Speaker Meeting, 6.15 for 6.30pm

Mon, Apr 4th 2022 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Speaker: Andy Malcolm, CEO of SMASH


In the picture: President Kathy with Andy Malcolm, CEO of SMASH, a charity set up 23 years ago to help non-thriving young people improve their levels of well-being.  It is based in the Pinetrees Community Centre in Pinehurst, Swindon and works mainly with youngsters aged from 7 to 19 living in Pinehurst and Penhill, two of the most deprived areas of Swindon.

Our guest speaker Andy said that in addition to him there are 6 part-time staff and about 80 volunteers.  The operating expenses are in the region of  £110,00 a year and their funds come mainly by donations plus a small grant from Swindon Borough Council.

Referrals to SMASH primarily come from schools and the youth justice service.  The SMASH Schools Project currently operates in partnership with two local schools and is aimed at helping students develop their confidence, self-esteem, friendships and communication skills.  This is achieved by sharing fun activities and games in a friendly group setting.  Each weekly group session is hosted by a member of the SMASH staff team, supported by volunteers.

There is also one-to-one mentoring.  Volunteer mentors seek to change the lives of young people who, through no fault of their own, are not receiving the attention, encouragement and support they need.  The young people may have been let down by adults in the past. They may not have an opportunity to voice how they feel – or if they do, they might not have anyone who really cares.  Mentors meet with the same young person at least once a fortnight, typically for a year, to give support, encouragement and guidance.  Mentors encourage the youngsters to believe in themselves to build up their self-confidence.  Sometimes the most important thing a mentor can do is to simply be there for the young person as a trusted adult who will listen to them without judgement.

After they leave SMASH many of the youngsters return to school and often achieve decent exam results and go on to higher education.  They learn to manage difficult problems at home and to take advantage of opportunities within their community such as joining youth groups, sports teams and other clubs.

Andy said that the level of need is increasing.  “There is a real well-being crisis in Swindon and indeed in the whole of the UK,” he said.  “SMASH helps young people create good memories, improve their decision-making, gain a sense of self worth and to see a brighter future and hopefully making a contribution to their local community.”

Rotary Club President Kathy was delighted to inform Andy that the Club will shortly be donating £500 to SMASH.

SMASH, Pinetrees Community Centre-The Circle, Pinehurst, Swindon, SN2 1QR
A limited Company registered in England and Wales, No 4626164 and Registered Charity, No 1107900 

SMASH website
 

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