Fresh Start was a 3-year Big Lottery funded project which finished at the end of July 2015. This project supported 15-25 year olds and provided young people the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to ‘move on’. Through increasing their confidence and achieving formal recognition for their skill attained, many young people were able to progress onto education, employment or training.

“I want to go to work, but find it hard because of anxiety, Volunteering helps give me something to put my energy towards and prepare myself for getting a job”

The young people took part in a variety of activities including improving employability skills, First Aid, Food Hygiene Certificates, Rock climbing, Bushcraft, Slacklining, Music sessions, Volunteering and an Expedition to Mount Snowdon as well at various awards and accreditations.

“It was emotional, it was an achievement and I had really good fun with the group”

Activities were adapted to meet the individual needs of the participants and involved one to one and group work. Each activity gave young people a chance to develop vital skills that will help when writing CV’s, applying for jobs, working alongside others and help to increase self-confidence to move closer to or enter employment, education or training.

“It was really helpful and helped put me in the right direction”

They worked with 110 different organisations throughout the project which helped to raise the profile of Dorset Youth Association in the local area and continue to network with organisations who also want to improve the quality of life for children and young people in Dorset.


Fresh Start worked with 239 young people who were either not in education, employment or training or at risk of becoming so. This gave young people who needed support a chance to develop their confidence.

They delivered 368 group days focusing on building confidence, improving communication skills and developing team work skills. These are vital skills that will enable the young people to enter employment.

141 young people completed workplace training, This not only means that they have increased their employability skills, but also they now have an awareness and understanding of the workplace. This has given them experiences that they would not have had without Fresh Start.

104 progressed into education, employment or training during the programme. This shows that the activities in Fresh Start made a change to the young people’s lives and provided them with the skills and confidence to ‘move on’.

94 young people achieved awards and accreditation and now have formal recognition for their hard work and skill gained throughout their time with Fresh Start. This will be valuable when applying for jobs, courses or further training in the future.