On 2nd October 2015, the Jack Petchey Foundation held the Crystal Awards at City Hall, London to mark the 15th Anniversary of the Jack Petchey Foundation and the milestone of having invested £100m in youth projects in London and Essex. In a special gesture to mark the occasion, £225,000 of grant awards were given on the night to 150 youth groups specially selected for their outstanding work with young people.
Mosaic LGBT Youth Centre is a London based organisation which works with young LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people to support, educate, and inspire them. Five years ago, Mosaic started a summer residential programme as a way of engaging members who might not be able to attend their weekly sessions regularly. It also gives members time away from home that is not only safe, affirming and LGBT+ focused, but also challenging and educational.
Mosaic used their £1500 Crystal Award to take a group of members on a canal boat trip. They set off on their week long voyage from Rugby and continued through the beautiful countryside of Warwickshire. Lucasz, the Jack Petchey Foundation Coordinator said “[The] journey had no destination as we used it as a metaphor to explain that happiness in life is not a destination, but a journey.” The slow speed of the boat set the pace for a relaxing and inspiring week for the group of young people.
On the canal boat, they were required to take on leadership positions, with the staff taking more of a back seat as the trip went on. Young people were in charge of cooking and dividing tasks between each other, which presented an opportunity to learn conflict resolution and team building skills. Lucasz said, “It was a metaphor for growing up and although [it was] met with some resistance, they loved the freedom and responsibility that came with this process.”
Throughout the week, the young people took part in a variety of LGBT themed workshops, as well as sessions focusing on mindfulness, cooperation and privilege to help them better understand themselves as part of the LGBT community and wider society.
The young people who participated described the residential as “amazing”, “gay”, “fabulous”, “inspirational” and “intense”.
Not only did the residential give the participants a week in which they could relax and be themselves, they also built a positive network of friends whom they can continue to rely on now that the residential is over.
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