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News | Help young people in Ashford enjoy positive, healthy long-term relationships

Date Posted: 27th November 2018

Could you help support a charity deliver workshops to promote positive, healthy long-term relationships? Children and young people today are just as likely to grow up with one parent, neither parent or both parents. Little wonder that many teenagers today do not believe or dare to hope that they could one day meet the right person, fall in love and that it could last a lifetime.

One charity that is working to address that is Explore, which since 2000 has been delivering relationship workshops in schools across Kent and the rest of the UK that help young people discuss, evaluate and explore long-term relationships within the context of marriage.

The workshops include the opportunity for the students to meet a married couple who will share open and honest experiences of what married life is like for them. Students are encouraged to ask the couple questions about the pros and cons of long-term relationships, enabling them to consider what is ‘normal' in a loving and authentic adult relationship.

Lisa Gagliani MBE, chief executive of Explore, said:

"Students across Kent have told us how much they value the opportunity to have these conversations, and that it helps them to understand that relationships can last, even if what they have experienced with their own parents was different.

"We believe family breakdown is causing a great deal of anxiety and other acute youth mental health issues. Our workshops help set a new framework about relationships and develops a sense of trust, commitment and the constant need for communication - skills which can be learnt, practiced and reap benefits not just in romantic relationships but in all relationships - including peer to peer, client, customer and boss."

Derek and Joyce Harkness of Beckenham, Kent, one of Explore's volunteer couples, said:

"We find that once the young people realise that you are willing to answer their questions truthfully about the bad times as well as the good in your own marriage, without window-dressing your answers, that they are free to seek clarity from any past difficult relationship issues from our own marriage experience. It has made us realise the value of each session in helping young people to dispel many of the false romantic notions currently surrounding the subject of marriage and long-term relationships for themselves, whilst also helping them to address many of their own very personal hopes and fears, simply by just being willing to answer their questions."

Explore wants to bring its workshops to even more schools across Kent but to do so it needs to raise £9,000. It is hoping to raise the funding via its Hearts & Minds campaign, which runs between Tuesday 27 November and Tuesday 4 December, and which will see every donation made being doubled, thanks to its participation in the Big Give Christmas Challenge.

The Big Give Christmas Challenge is the UK's biggest online match funding campaign. For seven days, it offers supporters of participating charities the opportunity to have their donation doubled on theBigGive.org.uk.

As part of the Hearts & Mind campaign, Explore has produced a light-hearted guide that sets out 10 ways to survive a family Christmas, offering practical advice to people of all ages about how to reduce the stress, tension and disappointment that is all too often experienced by families during the festive season.

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