1 Life to Live: Making the most out of your life

Volunteers at 1 Life to Live
Volunteers at 1 Life to Live

Understanding how important it is to make the most out of the opportunities around you, 1 Life to Live is a charity which aims to ensure youngsters who have had a troubled start are given the best chance to flourish.

1 Life to Live was established a year ago by like-minded professionals who wanted to use their collective experience to improve the mental health and wellbeing of individuals in Lancashire.

Young people from one of the most deprived estates in Lancaster taking part in an Alternative Highs outdoor challenge experience, organised by 1 Life to Live

Young people from one of the most deprived estates in Lancaster taking part in an Alternative Highs outdoor challenge experience, organised by 1 Life to Live

It provides therapeutic group workshops, mentoring, support and training to support young people and adults, who have had traumatic early life experience, and whose life chances are being restricted by social, emotional, behavioural, mental health or addiction issues.

The organisation aims to do this by providing evidence-based mindfulness and cognitive behavioural training to support individuals, or to ‘train the trainers’ in the agencies providing support ie probation, restorative justice, mental health workers.

1 Life to Life has worked with a number of other agencies, including Brathay Trust, Strawberry Fields in Lancaster, and Caritas Care ACE group, to deliver the Alternative Highs project, which enables individuals with experience of offending and addiction to work with young people at the risk of 
offending.

The project involves 
Befriender training, pre and post meets and a weekend in the Lake District at Brathay Trust, where they are able to participate in challenges in a different environment and experience an Alternative High in overcoming their fears.

Barbara Bidwell, 1 Life to Live trustee chairman, says: “1 Life to Live believes everyone has the potential to make positive changes in their beliefs and behaviour. 

“Our work empowers individuals to gain control over their lives, thus inspiring confidence, self- esteem/awareness and healthier, more positive lifestyle choices. Our bespoke training is unique in that it allows individuals to tackle the 
habitual thinking that 
underpins their behaviour, rather than traditional courses that specifically target the behaviour.”

Some of 1 Life to Live’s projects include working with Key homeless charity in Leyland to provide stress management and liaising with HMP Preston to develop mindfulness practice on the drug/alcohol withdrawal unit. This project was very successful, with inmates reporting better sleep, less aggression and an improved sense of wellbeing.

Barbara adds: “1 Life to Live is also currently running a number of projects with serving inmates at HMP Garth. The bespoke training and ongoing supervision we provide is encouraging inmates to use their experience to help other inmates.

“This unique befriender scheme increases self-belief, personal responsibility and human compassion.

“We are also looking to 
develop an innovative project, which offers befriender training to individuals with experience, and work with them to develop a training package to work with young people at risk of offending, either on a one-to-one basis or in small groups.”

1 Life to Live has no permanent base, as its members are contracted out into the field, working mainly in prisons.

But it is looking for an 
office in Preston town centre to expand its provision and provide employment opportunities for people with experience of the subject.

Barbara adds: “We are looking to expand our provision by securing funding for premises, an internet presence, admin staff and a project manager.

“The work we are doing is making a real difference to some of the hardest to help individuals, who often present multiple and complex needs.”