Change that leads to better lives

Never lose sight of your hopes and dreams

A special message from TikTok star Francis Bourgeois

This week young people and staff at our project Time to Talk Next Steps were thrilled to get a Christmas shout out from TikTok star Francis Bourgeois at their online Christmas get together. The video creator rose to fame in 2020 when he began sharing videos of his trainspotting during the COVID-19 pandemic. His contagious enthusiasm for trains has amassed over 1.9m followers (and still growing).

Project lead and supporter, Alice McColl said “Role models like Francis can be so useful at this time for those who have lost sight of their interests and feel stuck at home without hope”.

Time to Talk Next Steps, a project funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, is for young people with additional needs who experience anxiety, many of whom have lost sight of their hopes through the long months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project aims to help them develop confidence and consider their options for next steps. Through the online support provided one to one by a small team at NDTi, or through peer support sessions, young people are encouraged to talk about their ideas.

Alice explained further, “We often meet young people who have not talked about their hopes and aspirations before. Francis Bourgeois is a great inspiration. His videos are full of energy and the pure joy of sharing your passions! Something we don’t encourage young people to do enough!”

Staff concentrate on what matters to each person. It’s a given that everyone has strengths and can make plans with the right support. “Simply planning next steps, let alone making plans for the future at this time of uncertainty is really hard, particularly for disabled young people and those who face additional challenges.”

Time to Talk Next Steps provides a unique blend of personalised support to build emotional resilience alongside practical steps to prepare for adulthood including linking young people and their families with useful contacts in their local area.

Alice added, “Whether your plan is getting a job, ging to Uni or simply to get up and dressed in the morning – it’s a plan and all steps towards this are to be celebrated!”

Young people who feared the future, have reported feeling heard, gaining hope where they previously had none and being able to plan for the future as a result of their support they have received.

To find out more about the Time to Talk Next Steps project visit

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Alice McColl

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