Uttlesford Respect Project in doubt after funding is pulled

THESE happy youngsters are celebrating the completion of a project designed to boost confidence and self-esteem – but they could be the last after funding for the 2011 scheme was pulled.

On Monday, the year nine students from Uttlesford’s secondary schools, who were nominated to take part in the seventh Respect Project run by Essex Boys and Girls Club (EBGC), were presented with certificates of achievement. That follows the completion of a life skills course that culminated with an adventure-filled trip to the Lake District.

However, the Respect Project for Uttlesford’s youth in 2011 is in grave doubt – it takes about �15,000 to run the course from start to finish but previously-allocated money from Essex County Council’s Local Priority Fund has been withdrawn.

Respect Project coordinator Keith Cranmer explains: “We are looking for the funding to continue into 2011 and the Local Priority Fund was set to run until then. But that has been withdrawn in the last couple of weeks.

“Every attempt to find funding to support the next project will be made but without a u-turn by the council the Respect Project that has achieved so much over the years will not run.”

Since 2000 around 50 Respect Projects have run throughout Essex; seven in Uttlesford since 2003. The scheme, which is supported by Essex Police, is aimed at improving the self-awareness and self-esteem of young people.

They take part in courses at school before being nominated for the final part of the project. And its success for the 11 teenagers selected to take part in the 2010 is evident – they built up a number of key skills such as team work, listening and acting on instructions and discipline while taking part in challenging activities that often pushed them outside their comfort zones.

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They coped with torrential rain, snow, fog and ice as their expedition saw them tackle Hellvelyn (the second highest mountain in England), abseil at Sandale Quarry and earn a place on a week-long life skills course full of outdoor activities in the Lake District.

“The Respect Project gave these young people a belief in themselves they did not previously have and a better understanding of how to deal with the issues and pressures of school and home life,” said Mr Cranmer.

“They have achieved far more than they thought possible. The fact that every member of the group completed all challenges was a tribute to them and the staff team.

“Thanks to the support of volunteers, EBGC staff and local schools, these young people have had this unique opportunity.”

The EBGC is now looking for extra money to help fund the 2011 Respect Project in Uttlesford.

To get involved or for more information call Mr Cranmer on 01245 264783 or e-mail keithc@essexboysandgirlsclubs.org