Hitting the Peaks for Johnny's Happy Place | Instructus

Hitting the Peaks for Johnny’s Happy Place

On 27th September, 13 members of the Instructus team travelled north to take part in a hike up Kinder Scout, the highest peak in the Peak District.

It was a challenge that took the team to over 2,000 ft above sea level, and one that we undertook to support Johnny’s Happy Place, a not for profit, community interest company based in Kettering.

After an early start (a 6:00 AM meet at the Instructus office in Kettering) we clambered on to a minibus and snoozed our way through the 115-mile journey.

Once we arrived in Edale, we headed off to start our hike at 9:30am making our way to the toughest part – Grindsbrook Clough, where we had to scramble using our hands and feet to make our way up the steep gradient.

We eventually made it to the top of Grindsbrook Clough where there were breath-taking views surrounding us which made the hard work worth it. Unfortunately, the views didn’t last long as the weather took a turn for the worst and it began thundering and hailing. Although this wasn’t great, completing Grindsbrook Clough was enough to keep us going.

The team were given the option to either take the short path or carry on with the longer path that had been planned as the weather conditions only seemed to be getting worse. Yet we remembered what we were doing it for, and everyone stuck together and decided to carry on with the plan.

After a few hours of wading through muddy fords and clambering over rocks, we arrived at the beautiful Kinder Downfall and made our way down to Jacobs Ladder.

Before too long we were back on the bus, cold, soaked to the bone but proud of what we had managed to accomplish.

For a while we have been considering different ways that we can combine development days with charitable projects. After a few discussions, it was agreed that a sponsored hike would be a great way to challenge ourselves.

We chose to work with Johnny’s Happy Place due to the great work that they do within our local community. They aim to provide support to anyone within the community, with a particular focus on well-being. Amongst their services they offer £1 meals, free tea and coffee, pay what you can hairdresser, counselling and more.

Visit Johnny’s Happy Place here →

The team worked well together and completed the hike in five and a half hours, and thanks to our generous sponsors we smashed our fundraising target of £400. We’re thrilled with the outcome of the hike and so thankful to those who have donated to such a great cause. The rewards of the day definitely outweighed the tough parts and we are already thinking about what we can do next.

Update: 13/01/2020

Fundraising for Johnny's Happy Place in Kettering | Instructus

This weekend, Fran, Hena and Scarlett visited the Keystone Centre in Kettering to deliver the sponsorship to Johnny’s Happy Place. In total the team raised £475.74 for the charity – an amazing sum that made the wind and rain completely worthwhile.

We’d like to wish a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored and supported our expedition.

If you have any suggestions for how we can help your project or organisation we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us and say hello today!

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NANNA Team Development Day | Instructus

Helping NANNA Support Northamptonshire’s Animals

You may have seen that as part of our training and development days, we love helping out the local community. After spending our last two Instructus development days volunteering at care homes, we decided to switch it up and head down to NANNA’s Animal Rescue on May 23rd.

NANNA (Northamptonshire Animals Needing Nurturing and Adoption) is a small charity located in Irthlingborough, Northants. NANNA care for various animals ranging from Cats and Dogs to Alpaca’s and Pigs, with the hope of re-homing most animals to their “fur-ever” homes.

A team of 11 volunteers clubbed together and headed over to NANNA’s for the day to help out with the different tasks requested from the rescue home. As many of the team at Instructus have a big love for animals, it was clear to see that there was a lot of excitement to get stuck in with the tasks given.

Eloise, one of the volunteers, said “it was really rewarding to see how valued a day of our help was at NANNA, especially as we could help with a variety of tasks and get involved as much as possible”.

Some of our tasks included:

  • Feeding animals
  • Building fences
  • Clearing out the animals
  • General gardening
  • As well as helping out with the workload NANNA had set, Instructus also made a generous donation of cat litter, rabbit food, guinea pig treats and more.

    “Working with the team at NANNA’s was really good fun” said Sachin, another volunteer.

