What does nurture mean to me? In a word: aspiration. To be able to help young people who have not had the greatest of starts in life to engage with learning and to achieve, is incredibly rewarding and my passion. This is the privilege I have had in my own nurture group, ‘Diamonds’ at Kettlethorpe High School in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, for the last seven years.
I was born and brought up in Wakefield, which was at the heart of the mining community, until the pit closures of the late 1980s. I lived through the miners’ strike and saw the subsequent effect on the many communities across our region. Communities that were once held together by the coal mining industry became a waste land of family breakdown, deprivation and unemployment.
So, for me, there is a bigger picture; by helping individuals and their families, we can go some way towards repairing our communities and giving the most vulnerable a chance to have hope and a different future. This is big – and the reason why I have fanned the flames of nurture across the Yorkshire region, supporting the development of nurture groups, by liaising between the nurtureuk and contacts in many major cities across the area.
Of course, times have moved on from ‘Coal not Dole’. The vulnerable face many other complex challenges, and we have to adapt to meet those needs. Nurture groups are so powerful in addressing so many of these. I have witnessed this within Diamonds and therefore continue to welcome visitors who want to develop their nurture groups, so they too can instigate powerful change. If you think I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to contact me on JTurner@kettlethorpe.wakefield.sch.uk.