The Bu Be Amazing project aims to support young people to recognise and build on their assets – enabling them to thrive, be healthy and motivated, and feel that they have a voice and opportunities in their community. It follows the US 'Developmental Assets' model for positive youth development which works on the principle that by increasing a young person's 'assets' they are more likely to succeed in life.
Referrals to Bu Be Amazing come through a local partner charity, Blackthorn Good Neighbours, and the work is supported by In Control. Following referral a trained personal mentor engaged by Mayday Trust, will work with the young person to identify their strengths, aspirations and significant networks and local resources and then put together a plan that will aim to build their assets and give them an opportunity to integrate positively within their local community. BU Be Amazing offers a small personal budget of £250.
The success of BU Be Amazing is founded in the focus on both the ‘assets’
of the young people and the ‘assets’ of the community. This focus on assets, allied with a small budget, is unlocking potential and opportunities for young people who could easily remain isolated.
Matt Boylan, Personal Asset Mentor, described a bewildering array of contacts he had made, voluntary agencies, council departments and more importantly people from his own network he has drawn in to benefit the young people he works with. BU Be Amazing uses Twitter to create and sustain these networks, and young people referred to the project also benefit from the wider Mayday Trust offer.
When Matt started working with a young woman called Mary she identified two ‘talents’ to build on: singing and cooking. Mary was easily connected to the Mayday Health hub and brokered some free cooking and singing lessons, as well as access to studio space. Mary says, “Before I went to my first singing lesson I felt a little bit nervous but after a while, I felt comfortable around the teacher and Matt – I want to achieve how to reach my higher notes and my breathing techniques”. The lessons have given Mary a space to build on her assets and develop some new relationships. Matt has also supported Mary to develop better relationships with all of the other people in her life, family and school.
The impact of BU Be Amazing on Mary is beginning to be seen. She uses her time more constructively, is meeting new people, has renewed self-confidence and self-belief, and a sense of achievement. Like other young people involved with the project, she has not moved up Northampton’s Vulnerability Matrix.
*This information was taken from Self Directed Support and Early Intervention, Tim Keilty, In Control, May 2014, and originally published in My Life, My Support, My Choice: a narrative for children and young people with complex lives, National Voices/TLAP, March 2015