    “The team there are really friendly and really care for the animals. Not only were we carrying activities to help the animal rescue shelter, but the activities also required us to work in groups which helped us in our communication and team working skills.”

    Check out our previous visits to Thorndale Care Home and Elm Bank Care Home.

    Here at Instructus, we love to make a difference and it was obvious this had been the case at NANNA’S Animal Rescue. It was a credit to be able to help out with tasks that help both the volunteers and animals in the charity.

    We are always looking for ways to contribute to our local community. If you have a project or activity that you would like us to volunteer for, please get in touch with us at info@instructus.org.

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    Life Skills on MARS - graduation ceremony at Northampton Filmhouse, April 2019 | Instructus

    Life Skills on MARS

    This April we rolled out the red carpet for the graduates of the very first Moulton Apprenticeship Readiness Scheme – better known as MARS.

    MARS marks our first full-scale project as an educational charity. With employer visits taking place alongside personal development sessions, the project prepares GCSE pupils for the working world in a way that schools can’t do alone. Launched in partnership with Moulton School & Science College, MARS provides a comprehensive primer on real work experience.

    On the evening of the 24th we joined the first cohort of pupils at Northampton Filmhouse for a gala graduation ceremony. The event, held before an invite-only crowd of families and educators, was a pure celebration of what the pupils had achieved. As for why we held the event at a cinema? That’s simple – beyond the glamour of the venue, we also wanted to share the pupil’s successes on the biggest screen possible…

    Unlocking Student Potential

    For their final project the pupils opted to create video presentations about the course. Each group took a unique approach, from slide presentations to stop motion, and their exuberance and energy crackled on the screen. The end result was a kinetic trip through how their own life experiences have readied them for the world beyond school.

    Afterwards the pupils took to the stage for their graduation, delivered by HM Lord Lieutenant for Northamptonshire, David Laing.

    Speaking on the night Angie Dabbs, Deputy Head Teacher of Moulton School & Science College, said “good career guidance is critical if students are to raise their aspirations and capitalise on the opportunities available to them.”

    “The academic curriculum only goes so far in preparing young people for the world beyond the classroom. We very much believe in the whole person, and in unlocking the potential of each student so that they can fulfil their dream. The MARS project, designed by Instructus, fitted that bill perfectly and so we jumped at the chance to be involved.”

    “MARS has enabled our pupils to consider the gap between their GCSE subjects and what an employer might be looking for in a trainee or apprentice.”

    While we’re excited about future programmes, it’s still sad to say goodbye. We wish these pupils every success in their GCSEs and beyond. Whatever happens next, they’ve enjoyed a layered learning experience that they wouldn’t have otherwise had.

    As far as pilot programmes go, this makes the MARS launch an incredible success.

    MARS is an educational project for Northamptonshire. If you’re a Northants-based employer or educator and would like to know more we’d love to talk to you.

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    How Springboard Consultancy Helped Streetwise | Instructus

    How Springboard Consultancy Helped Streetwise to Support Young Women

    “I have learned a lot about myself and have enjoyed the programme.”

    2018 saw the partnership between the Springboard Consultancy and Streetwise draw to a close. The project, as originally set out here, focused on delivering Springboard training to a group of young, vulnerable women in the North-East, helping to support Streetwise’s charitable focus on the physical and mental health of young people from the area.

    The course was delivered between April and June 2018. Following a post-course catch up with the participants, we’re now able to share the impact of this project with you.

    Working with Streetwise

    “Encouraging and empowering to women in all areas of life.”

    Instructus were keen to work with Streetwise due to their fantastic work supporting disadvantaged young people. Streetwise’s aims are very much in-line with our own charitable objectives, and when we started the discussion last year it became clear how we could work together.

    With the involvement of licensed Springboard Consultancy trainer Sue Wild, we worked with Streetwise to identify a course that would benefit not only the young women in attendance but also the Streetwise team themselves. The aim of this course was to build their confidence and self-worth and to help change their circumstances for the future.

