Never has the mental health and well-being of our youth been so important.
Not only is it tough enough today to navigate the pressures of life as a young person, the adverse effects of this pandemic has also seen their education interrupted, social life slashed, and all the joys of teenage times taken away.
The Gloves Are On (#TGAO) are a registered charity, founded by cancer survivor Soraya Kelly, who are dedicated to providing a range of opportunities, education and support to children, young adults and their families on difficult and sensitive issues.
These health and wellbeing packages include support and advice on a range of issues that affect our youth, for example, bullying and mental health issues, relationships and sexuality, gang culture and knife crime, bereavement and loss, exam and peer pressure, personal development and self-confidence
The Gloves Are On work with schools, organisations, businesses, and third sector organisations to deliver this support. Their core team, who act as Role Models, are supported by a number of credible and respected Ambassadors.
Currently they are in discussion with the Welsh Government’s Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, about the Untie4youth programme and how to increase the opportunities for hard to reach young people to obtain paid work placements.
And just before the valiant Vale was sent into into a local Lockdown, the team managed to slip away to the gorgeous Goodsheds for a photo-opportunity to promote the latest The Gloves Are On (#TGAO) goodie.
The campaigning crew of movers and shakers joined Vale Assembly Member Jane Hutt in a smoothly social-distanced pic to highlight the latest initiative.
Launched as part of Black History Month on October 1st, the educational program, will produce a cool calendar, and a diary of events, showing real life inspirational Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) members of our community.
All these role models, young people included, who are from a variety of backgrounds have achieved success against the odds will form part of a promotional video for #OurLivesMatter, in collaboration with South Wales Police (BPA) and other organisations.
Since, the start in January 2018, #TGAO have had much success, making improvements in areas such as well-being, raised awareness on many social issues, and have broken down barriers with increased positivity on an individual and group youth basis.
Spreading the message on social media, #TGAO have gone viral with mass support from the local community and beyond, including a number of professional sports personalities.
Current projects include:
#SeeSpeakSave well-being packages are being produced in collaboration with talented university students and alongside our educational mentors, Daydream Education.
A game style interactive Appis in the process of being developed with discussions around relevant marketing ongoing. Designed specifically to gain the interest of younger children, a cartoon character will reach, empower, educate and support those at a younger age.
#Unite4Youth is a project that provides `real’ paid opportunities for young people in collaboration with Cardiff City Council. The council fund the relevant course or training programme to enable a young person to work alongside qualified staff receiving wages through the #TheGlovesAreOn charity.
#FadeItOutKnockItOut is a discrimination in sport campaign. Topics such as, class, racism, male domination and female domination are researched and explored by young people in youth and sport clubs throughout Wales and beyond.
Another current project being driven by the inspirational Nikki through her Instagram campaign itsoknottobeokeveryday is our Mental Health, Self Love and Be kind projects.
Nikki’s journey started as a result of battling Mental Health herself plus body confidence issues through both Domestic Violence, and PTSD through a tragic life event. Nikki is passionate about sharing her story and helping others overcome their insecurities and focussing on Mental health awareness and helping others.
Soraya said: “I had over 30 years of experience working with children, young adults and their families within the community or in the child protection field. I proud of my achievement winning the “Changing Star” award whilst employed at Cardiff City Council that helped to turn young people’s lives around.
But this was not enough to make the positive change as quickly as I wanted, so I set up The Gloves Are On. Utilising my previous employment skills, knowledge, passion and determination to make a difference – and we have gone from strength to strength. Thanks to all who have supported us.”
To find out more about #TheGlovesAreOn campaign, you can visit the #TGAO website, or Social Media pages: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linked In. Nikki’s social media page is itsoknottobeokeveryday.
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.