Blesma Community Programme
Blesma member & workshop facilitator Sean Stocker works with David Birrell, a BCP newcomer.
What is the BCP?
The Blesma Community Programme trains veterans who have lost limbs, the use of their limbs or eyesight, in sharing their story of adversity and resilience, before touring the U.K. delivering workshops in secondary schools and youth centres.
Blesma members take part in an intensive training period, led by exceptional storytelling trainers, on how to tell their own story with impact to captivate and inspire audiences. Together with returning speakers from previous years, Blesma members then go out into communities all over the U.K. to first share their own story and then take part in workshops, run by a professional facilitator, exploring the theme of adversity and resilience. For young people, this might mean bullying, social media pressures, bereavement, sexual orientation – all issues that can potentially derail teenagers. The workshop is designed to help identify coping mechanisms that each person can adapt to their own circumstances and take into their everyday life.
Who does it benefit?
The storytelling skills Blesma members learn throughout the BCP not only provide income as the school visits are paid assignments, but also translate well to public speaking opportunities, job interviews and overall confidence.
Through the talks and workshops, young people can really understand what it is to face adversity and learn resilience, finding suitable coping mechanisms for their own challenges they may be facing. By working with local schools and youth centres, Blesma members can connect with their own communities and become a figure of hope.
What has it achieved?
Since it’s launch in 2016, the BCP has trained over 30 Blesma members as storytellers and inspired over 10,000 young people across the U.K. The programme was a finalist for a Sun Military Award in 2016. Now it its third year, we are looking forward to running a really successful schools programme throughout Spring & Summer 2018.
“The BCP and The Drive Project changed everything. As soon as you do a talk at a school and they tweet about the talk and the feedback is so humbling. The schools where kids are having real troubles… that’s the most satisfying. We are changing not just Blesma members’ lives but young peoples’ lives. I am now in full time employment, I look forward… I arrange outings. I am arranging a trip to Snowdonia challenge, I do my talks and I am taking ten guys to India next year.”
– Stewart Harris, Blesma member, trained storyteller and workshop facilitator
Blesma member & Invictus Games 2017 athlete Mark Omrod inspires a local school
Our exceptional trainers: Kate Beales, Clare Murphy, Al Nedjari and Phil Peacock
“Several very difficult students were totally engaged. The first day of workshops inspired a great deal of conversation both at social times, as well as at home – parents kindly let us know. The emphasis on not giving up, to persevere, to have ambitions and to try hard was invaluable.” – Teacher from a participating school