Initiated by our Harrogate team, across the North Yorkshire in our young people’s pathway services, Progress groups are leading the way forward for change.

Now well established, the Harrogate Progress group runs on a Thursday. The group attracts up to 35 attendees every week and is working to establish good relationships with customers as well as other vulnerable young people who may need sign-posting and support. The group activities fit into the desired outcomes for young people entering onto the pathway – aiming to build skills for positive and independent futures. However, an essential ingredient of the Progress Groups is that they are a ‘drop-in’ and therefore all of the activities are voluntary. This allows the staff to give time to building trust with the customers and getting to know them. When customers do choose to engage in the activities alongside their peers, they do so with a clear understanding of how the activities can be of benefit to them.

In a typical week, all of the following activities will take place:

A warm meal in good company:

The food available for customers at the Progress group is homemade and healthy. Menus vary each week to include great dishes from a meatball casserole with lashings of seasonal vegetables to chicken fajitas, with a vegetarian option using pitted black olives, feta cheese and salad.  Vegetarian option available using a range of seasonal, fresh vegetables.  Of course there are desserts too! From freshly made plain scones filled with a drizzle of locally sourced jam, crème fraiche and fresh strawberry.  To dreamy chocolate cake, filled with fresh buttercream and topped with milk chocolate and Maltesers.  A true feast to be enjoyed by all, including the staff team, who pay a small fee for their meal. All of the money raised this way is directed back into the Progress Group to help fund the shared meals.

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Our thanks to Shaun who has been committed to his volunteering role each week to prepare and make a range of dishes and desserts from scratch at the drop-in sometimes for up to 35 people.  Staff, volunteers and customers would like to say a massive Thank You to Shaun for all his hard work. Shaun may soon be saying goodbye to Progress Drop-in due to recently been offered employment for a local retail store, however says he will try to come along and help out in the kitchen when he can.  On Behalf of Foundation staff and customers we would like to wish Shaun all the very best for the future and thanks once again for all your hard work and commitment.

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Healthy initiative

Volunteer Shaun prepared a range of sliced citrus and added to a jug of water as a healthy initiative which will be introduced at each weekly drop-in to encourage customers to drink more water and to swap for drinks containing high amounts of sugar.  This initiative complements next week’s group discussion that Graeme (our Activities Worker) will be delivering based on hidden sugars and how they can be swapped for alternative healthier options.  Graeme will be raising awareness of hidden sugars found in a range of fizzy/non-fizzy drinks.

Parent and toddler cookery group

Harrogate Progress Group customers recently introduced a cookery group for parents and toddlers.  The group will be customer led each week and supported by a volunteer and student, with assistance from staff as and when required.  This is an ideal opportunity for expectant mums/new mums and mums who have toddlers to attend the group.  Recipes will soon be available for customers to take away of recipes made each week which are all made using seasonal and basic ingredients with no added salt.  Vegetarian options available.

Attendance by local partners and health initiatives:

This week Harrogate Homeless Project and Sexual Health Community Nurses (Social Care) attended the group. Particular thanks to both Kia and Lora who discussed a range of topics regarding sexual health and gave out free information/sample packs to customers

If you are local to Harrogate and would like to know more about the Progress Group, please contact our Harrogate team.