For Zara, the sense of self-belief and confidence she has found through Young Bristol is invaluable.
As a teenager, she suffered from low self-esteem and, despite an interest in outdoor activities, says that coming from a single-parent, low-income background limited her ability to access and participate in such pursuits.
That was before she became involved with the Bristol charity that works to open up opportunities and experiences to young people. Zara is now enrolled on Young Bristol’s instructor training scheme and has a positive outlook for the future.
The charity, with a HQ on Silver Street and base on the Floating Harbour, is one of the 45 local causes that stands to benefit from Bristol Giving Day, which is organised by the Quartet Community Foundation, takes place on Wednesday, October 9 and is being supported by Bristol24/7.
People can show their support by undertaking the Bridges Challenge and donating £1 for each of the city’s 45 bridges crossed. The target is to raise £45,000 for the 45 organisations and charities.
Young Bristol provides affordable, freely accessible, community-driven youth provision that positively and sustainably impacts on the lives of people between the age of eight and 25. The charity is teamed up with Temple Bridge, in Temple Quay.
Speaking about what the charity means to her, Zara says: “From a young age, I’ve always had an interest in outdoor activities. I recall looking up to outdoor instructors at school residentials, aspiring to have a similar job in the future but never believing that I would have the confidence or skills to carry out such a role.
“Coming from a single parent, low-income background, I was limited in my ability to afford to access and participate in outdoor activities any further.
“My first engagement with Young Bristol was in 2015 when I took part in their NCS programme, an experience I thoroughly enjoyed. After being unsuccessful in achieving the grades I needed to secure my university place and questioning my future, I decided to join in the instructor training scheme in September 2017.
“I regularly attended sessions, highly enjoying the opportunity to learn and develop new skills in activities including kayaking, canoeing, high ropes and climbing, in addition to meeting like-minded individuals.
“Through the scheme, I completed my first aid course, which has since been put into practice. In early 2018 I completed my RYA power boat level two qualification and safety boat training, as well as passing the SS Great Britain High Ropes Instructor Course, gaining employment in 2018-19. This was my first role as an instructor.
“In 2018, I also assisted with several of Young Bristol’s holiday activities, enabling me to put newly-found leadership and communication skills into practice.
“The most valuable thing I have gained from my participation with the instructor training scheme, is a great increase in self-confidence and self-belief. I struggled with low self-esteem throughout my teenage years and participating in the scheme has vastly improved this; doing activities that were out of my comfort zone, and achievements I previously thought I was incapable of. All of these new experiences have helped me to determine what I want to do in the future.”
Find out more about Young Bristol by heading to Temple Bridge on Bristol Giving Day.
Read more: Bristol Giving Day