The Better Lives Partnership and Bridge 2 Employment (B2E) Programme came about because Andy Margerison, our founding trustee, realised that there was no positive destination for some of his pupils when they transitioned out of education. Some young people find that when they finish schooling they are not ready to go into employment or go straight to college. However, some pupils also did not require the services of the Activity and Resource Centres. He and the previous Chair of our Board of Trustees (Dave Bleasdale) set about creating a space for these young people.
The pilot B2E Programme was funded by the Holywood Trust and opened for business in September 2017 with 5 young people and 5 members of staff.
Better Lives Partnership aims to give young autistic people a structured programme of person-centred accredited training in their area of interest and expertise, as well as work-related skills to prepare them for the next step towards employment, self-employment, education, training, or volunteering.
Since opening our first site in Castle Douglas in September 2017, Better Lives has extended to open B2E @ Wigtownshire in Stranraer in January 2020 and a third location; B2E @ Nithsdale/Annadale in Dumfries from August 2021.
Our Unique Selling Points!
Better Lives Partnership was set up for young people, and our person-centred approach means all our programmes start with them.
- We build upon our young people’s existing skills and attributes rather than focusing on a career area.
- Our programme is NOT time limited – enabling each young person the time and support they need to achieve their ‘best’ outcome.
- Our programme is flexible and able to be guided by the needs of the young individual.
- Our programme is ‘individualised’ for each young person – if necessary can be completely ‘bespoke’ to the individual.
- Young people can choose to attend the elements of the Programme which they need to achieve their ‘next steps’.
- Young people can continue to receive the level of support they need even when they have moved on to their ‘next steps’ eg taking up a College place.
Across all 3 of our sites, we run a variety of short accredited courses through our Bridge 2 Employment programme that allows our young people to develop their existing skills and interests to support them in reaching their ‘next step’, whether that be employment, self-employment, work placements, college etc.
We also offer Bridge 2 Business, and Bridge 2 Creative projects to help our young people develop employment opportunities, entrepreneurial skills, their creativity and support their well-being.