Turn lives around through snowsports

Turn lives around through snowsports

Meet Snow-Camp Charity's Youth Volunteer Tomas

Over the past couple of years Equity has been a partner of Snow-Camp Charity, helping raise awareness, money and organising the charity’s annual residential ski trip as part of Snow-Camp’s year-long ‘Programme Journey’.

One of the ways we raise money for the charity is by giving party leaders the option to include a donation to Snow-Camp when paying for their school ski trip. See how your donations can help transform the lives of young people by reading Tomas’ inspiring story:

Tomas Snow Camp

Tomas is a brave, passionate and determined young man. He has overcome many challenges in his young life to reach the positive path he now finds himself on. This is Tomas’ Snow-Camp story.

Tomas was brought up in Lithuania’s social services and he has no family that he knows of. After years of moving around with no sense of home or community in Lithuania, Tomas made the big decision to try and start his life again in the UK. Aged just 18, Tomas arrived in London with nothing more than a backpack and a dream to improve his life. Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan. He arrived in the UK undocumented, which meant that he couldn’t access vital public services like the NHS and housing support.

New Horizon’s Youth Centre work specifically with those who are vulnerable. They first met Tomas when he was sleeping rough at Victoria Station. Tomas was depressed, isolated, angry and he had been on the streets for several months.

“When we met Tomas, we knew we had to help him. Our priority was to find him stable accommodation and to give him the positive opportunities we knew he craved. When Tomas first came to our youth centre one of the first things he noticed was the Snow-Camp poster. It intrigued him and he really wanted to join the summer programme. I told him that if he worked hard and kept out of trouble, we could sign him up. It’s one of the best decisions we’ve made.” – Janet Matthews, Youth Worker at New Horizon’s Youth Centre.

Tomas arrived at Snow-Camp feeling anxious and he struggled to communicate to those around him. We provided a holistic approach to support Tomas. Through snowsports we were able to teach him vital life-skills, help him work towards qualifications and make friends.

Tomas said: “I’m so happy. I never thought that someone like me would learn how to snowboard and now it’s all I want to do. I want to grab every opportunity Snow-Camp offers with both hands. I can’t believe how much my life has changed in the last year, I’m so grateful, thank you.”

In April 2019, Tomas experienced the mountains for the first time with Snow-Camp and Equity Ski, shadowing instructors and gaining valuable mountain experience. The week long residential provided Tomas with real-life experience enabling him to recognise that he can start a career in the snowsport industry. In May 2019 Tomas achieved his Snowsport England Level 1 Instructor Qualification.

“Absolutely elated for Tomas, a big thank you from all of us at NHYC for your hard work and commitment in engaging one of our hardest to reach cohort of clients. I’ve seen him grow so much through Snow-Camp, turning his feelings of anger and resentment into something positive. He has progressed from a young man who lacked confidence and had poor communication skills to an optimistic independent and self-confident individual with the brightest of futures ahead of him. It’s been so amazing to see that development.”  - Janet Matthews, Youth Worker at New Horizon’s Youth Centre.

Tomas has now joined Snow-Camp's Youth Forum where he volunteers on our programmes and is a youth ambassador for the Charity. Tomas has also found full-time employment with accommodation at Imperial Hotels in London.

To find out more about Snow-Camp please visit snow-camp.org.uk.