This week.. one year ago on the 4th June a group of 15 young people from Medway started the brand new Social Action Programme New Horizons. They came together to meet at Medway Youth Trust with the goal that in just four and a half months they would establish themselves as a team, raise £22,400 and travel over 5,000 miles away to a different continent to deliver a social action project that (in these early stages) they knew nothing about.12 months later it still amazes me that 11 of them completed this incredible task.
By the date of departure in October a staggering £21,000 had been raised and in March 2016, with little (if any) fanfare, we realised that with some final donations and gift aid reimbursments trickling in we had reached our massive £22,400 target!! The 'impossible' had been achieved!
Over the course of their fundraising, the support and encouragement that the group received from local businesses, trusts, organisations and individiuals was overwhelming and without it, New Horizons 2015 could never have happened. Thanks is due especially to MYT and it's staff who were our biggest support from day one of the journey.
One year on, all 11 participants are now engaged in college, work or training of some description. The 2015 graduates have been the best possible representation of what New Horizons could be. The journey they embarked on together and the knowledge they have gained through international experiences are impossible to quanitfy and it makes me very proud that they are still happy to come in and support the 2016 group.
This year's New Horizons experience is shaping up to be an equally fantsastic journey- an entirely different continent, culture and programme to contend with but at its core - a group of outstanding young people from Medway. In my view, it is the people make the programme and I am lucky enough to have, not only worked closely with the 2016 group since March, but I have also met a couple of our Moldovan counterparts who run some brilliantly progressive NGO's with very limited resources.
I know that in 2016, great, great things will happen in Moldova and the unstopable spirit of New Horizons will go from strenght to strenght. Watch this space.