A Swinton-based youth organisation is supporting young people through a combination of outdoor activities, resilience training and life skills.
Pathfinders was formed by Scorpio Community Development in 2021, after they realised that local activity groups for young people were slow to re-open after the covid-19 pandemic.
Originally launched as a pilot scheme named ‘Project Pathfinder’, the initiative soon “grew so much that at the end of the the project, [it] registered as a charity in [it’s] own right”.
The group has since received funding from the Arnold Clark Community Fund and the GM BeeWell grant.
Phil Bainbridge, Chief Instructor at Pathfinders, said he wanted to create “a modern, fit for purpose organisation for young people to grow…you can’t just sit and do craft”.
As well as outdoor activities, the organisation teaches young people practical life skills, covering everything from unblocking a sink to mental health awareness.
“We have training for suicide awareness and self-harm, so we talk about all those things…there is lessons with everything [we do], and it’s all stuff they want to know about,” said Mr. Bainbridge.
There is also a strong emphasis on social and financial inclusion, with many activities – such as visits to Chill Factor and Total Ninja – being available for free.
“(And for) every young person that comes through the door with sensory issues, we keep a supply of ear defenders, and if they’re feeling overwhelmed, they can just go and get them,” added Mr. Bainbridge.
The youth group has proved so popular in Salford and the surrounding areas that it now has 20 young people in the area waiting for a place.
“The sad thing is I’ve got young people from Pendleton, Clifton, Wardley, Lower Broughton…and they’re all coming to Swinton and you’ve only got the space you’ve got, so now I’m creating waiting lists.”
Pathfinders is based at St Augustine’s Church in Pendlebury.