At Talent Match Northants, variety truly is the spice of life. With Dungeons & Dragons groups for social skills building, Away Days that contain team building activities and Mystery Tours that show off the careers and jobs in different sectors, it’s fair to say that we’ve tried all sorts of new things to help build our beneficiaries confidence. Over the past few months we have seen great benefits from our regular activity groups such as pool and poker, which are activities you wouldn’t necessarily think of when brainstorming ideas. All of the beneficiaries who take part have made progress which has enabled them to come ever closer to sustainable employment.
During one session, one of our Champions, Paul, decided to ask a few of the beneficiaries in the group what they thought.
One beneficiary, Sian, who was asked her thoughts on the group said that it has ‘helped [her] to get to know other beneficiaries more’, stating that this helps her when we engage beneficiaries in other group activities like our health walks and our away days. Sian also said that the group has broadened her social circle which has made her a happier person.
Carigun, another beneficiary who takes part in these activities said that the group has brightens his week and gives him something to look forward to.
Two other beneficiaries stated that the group is one of the highlights of their week. One of those two, Jordan, also said that because he has a talent for pool already, it makes him feel good to be able to share his skills with others and give them tips.
The progress we’ve seen the beneficiaries make as a result of the groups has been of much more importance than what the beneficiaries can see themselves. All of the above beneficiaries, and more, have become much more sociable people. This is important as many of the beneficiaries involved had suffered a declining effect upon their social skills while unemployed, due to a lack of social time with their peers. In many cases the only contact the beneficiaries made with other people was with professionals such as job coaches or older colleagues at their various volunteer placements. This did not allow them to let their guard down and enjoy themselves as the pool group does.
It seems that through allowing their guard to come down the beneficiaries are able to find a lost part of themselves and in turn this increases self-awareness, self-worth, and produces happier people and gives them a more positive outlook upon life. Beneficiaries who were once near impossible to engage in conversation now initiate conversations regularly. This coincides with a noticeable decrease in symptoms of anxiety and stress which were clearly visible prior to regular attendance at the groups. This gives them increased power in society as they find it easier to make their voice heard and influence decisions which affect them. The increased sociability is also an attribute which can carry a person far in gaining, increasing and progressing in any career they might choose.