Since receiving a glowing independent analysis of our Believe & Achieve programme from Chrysalis Research, we have been looking for ways to highlight the transformational effect B&A has on participants.
The idea for the conference, ‘Meningitis and its Impact - A Life-Changing Programme of Support for Teenagers and Young Adults’, was born. We want to share the journey of B&A and take the opportunity to shout about the life-changing impact it has on young people’s lives.
With significant funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, as well as a group of other valuable supporters* from the inception of the project in 2018 until now, we have developed a bespoke programme of support for young people impacted by meningitis. Despite many challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the unique programme has been an overwhelming success.
We know that for many young people, meningitis can disrupt all aspects of their lives, putting them at a significant disadvantage compared to their peers. The B&A programme offers young people the chance to meet new friends, be in a safe space where they can share their experiences, and gain confidence while learning new skills.
As a centre of expertise for meningitis after-care and support, we have used our experience to hone our understanding of what young people need to feel supported when managing experiences of meningitis. We developed a programme of events, meetups, support groups and mentoring to best meet the needs of our participants.
This makes us uniquely placed to provide information and guidance to other organisations and charities looking to set up their own programme of support for young people.
The online conference will be the perfect showcase of the fantastic work B&A does and will offer an opportunity to create new partnerships with like-minded organisations keen to set up their own youth support project.
Attendees will range from key supporters and partner organisations to leaders in the youth sector and health professionals. The programme will include breakout sessions on topics such as how to engage funders and what activities worked for our young people.
Believe & Achieve participants will also be on-hand to give their experiences of the programme and the differences it has made to their lives. Many more examples of their feedback are included in the five-year impact report. Here is one participant's feedback who took part in B&A’s peer mentoring scheme:
“Peer mentoring has given me more confidence in myself - I feel more confident in talking to other people....shows me that I’m not alone in my struggles, and that there are people out there to talk to.”
Another young person commented; “I was able to grow my confidence and self-esteem. I discovered I wanted to help people. I could be myself and relax. From that first event, I was a different person in the sense of letting go and being like, it’s not just me.”
The impact report shows significant improvement in young people’s confidence. Positive changes were noticeable for the vast majority of the programme participants. Other significant findings included improved aspirations and mental health, as well as, in some cases, participants overcoming the trauma caused by their experience of meningitis.
One particular piece of feedback from the Chrysalis team themselves really stood out;
“[Believe & Achieve] is perhaps the most impactful programme I’ve ever come across, particularly in terms of its long-term impact,” Dr Natalia Buckler, Chrysalis Research.
As well as looking at the past five years, the conference will consider the future of Believe & Achieve. With proof of concept well and truly achieved, we have secured another five years of funding to take the programme from strength to strength.
We look forward to developing our programme for young people and to sharing these plans to benefit as many people as possible.
Becky Hartwell says; “Lives have been transformed because of Believe & Achieve and the tools it offers. We’re so excited to share this with more people. We’d love to see other organisations, charities, and ultimately supporters, benefitting from our knowledge and experience.”
To find out more information about the conference and to register your interest please see our Believe & Achieve Conference 2024 page.
*We are very grateful for the support of the following B&A donors - BBC Children in Need, Gannochy Trust, GSK, Leeds Convalescent Society, National Lottery Community Fund, Pantheon Charitable Trust, Pixel Fund, Quilter Foundation, St. James's Place Charitable Foundation.