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Reality Youth brings realistic motherhood experience to local young people

Abundant Life is part of Reality Youth Project, a local youth charity. The team delivers six week courses to small groups in schools and for community projects like Princes Trust on topics including anger management, self-esteem, loss and separation and sex and relationships.

The sex and relationships course is a frank, open course where young people can discuss sensitive issues with their peers and course leaders, learn about sexual health and the importance of good emotional health to ensure a healthy partnership with someone. Discussions cover self-esteem, looking for best friend qualities in a partner and what constitutes loving behaviour and a balanced relationship. We also look at the roles of mums and dads and the consequences of pregnancies and STIs.

A grant from Sir Timothy Brooks Fund and Sheila Collard Fund paid for a new laptop used to programme ‘Realcare’ babies, which are used to provide a virtual parenting experience for young people as part of a course on sex and relationships. The scheme saw 80 young girls looking after the babies over a 48 hour period, and responding to their needs which are scheduled on the diaries of mothers with real babies and include feeding, changing, rocking and burping. The experience included night feeds and caring for an infant whilst coping with sleep deprivation.

Gartree baby girls

The scheme is aimed at addressing the rosy view many young girls have of being a mother. Many who are vulnerable to low self-worth, think it would be lovely to have a baby to love and care for without considering the impact on their young lives. The virtual parenting experience shows them the stark realities of caring for a baby 24/7 and how that would restrict their lifestyle.

“The REAL course is another of my favourites to book in and it has become that well known by the young people in Melton that before a lot of them start on my Team Programme they are asking if we are having the simulator babies! The messages they take away from this are so valuable, especially in terms of positive relationships. So many of the young people that join the Prince’s Trust have experienced poor parenting, the lack of a father or mother figure, abusive partners or pregnancy and this course tackles the issues head on but with tact and an open and understanding approach.” Team Leader – Princes Trust Melton

If you’d like to set up your own local giving fund to help local good causes, please contact Katy Green at Leicestershire & Rutland Community Foundation on 0116 262 4916 or email:katy.green@llrcommunityfoundation.org.uk.