A4SOutdoors

What our service does

Our purpose is

'to help transform and improve the lives of young people who are struggling, or have struggled in life so far, whether it be academically, socially or economically. We aim to promote a sense of well being and purpose, so they feel they are better equipped to progress, move on and start to lead a fulfilling life.'

In school holiday time we run more 'fun'┬Łskills and techniques based activity sessions. Most of these are open to all young people. However, in the past we have also worked with Beds Cerebral Palsy Society, Taylor House, YMCA etc. (With activities ranging from purely fun / interest sessions to courses with small qualifications.)

The activities we run include Angling (Fishing! and bait / tackle making); Photography; Estate Maintenance / Construction sessions (Building and installing platforms and gates, creating and maintaining paths and steps, cutting back, clearing and strimming trees, bushes and vegetation etc); Forestry / Survival skills; Indoor / Outdoor cooking; Mountain Bike riding and maintenance; other sports related activities; Arts and Crafts; Pond dipping; Bird / Animal watching and related walks; Gardening on our allotment, Work experience opportunities; taking young people to Zoo's and Safari Parks; as well as working on CV's, writing application letters for jobs and college courses, interview techniques, researching job and college courses.

(We have 6 vehicles including one minibus, which enables some transport capability for wheelchair users.)

We have been able to help a lot of young people whilst we have been operating and in this academic year the vast majority of our young people have come away with at least one or more qualifications.


Location of our service

Our HQ is located at 129a, Barkers Lane, Bedford near the main entrance to Priory Country Park.

Most of our work is delivered in Bedfordshire, particularly Bedford Borough and to a lesser extent Luton and Central Bedfordshire. We also deliver work in Northamptonshire and other bordering counties.

We offer all our services to anyone requiring them in Bedford Borough.


Who our service provides for

The young people we deal with typically have difficult backgrounds; have difficulty learning in mainstream education due to e.g. ADHD, Asperger's etc.; not necessarily academically gifted but are practical / kinaesthetic style learners; or are excluded from mainstream schools for certain reasons.

The highest percentage of young people we deal with tend to be 14 to 16. However, we also deal with quite a few 12 and 13 year olds and a few 17 to 19 year olds. We also deal with some young people between 9 to 11, or even younger, although mainly in holiday periods.

The only eligibility criteria is that we are able to help the young people in an appropriate and dedicated manner that meets the needs of the young people (whether it be helping them improve confidence, building up self-esteem, showing them that they are capable of doing things well as a human being, showing them they can be part of a team and relate to others, helping them get qualifications, showing them a new skill, technique or hobby.)

We would give careful consideration as to whether we can help individuals with physical disabilities. We would try to help most, although we look at everyone we help on a case by case basis. If we felt we could not help someone because of a particular disability then we would say so right at the start.


How to start using our service

Anyone can use our service but it depends if we are the right type of service for them, and whether we can meet their needs / requirements. It will also depend on funding and whether we have the capacity to fit them in for a particular time period.

The main decisions are made by Matthew J Lee (Project Manager) along with Keith Williams (CEO) and Jake Elston (Coach team leader).

We are more than happy to explain to referrers, parents and young people the reasoning behind any decision we make. We would make sure that everyone is happy in their full understanding of any decision we make before moving on. We also have a board of Trustees, chaired by Brian Burke, who provide an escalation route for appeals in the decision making process.


How decisions are made about who can use our service

Anyone can use our service but it depends if we are the right type of service for them, and whether we can meet their needs / requirements. It will also depend on funding and whether we have the capacity to fit them in for a particular time period.

The main decisions are made by Matthew J Lee (Project Manager) along with Keith Williams (CEO) and Jake Elston (Coach team leader).

We are more than happy to explain to referrers, parents and young people the reasoning behind any decision we make. We would make sure that everyone is happy in their full understanding of any decision we make before moving on. We also have a board of Trustees, chaired by Brian Burke, who provide an escalation route for appeals in the decision making process.


How we communicate with our service users

After each session with a young person we send a report to the referrer, school, parent etc. (Anyone appropriate who needs to be / wants to be kept in the loop.) This includes 5 areas:- 1.) Student details; 2.) What has the student learnt or participated in; 3.) Areas for development; 4.) Comments on Behaviour; 5.) Concerns that need to be addressed.

We regularly (daily in some cases) communicate with parents and referrers by phone or e-mail re our young people. (Usually the more problematic the young person, the more communication needed). Formal reviews are held with referrers periodically, and an Education Sub-Committee is being established to obtain the views of referrers on future needs and development priorities.

We also like to receive ad hoc feedback from our service users, whether it be the young people, parents or the referrers themselves.

We have leaflets and marketing material that explain what we offer.

As of yet we have not had any referrers, parents, carers or young people that we could not at least get over to them in English what was needed to be said. We have taken on board recently a member of staff who is originally from Poland, who speaks Polish, decent English and basic Russian, because we do get some students from Eastern European family backgrounds.

We do not offer any parent training or learning events.


Accessibility of our service

The building has wheel chair access from two different points. One or two of the small offices and some toilets / kitchen areas do not have easy wheelchair access.We do have certain equipment that helps in respect to better auditory and visual support for our learners.

We do not have a dedicated changing / waiting room as such, but we do have some small offices that can be used in private if required.

For most of our term time and holiday clients we are able to pick them up from their homes. (We have 5 vehicles including one minibus, which enables some transport capability for wheelchair users.) Some of our clients get picked up from their schools and some get dropped off to us, usually by Taxi. Not all of our activities, qualifications, courses will be accessible/appropriate to every young person. This would not be practical due to the specialist nature of our work and funding constraints. We offer customised services to specific young people depending on their exact needs and expectations. We do not offer a service to someone if it is inappropriate to their needs and expectations. We do not offer services that will benefit everyone, but when we think we can truly help then we will do all that is reasonable to assist the young person in getting the most out of their time with us.


Qualifications and training of our staff

All our staff that work with young people are DBS checked, First aid trained, Child protection / Safeguarding trained. (All these are renewed at least every three years.)

Most of our staff are Level 2 Coaches, some Level 1 Coaches.

Quite a few have Level 4 PTLLS, (Preparing to teach in the life-long learning sector) or other teaching qualifications.

Quite a few have done an introduction to counselling course, mental health first aid training course, conflict resolution and management training course.

Most also have degrees or qualifications suitable in respect to the courses we offer.


General Contact Information

Matthew J Lee, 01234 272101, 07402 038102, matt.lee@a4sbedford.com

Other useful contacts : Keith Williams, CEO, 01234272101, keith.williams@a4sbedford.com

Tracy Tookey HR Manager, Fully trained Counsellor, 01234 272101, tracy.tookey@a4sbedford.com

(Which ever Coach is dealing with your particular young person's sessions will also have an extremely important role in their support whilst with us.)

(Progressability.org, Reg Charity No 1142732.)


Contact for more information

Name:
Matthew J Lee
Role:
Project Manager
Address:
129a Barkers Lane, Bedford, MK41 9RX
Telephone:
01234 272101
Mobile:
07402 038102
Email:
matt.lee@a4sbedford.com
Website:
http://www.a4sbedford.com
Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday, Saturdays also possible.

Record Last Reviewed On: 20/01/2016