Three young men from Birtley excelled in their first Key project after deciding to get fit by trying out new fitness activities with their friends.
The Key group, Zumba For All, is made up of three young adults with learning difficulties. Andrew, Matt and Shaun, aged 19-24, met at their Skills 4 Work club where they attend a job club for young adults with learning disabilities.
With aims of developing more sport and wellbeing opportunities for other young people with learning disabilities the group decided to embark on their Key adventure to organise a series of free Zumba classes for all of their friends and family to enjoy together. St James' Place Foundation provided funding to The Key specifically to encourage young people to develop sports project and were delighted to support this group.
The Key Framework provided the group members with new challenges to overcome helping them to significantly develop the 12 Key Skills. Andrew, Matt and Shaun all furthered their ability to communicate with others effectively after being required to call and organise Zumba instructors and arrange venues that were affordable but accessible to all. The group had never been given much responsibility and ownership before but showed that when the going got tough they were more than capable to cope.
A parent of one of the group member’s was blown away by the progress the group members have made since beginning their Key project. She commented that the group initially lacked the confidence to participate in the Zumba classes and it was now outstanding to see that they were able to get up on stage and teach their own routines to the rest of the group stating that ‘it was nice to see them so happy.’
The group’s self-confidence and self-belief shot through the roof throughout The Key Framework and the group thoroughly enjoyed planning the project. Matt, aged 19, said ‘The Key helped me to no longer feel alone. It helped me to be part of a team, I am so much more confidence now. It has been life-changing.’
Since completing their project the group have continued to succeed. Andrew has secured 2 work placements and spoke positively about how much he had enjoyed his Key experience, helping him to learn lots of practical skills and improve his communication and people skills which he is now applying in his new roles. Matt has also since managed to secure full-time employment and felt that the confidence and skills he had developed from The Key programme along with his hard-work and determination really helped him to secure it. Thomas is also now gaining work experience by volunteering at a local café where he is able to communicate with customers and cook up a storm in the kitchen.
The group are also still holding weekly Zumba classes in Birtley for all to attend and are on the lookout for new fitness programmes and sports to try out.