    The Streetwise team identified the beneficiaries through a referral process. These young women accessed the project seeking support and advice on matters including confidence, self-esteem and anxiety. These women were at risk of becoming “invisible” in a busy cityscape, and the demands on them can be greater than they can manage.

    The Results

    “It’s applicable to people in a range of situations and circumstances.”

    The project returned positive results, with some specific outcomes for participants including:

    • Securing a job following the first workshop day.
    • Realising self-worth and capacity and securing a job with more responsibility.
    • Finding a new workplace and being happier than in previous employment.
    • Deciding to follow dream and study Fashion at university.
    • Asking for a pay rise – and getting it!

    The young women have realised their self-worth and are now determined to develop themselves, as shown through their positive feedback on the course.

    “I have begun achieving my goals and objectives and continue to work towards them more. I now know it is okay to be proud of myself and my achievements.”

    “This programme has been great, and I have experienced being around positive people. I now feel it is possible and worth meeting new people and finding friends.”

    “I’ve learned that I have to be the one to make a change in my life and did so by leaving my job I was unhappy in to do better paid temporary work.”

    “I have realised my values a lot more and they have become clearer. I have also managed to get a better job while taking part in this programme and I’m glad as I like my new job.”

    Training for Everyone

    The feedback given by the Streetwise team echoed the young women’s positive appraisal:

    “Having experienced these kinds of activities and exercises for ourselves means we can relate in better ways to personal development. We now have more experience at working this way and know what it is like on the receiving end.”

    “This will inform our skills in the future in how we work both in one to ones and in group work settings with young people.”

    “The opportunity has deepened our tool kits as youth workers and has benefited each of us personally. I feel much more positive and forgiving for myself, I am more assertive and am much more aware of self-care.”

    These results showed that all participants met the personal goals that they set at the start of the project.

    The young women shared that they had:

    • Increased their confidence.
    • Changed their mindsets for the better.
    • Developed their assertiveness.
    • Reduced their social isolation and anxiety.

    As well as the above many of the women have progressed in their careers, something we had set as a target at the start of the project.

    Paving the Way for the Future

    “The programme has allowed me to maintain my values whilst also focusing on new things that I’ve realised are important to me.”

    Working with Streetwise was a fantastic step for our charitable outreach and paved the way for the work we’ve done since. The positive results that Sue Wild achieved with these women shows the importance of guided personal development; not only for those in a vulnerable position, but also for those that support them.

    We have loved every second of working in partnership with Streetwise and would like to wish the participants all the best for the future. We have so much confidence in you!

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    Positive Results for Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse Course in Oxford | Instructus

    Positive Results for Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse

    In June our first course for victims of domestic abuse concluded with participants reporting encouragingly positive results. The course, which took place in Oxford, saw Instructus partner with Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse, a support service that develops and delivers services for those affected by domestic abuse in Oxfordshire.

    Undertaken by Springboard Consultancy trainer Pat Miller, it is the first of our charitable projects to reach completion.

    From the evaluation, 100% of the participants reported feeling more confident and that they had more control over their futures.

    The Results in Full

    In addition to the impressive results, participants were enthusiastic about the benefits of undertaking the course. Feedback included:

    “I really enjoyed the programme. I gained a positive understanding of certain aspects that have taken place in my life. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I now have taken my past and allowed it to make a stronger version of me.”

    “Overall it was an amazing experience, and I would highly recommend it for all age groups and backgrounds. Although I was the youngest of the group, I felt my opinions were still valued and that is important.”

    “An amazing course that has enriched and enlivened me at such an important and significant time.”

    With the Oxford programme we were also able to support Yellow Submarine, a charity that supports children and adults with learning disabilities and autism. They provided the catering for the programme which was co-staffed by adults with learning disabilities, providing them with employment and opportunities to learn and grow as individuals.

