OX7 has been running in Chipping Norton for just over a year now and has been a great success, helping dozens of young people find their way in life. Often that’s meant getting them into work but it’s not necessarily what OX7 is about.
There is an impression that the project exists to put people to work but it’s much, much more than that – it’s about building futures.
Run from the office next to the Theatre Box Office, key worker Vic McFarlane is a mine of information about practical help and advice. She has excellent knowledge of the various organisations she can draw on whether it’s training, education, mentoring or just teaching basic skills to get young people back on track.
“It’s not just about getting people into work, or even back into college”, says Vic, “we’ve got some brilliant links with places where people who couldn’t get on with school, for whatever reason, and now don’t know what to do with their lives.”
Once Vic has had a chat with someone, she gets to work putting together a plan to help them make the most of themselves. It could include:
- Personal development help
- Business enterprise advice, for those who want to try and start their own business
- Personal finance advice, helping young people get to grips with banking and budgets, for themselves as well as in the workplace
- Exploring skills and interests to find out what work might suit best
“A lot of the people I see aren’t ready to go to work,” says Vic, “that’s why they don’t last long in any jobs. What we do is help them prepare, help them find out what they want to do. It’s only when they’re ready that we start looking for a long-term job for them.”
Training, not education
A lot of the assistance comes in the form of training, sometimes learning practical skills in small groups, which is more effective than solo training, or in large classes.
For example, many young people referred to OX7 go through a period with Banbury BHYP which is doing great work in helping people work out what they want to do, BHYP has been a great supporter of OX7.
BYHP offer courses for young people on social development, employability skills and personal finance. They also offer fun course such as creative music, working with local DJs and common sense cooking courses as well as first aid and health and safety, which look great on CVs.
Successes coming thick and fast
So far OX7 has put lots of young people back on track – in fact in one case someone came through the door and within two weeks was very happy working at Soho Farmhouse.
But that’s the exception, everyone else has spent some months doing other activities before they’ve found themselves ready to take steps into the workplace.
Why not drop in?
OX7 runs a drop-in centre at the office on Thursdays between 10am and 1.30pm or you can call Vic on 07904 280935 or email info@OX7.org.
You don’t have to be the person who needs a bit of assistance to talk to Vic. If you know a young person who could do with a chat about their future, perhaps a friend or family member, you are more than welcome to come in and talk to Vic in confidence about some options.