Kaci Wins Positive Futures Award

18th March 2016

Positive Futures is a sport based inclusion programme, part of which uses sports and physical activity to divert young people away from crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB). The programme will present an award each year from now on in memory of 13 year old Curtis Murphy of the Gaer, one of the programme's referrals who suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in June last year.

Curtis was a pupil at Caerleon Comprehensive School and was one of 345 young people from all over Gwent specifically referred to the Positive Futures programme last year to receive mentoring and one to one support after he disengaged from the traditional school environment.

His family explained this week how the programme helped him when he needed it the most and spoke of their utter devastation at the passing of the popular teenager who was just starting to get his life back track with support from Positive Futures.

Curtis's family attended the Positive Futures End of Year Showcase event in Newport yesterday (Wednesday 2nd March) where the annual 'Mentee of the Year Award' was presented in his name for the first time to a young person referred to the programme who has strived to realise their potential.

The proud recipient of the award was 14 year old Kaci Gibson who was referred for support and mentoring in October last year after being excluded from Llanwern High School following poor behaviour and attendance. The Ringland youngster has excelled in hair and beauty classes in particular since joining Positive Futures and her attendance and focus has improved.

Kaci said: "It has given me something to really look forward to and the help I have received has been brilliant."

Managed through Newport Live, Positive Futures was established in 2002 and has been providing one to one mentoring for young people and diversionary engagement programmes, training and personal development opportunities which can lead to qualifications or employment.

The annual showcase event at the Riverfront centre in Newport provides an opportunity for funders and partner agencies to see the significant outcomes Positive Futures has achieved with young people from across Gwent in the last year. These included Gwent PCC Ian Johnston, who funds the majority of the programme, Sport Wales, Welsh Rugby Union, the Asda Foundation, the Active Communities Network charity and the five local authorities in Gwent.

According to the family of Curtis Murphy, this award is a fitting tribute and will help keep his memory alive.

His father, Lewis Murphy, said: "It was emotional seeing his pictures come up. It is still difficult, but I wanted to be here because I know what a difference Positive Futures made to Curtis's life. It is nice to know his name will live on in this award, as well as in our hearts. I think the staff at Positive Futures grabbed his attention, understood him and he got on well with them all. He left his mark wherever he went and people loved him. He was kind, sensitive and very funny. I'm so proud that this award is in his name and will be for the future. To reward a young person who has turned their life around and to have his name associated with it is a fitting tribute."

Gwent PCC Ian Johnston has awarded Positive Futures å£240,000 over the last two years to continue to grow the programme in Newport and wider across the Gwent region. A total of 7,285 individuals throughout Gwent engaged with the programme in the last year and the police have noted a reduction in incidents of ASB in areas where it is active. This includes a reduction of 17.9% in ASB incidents over a two-week period in Newport Central which coincided with the deployment of the Positive Futures outreach team into that area. Gwent Police has also seen a real reduction in ASB during Bonfire Night in areas where the programme is active.

Mr Johnston said: "Positive Futures do some fantastic work in the community and support thousands of young people to move forward with their lives and realise their full potential. This event was all about highlighting and celebrating the huge difference this special programme has made to the lives of so many at-risk young people in our communities."

Lucy Donovan, the Senior Development Officer for Positive Futures, added: "Curtis was a caring and popular teenager and was regarded as real character by all who worked with him at the programme. The Mentee of the Year Award in his name will be presented every year to one of our young referrals who has strived their utmost to realise their potential."