THIS week, we are shouting about a Swindon charity that has changed the lives of local young people in need for more than three decades.

The Swindon 10 to 18 Project has helped hundreds of vulnerable people aged 10 to 18 in the town since 1984 and has expanded its range of support services to children as young as seven, which is why it is now more commonly known as Step.

It provides a safe and supportive environment for youngsters who are experiencing isolation and exclusion due to their lack of social skills, their personal circumstances or poverty - and it will aid 300 people over the next two years.

Project manager Paul Dobson said: “We are seeing a huge increase in Swindon of vulnerable young people crying out for support with emotional well-being and mental health concerns. Step offers voluntary 14-week interventions with a two hour session each week that is tailored to the needs of each young person we support. Whatever it is, we can help improve their life skills and social skills.

“There have been massive changes as a result of these interventions. People who were scared to even come into the building or speak to anyone here would be eagerly engaging with all our activities and making friends by the end of it.

“It’s really rewarding to see. Our aim is always to work with young people on their issues as early as possible before it gets to a crisis point and I think we’ve achieved that over the 16 years I’ve been here.”

A whopping £96,000 grant from the Global media group’s Make Some Noise charity will provide a welcome boost to the charity’s efforts and ensure they can keep providing such vital services to struggling children and teenagers. Step staff expected a £32,000 grant from the charity but generous radio listeners helped to more-than-triple that amount.

Paul added: “This grant will help us to help them and together we are making a real difference, building resilience and equipping them with the tools to manage and maintain their own well-being.

“We have a wonderful and experienced staff team who have been doing this sort of work for a long time and use the young person’s needs as a foundation to guide them when planning each therapy session and activity.”

One anonymous young person said: "STEP has made me happy and has helped me to make the right choices.”

One parent said: “"Our children that have attended have been able to commit to something that they feel helps them and their well-being, we have seen a positive outcome at family times, the house is a lot calmer.”

Another parent said: "We have seen a change in his mood, he has been much easier to reach and his self-esteem has definitely improved. He is much happier."

A third said: “The children are happier, more confident and calmer. You have helped them all to learn how to cope with the loss of their mother”

For more information about STEP, visit or call 01793 714042

Is there something about Swindon that you want to shout about? Please get in touch by calling 01793 501734 or email