at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Laura is now studying Sport and Fitness at college and is working part-time.
Due to COVID19, PEEK have put all volunteering opportunities on hold to protect the young people, staff and wider community. They have been supporting the community through the crisis, for example helping with emergency food deliveries, supporting young people with advice on seeking employment, and general wellbeing checks. They hope to have volunteering opportunities back in April 2021. Speaking with young people as well as observing the challenges going on in society, PEEK have also identified that young people are going to be adversely affected by COVID19 economically. They are therefore working to re-shape the programme to include volunteering, training and apprenticeship opportunities for young people aged 14-21 years, and expect to see increasing demand.