Splash provides specifically designed and highly structured, free, out of school activities for around 250 young people each year in Wiltshire. We prioritise young people facing challenges in life, for example those with special educational needs or disabilities, on child protection plans, in care, at risk of anti-social behaviour, young carers, or from families facing bereavement, breakdown or financial hardship. We help to raise their self-esteem and confidence, divert from negative and anti-social behaviour and empower young people to make independent, positive and safe choices. We facilitate the development of positive social skills, positive friendships and provide the opportunity for young people to have fun and forget the challenges they are experiencing, for a few hours.
Splash was introduced in the summer holidays of 1989 when the project was delivered in Chippenham and run by Police Officers. It quickly became a success with projects being introduced in other towns in Wiltshire. By 1995 it had become so successful and grown to such an extent that it was necessary to review how it could be sustained. It was then that Splash became a charity, independent of Wiltshire Police but still supported by them; governed by a formal constitution and board of trustees. In November 2014 Splash transfered from the Police to local charity Community First. Community First is a Wiltshire based charity that works at the forefront of community development to help improve the quality of life and economic well being of people and local communities throughout Wiltshire and Swindon. The values and aims of both charities mirrored one another and a full merger was completed in April 2016.
Splash has now been running for over 26 years and has grown from a single project in Chippenham to a county wide scheme which has earned wide spread respect within our community. During this time the Splash team (Staff, Volunteers & Trustees) have continuously developed and adapted Splash to the ever changing needs of young people, the communities in which they live and the national and local agendas which affect us all. Developments and changes have always been guided by the knowledge that young people grow and develop best when engaged in meaningful, motivational, positive activities. So whilst we aspire to always become smarter in the way we work and the projects we run we have not lost sight of the need to support all young people and reach those most in need.
Splash projects help support young people by providing positive holiday activities which help to raise self esteem, confidence and life skills. The projects are free, a mixture of one to five day activities and generally fall into four categories:
• Personal Safety
We provide activities during school holidays because this is often a time of year when many young people are left to fend for themselves, get bored, and can be drawn into trouble and conflict. The number of activities we run each calendar year is dependent on income generated but we normally achieve around 70 days of activity offering in the region of 800 places and we regularly achieve an engagement rate in excess of 80%.
We aim to provide safe and healthy environments where young people can feel safe, participate and enjoy positive activities.
We regularly ask young people to tell us what they would like to do or experience and we plan our projects from the things they tell us:
• "The bit that I enjoyed most was making things because I don't get to do that a lot."
• "You could make the project better by making it longer and more days."