End Of Term Report 2006

It has been an eventful year with many new developments. The theme for the year has been ‘building’; we have been building for the future, building on the past achievements and literally as you will see later just plain building!

We have touched the lives of over 500 children, worked very closely and in great depth and length with over 100. We have seen changed lives, we have been richly rewarded and we feel very honoured to be able to work with these young people.

At the same time we have had heartache and frustration. Heartache at the failures, caused by the ever increasing complexity and ever more deeply entrenched problems of our young people

Frustration because we still lack the resources we want to proactively plan and manage our work the way we want to.

Thanks to The Hadley Trust and a small mortgage from The Unity Trust Bank we now own Second Chance House down here in Portsmouth. This has made a significant difference to us, not least in reducing what we were paying in rent each month, but by also transforming the financial ‘feel’ of the Charity as the owners of a £300,000+ property. It gives an air of permanency about the place and the net worth of the Charity is now very healthy. We are hoping that will reflect in level of financial donations received next year.

Thanks to the Esmee Fairbairn Trust we now have another youth worker on board and in addition to our normal support work around the country, our classroom and drop in centre here in Portsmouth has taken on more referrals and is going great guns.

We seem to have well and truly entered a new era with the single young mothers who are still our clients and now producing their own off spring whilst still in our charge. As this report is being compiled we are preparing for a week away in a cottage in Sun Parks, Belgium, where the young people will experience parenting classes and general education in family life. The staff for this week is all female with one exception. Much to the amusement of the (predominantly male) staff remaining in the UK Doug Hulme is going with them as well. He claims it is 18 years since he last changed a nappy. Could it be the parenting and education classes are for our Chief Executive?!!!

All the stolen goods from our cottage in Finland have now been replaced and we thank those of you who specifically donated to that project. In addition we have purchased, sited and adapted a steel shipping container at the cottage, which should keep our most valuable assets safe and sound. Along with extra security measures on the cottage itself, we feel much more comfortable.

Possibly the biggest undertaking this year has been the building of new bunk house accommodation at our cottage in Finland along with the expansion of the small cottage. Since taking the lease on the small cottage and letting go our rental agreement for our first cottage, we have been faced with the dilemma that we did not have enough sleeping or catering facilities for our normal size of groups that we take to the cottage for a weeks residential training. We decided we would have to build a new bunk house for the youngsters. One that would sleep 10 people in comfort and warmth.

Aware that we could not afford to pay someone to build for us we came up with the plan to use the older youngsters and the expertise of our volunteers to build our own. It has been a great exercise, especially for our older young people.

The older youngsters, aged from 16—25 have been the main residents at the cottage this year and they have worked very hard. Labouring for the expert volunteers they have learned much of both practical and social value. Hard work does not come easy to any youngster today, so to doing as you are asked! These youngsters finally also got the chance to ‘put something back’ after many hours and expenses have been lavished on them over the years, here was a chance to repay some of it! They acquitted themselves well!

The youngsters learned a lot from their ‘working parties’. It really emphasises how as a nation we are miseducating our youngsters. We have become so full of political correctness, guidelines and good practice that when it comes to the care and education of our young we have become guilty of neglect. We give the youngsters a false impression of what life is like. They have expectations beyond reality. They do not know how to do as they are asked, they believe everyone has a responsibility to them. They expect to start work on £40,000 a year, not to be ordered about, not to have to do anything they don't want. A huge chunk of our time as a Charity is spent educating the 16+ age group into what real life is all about. Some of our youngsters are unemployable when they leave school, not because they are stupid but because they do not know how to behave and what is reasonable to expect. Adults involved in young peoples lives are frightened to give the youngsters clear guidelines and parameters to work to; to teach them values and morals, to prepare them for real life. Common sense has disappeared almost altogether. Second Chance continues to do its best in redressing the balance.

Many days and summer evenings have been spent on the bank side fishing with the youngsters. We find the benefits to our year round work invaluable. It is on the bank side we lay the foundations and spread the icing. It is where we discover what makes them tick, what their problems are, who they really are. The benefits of being in the countryside and experiencing nature continue to have a profound, almost spiritual, effect on them which seems to be even further heightened at our cottage in Finland.

We are looking next year to continue to build. We need a bigger income and we want to raise money for capital expenditure as well. A lake in the South East is high on our list of priorities as is a cottage of our own in Finland, not to mention that some of our vehicles need replacing during 2007. If you felt you could support us again next year we would be really pleased and if you felt you could increase your level of support that would be spectacularly beneficial to us.

We have employed a succession of fund raising managers over the previous 4 or 5 year period and none have been terribly successful. So much so that we made the decision last year not seek a new one. This means we are relying on our established friends and supporters to maintain our work. So far we have not regretted that decision, saving on administration yet maintaining our income. It can only be done with your help however. If you know of someone else who might be able to support the Charity please let us know and we can follow up the introduction. It seems that the only way forward is relational support. Which makes us ever more grateful for your support!

We had a number of excellent fundraising days during the year. A day courtesy of The Duke of Wellington fly fishing in April and two days spent at Dever Springs Fishery. An excellent all records broken Dinner and Auction at the House of Commons in March and latterly the evening at Alnwick Castle. We are so grateful for those of you who supported these events.