Skylarks charity champions young people to ‘spread their wings’

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For nearly two decades, Skylarks, an independent charity based in Richmond upon Thames, has become a welcoming lifeline for many. The charity supports and advocates for young people (aged 0–25) with additional needs and their families.

As the pandemic reshaped everyone's lives, Skylarks saw a 70% surge in demand for their services and is now reaching out to 4600 families and 5800 children. Their commitment to accessibility extends beyond physical borders, offering online support to all who need it wherever people live.

From preschool sessions to holiday programmes, Skylarks enriches lives through various activities, including signposting, therapies, counselling and osteotherapy as well as resilience-building courses.

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Skylarks has recently introduced their latest initiative known as the 'Spread Your Wings' campaign. This campaign aims to tackle employment barriers for young people with additional needs by providing early career development including digital skills workshops, employability skills workshops, and career planning programmes.

Spread your wings campaign at Skylarks Charity.Spread your wings campaign at Skylarks Charity.
Spread your wings campaign at Skylarks Charity.

Central to the campaign is the Skylarks ‘Spread Your Wings’ career coaching programme, designed to inspire and educate young people (ages 12-15) and their parents/carers. This 6-week programme offers workshops aligned with national career frameworks, providing invaluable guidance for the future. Eligible families can attend for free.

Rachael Chidgey, Progression Programme Manager at Skylarks, said: "Through the 'Spread Your Wings' campaign, young people with additional needs can explore diverse career options, build confidence, and develop the skills necessary to overcome employment barriers and reach their full potential. We also incorporate peer mentors and inspirational talks from professionals in various businesses to showcase what inclusion looks like in the workplace.

"The parents who have already completed the programme with their children are enthusiastic about recommending it to other families, awarding it an impressive average score of 9.7 out of 10!'

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"We are currently looking for young people with additional needs and their families to join the upcoming 'Spread Your Wings' six-week course in June, as well as our summer programmes. Feel free to reach out to us."

Schools or parents can find out more, or express an interest in the Spread Your Wings programme by getting in touch by email at [email protected] or through the application form on Skylarks website.

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