Crossbar Foundation launch alternative education programme to help Shropshire youngsters fulfil potential

A Shropshire charity has launched an alternative education programme for county youngsters to help them fulfil their potential.

The Crossbar Foundation has created CAP - Crossbar Alternative Provision - for young people aged between 14 and 16.

The programme’s learners, both full time and part time, will be based at Pimley Manor in Shrewsbury. 

They will have the opportunity to gain a BTEC qualification while having the chance to improve both functional and life skills.

CAP will also offer work experience placements through its network of contacts - with Shrewsbury’s Anytime Fitness, part of the fastest growing fitness franchise in the world, the first local business to come on board as a partner.  
Craig Farr, the CAP manager, said: “We’re going to create an environment where youngsters can succeed. Not everyone’s able to achieve in the formal academic world. Some develop and respond more to the practical and vocational side. 

“We’re going to be starting full time on April 16 and will work with children, through referrals from local schools, that maybe aren’t engaging so well in the formal education setting.

"We will combine either a short or long term educational package while linking in with the incentive of getting a feel for what it is to be 'on the shop floor' in a working environment.  

“We will bring them out of the formal classroom environment and invite them to Pimley Manor and see what interests, aspirations they have, before putting together a bespoke educational package to help them succeed.” 

He is pleased that Anytime Fitness, a 24-hour gym in Shrewsbury town centre, has become the first business to offer its support.

“It’s a real coup for us to have established that link,” he added. "For the youngsters to be able to spend time in a structured environment with the Anytime Fitness team is an exciting opportunity.

They will be able to see if it’s a route they like and are interested in. There’s then the chance to build a better bespoke package to help them further progress. 

“We hope this is the first of many partnerships we build with businesses in Shropshire. 

"We want to cater for every need and are in the process of establishing partnerships in forest schools, catering, nursery care, as well as many different areas, to enable us to offer a wide range of work experience to our learners alongside our academic programme.”

Allan Pugh, the general manager of Anytime Fitness in Shrewsbury, added he’s delighted to be offering opportunities to young people involved with CAP.

He said: “Work experience is so crucial for someone who hasn’t got it on their CV yet as it gives young people the potential to shine and excel. 

“There shouldn’t be any stereotype, there shouldn’t be any discrimination, as these youngsters all have huge potential. It’s not all about the academic side. This is more about that vocational side and being able to build a rapport with people, engaging with people.

"My own initial involvement with the leisure industry came from work experience, being given that opportunity as a 15-year-old to go into an adult environment and to have that responsibility. 

"It led to me gaining employment and by the time I was 19 I had a management position at a privately run country club. We’re really looking forward to welcoming the CAP youngsters and working with them.”  

Pictured: Craig Farr, right, the Crossbar Alternative Provision (CAP) manager with Allan Pugh, the general manager of Anytime Fitness Shrewsbury, which will be offering work experience opportunities to youngsters involved with the programme.