A youth action project that provides a friendly, supportive community to young people with disabilities has been named as Community Action Network’s ‘Community Hero in the Spotlight’ in the run up to Anti-Bullying Week (15-19 November).

The Chatterboxes project aims to empower young disabled people (aged 11-25 years) to make a difference in the community, whilst developing their skills through a range of activities, surrounded by friendship and laughter.

Community Action Network (CAN) has selected The Chatterboxes Project as its Community Hero in the Spotlight for this month to champion and celebrate its meaningful contribution to the community.

From June 2020 to June 2021, The Chatterboxes Project covered 56 AQA units on topics like: developing teamwork skills through art, leadership, planning and delivering a group presentation, how to increase and apply self-esteem, and taking part in a focus group consultation. Other activities included the creation of four Chatterboxes magazines and six Chatterboxes videos including one for Public Health Dorset.

A young person involved in the project, said: “As a disabled person, I find it difficult to meet people that understand me, but The Chatterboxes offer a safe and friendly environment where I can have fun with like-minded people. I think The Chatterboxes is a wonderful group that has given me and countless others confidence, friendships, laughter, a sense of purpose and lots of exciting opportunities. Long live The Chatterboxes.

The Chatterboxes project also offer the young members opportunities to deliver awareness workshops and training in the community as well as organise community awareness events.

“Since I started going to the Chatterboxes, I haven’t looked back,” said another young Chatterboxes member. “My confidence has grown 10 times and I have found a place where I fit in. Now presentations, workshops and speeches are a doddle, even online. I really love delivering workshops as it is fun, and I get to make people laugh.”

For more information, please visit The Chatterboxes Project website: https://www.ymcabournemouth.org.uk/youth/the-chatterboxes-disability-action-group/