    Find out more about the work of Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse ⇢

    Instructus are continuing to develop a range of programmes for charities, community groups and businesses that could benefit from our support. Click here to learn more about what we do ⇢

    “It’s about offering the same service and opportunities to all”
    Yvonne Coolbear, Suffolk Constabulary

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    Instructus marks one year in Kettering | Instructus

    Instructus Celebrates First Anniversary in Kettering

    Today marks one year since the official opening of the Instructus head office in Kettering, Northamptonshire. Given the significance of the milestone we’ve taken some time out to reflect on what we’ve achieved so far – and to take a look towards what the future holds…

    Moving a business from one part of the country to another is never a straightforward process, but when it became a necessity to change premises CEO Andrew Hammond and the Board of Trustees could see the benefit of looking beyond the M25.

    “We knew we wanted more space both for our core work, but also for our subsidiaries to utilise,” Andrew explains when talking about the factors leading to the move.

    “Once the decision to relocate was made we evaluated a number of options taking into account such factors as cost, growth, access to population, access to transport, employee availability and access to those staff remaining in the business. As a result, we chose Kettering.”

    The move presented an opportunity to review and revise the skillsets in the business, and in the months before the move the management team worked hard to identify and recruit a specific blend of roles and personalities. When the new team came together for the first of two induction days on 13th June 2017, it was the first sign of how well this process had gone.

    Digital Marketing Executive Joe Burden remembers the induction well. “Having worked for several different organisations before, the approach that Andrew, Damian and the rest of the management team took towards building a shared culture and environment was a real eye opener.”

    “What’s made the biggest difference is how hard they’ve worked to keep their promises and keep the positive environment that we’ve built. Everyone feels a shared ownership of what we do here, and that makes it a great place to work.”

    For an organisation dedicated to creating and promoting opportunity, one of the biggest successes of the last 12 months has been the way that we’ve aimed to live our values.

    “Instructus is an amazing place to work”, says Fiona Nichol, now Finance Assistant. “When I started I was a Business Support Administrator and within six months of working here I was promoted to Finance Assistant, being first point of contact for staff and customers with regards to invoices and other finance issues.”

    “I have been in this role for just over six months now and I love it.”

    Francesca Cardew has had a similar experience. “My role has developed massively since I’ve started, more than I thought it would!”

    “When I joined my role was a Business Support Administrator, and now I’m the Business Admin Team Leader. Before my main responsibility was processing certificate claims and being first responder for training providers, however now I’ve developed there’s a few (by which I mean a lot) more reports to do – not to mention keeping the Operations team on track.”

    “I do feel I’m able to make a difference in my role. As a team we help learners to achieve their goals, while personally I get to plan charity events for the whole company and get us to help in the community.”

    While a big part of our time this year has been spent developing the internal culture, we’ve also worked hard to make sure that people outside the charity understand who we are and what we do. The tail end of last year saw the launch of new sites for our subsidiary companies the Springboard Consultancy and Instructus Skills, while the new Instructus site you’re presently on went online in March.

    Rebuilding these platforms has been key for us as we start fulfilling our charitable aims, but that’s only part of the process. The real accomplishment has been the support that we’ve been able to give to Streetwise, Karma Nirvana and Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse, three charitable support projects that have already started to yield exciting results.

    Instructus Head Office - Kettering, Northants | Instructus

    And this is still just the very start. Behind the scenes we’ve been putting some serious thought into how we can best help to create more opportunities for those who have been underserved and left behind, with one major project about to enter its next phase. The way we intend to deliver on our commitment to our charitable aims is through the hard work and dedication of our team, a message embodied by Andrew’s definition of our success over the last 12 months.

    “There’s so much to be proud of, but ultimately it’s our people. We’ve collectively created a great culture and working environment and have built a fantastic team who are performing exceptionally well.”

    “The last year has felt like a new beginning for the organisation, and I firmly believe we have built a strong cornerstone for our collective growth for the future, both organisationally and individually.”

    Our first year in Kettering has been a success. Here’s to many more like it!

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