Impact stories

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  • Inclusion, Training
    Inclusion Week – Haringey Shed
    On Wednesday 3 December it is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and in recognition of that we will be promoting examples of the range of Inclusion work that takes place across our network and in our programmes. Each day of London Youth Inclusion Week we will be posting new content on our website from our members, our outdoor centres and our programmes. To kick things off we spoke to Jim Shepley Executive Director at Haringey Shed, a London Youth member club, about their work with young people with a disability. Tell us about your youth club and the work you do with young people Haringey Shed is an inclusive theatre and performing arts company for children and young people aged between 7-16 years old (up to 25 year for young people with a disability or learning needs). Around a third of our participants have a disability or learning support need. We provide a range of term time after school activities and holiday programmes as well as outreach work in the community, working in local schools and community centres. Haringey Shed’s repertoire of inclusive theatretechniques and our ‘no auditions’ policy strive to create an inclusive and supportive environment in which every young person has a part to play and is valued and respected. We believe every young person, regardless of their ability and background should have access to a safe, respectful and creative environment. “Where everyone has a part to play” is a slogan that we are very proud of. Watch the video below to see some of our members, volunteers and supporters. Have you seen a positive impact on the young people who have taken part in the sessions? Most definitely, here are just two examples: One young person attended his first Youth Theatre session with his dad.  Joe (name changed) has special needs and finds it exceptionally difficult to mix with unfamiliar people or be in a strange environment.  His first session was spent observing from the side of the room. With some support from a member of staff he overcame his anxiety and the urge to go home.  On his next two visits he was encouraged to observe from within a small group, where he was given a line in a script to read aloud.  Three months later, the environment is no longer unfamiliar and the people no longer strangers, he has become an enthusiastic member of the group; he has attended a Youth Forum and has joined Shed Band weekly rehearsals. John (name changed) aged 11 is fostered by a single foster mum Angela. He has had a traumatic history with his birth family, which has had an enormous impact on his life.  He has been excluded from school five times because the schools cannot cope with his behaviour.  As a result of this he is currently home educated and spends much of the day without coming into contact with other children.  John is extremely well behaved atHaringey Shed activity and mum credits this to the informal environment and that he loves the performing arts. John recently took a leading role in the Haringey Shed Musical Production of “27”. As well as providing positive activities for John, the after school and holiday activities provide a valuable break for mum Angela and gives John interaction with other children and positive role models.  John has recently been accepted into a new school and his Mum has said that Haringey Shed has been a huge contributor towards this move. What are the biggest challenges your youth club has to overcome in getting young people with disabilities involved in different opportunities? The biggest challenge is resources.  Fortunately we have a large team of volunteers who are able to offer 1:1 support for some of the young people, this includes other young people. We also have the challenge of keeping up with demand for our activities and on our programmes because there are so few opportunities for young people with disabilities to engage with their ‘mainstream’.  The challenge is to enable more youth programme providers to make their activities inclusive and accessible.  We are always happy to provide advice and support about this and work with other groups to help them improve opportunities for young people with disabilities. How important is it for young people with disabilities to have opportunities like this? We know that enabling young people with disabilities to take part in inclusive performing arts can break down the barriers and the discrimination that sometimes exists, as well as increasing confidence, communication, self-esteem and tackling the isolation that some young people with disabilities experience. What does your club hope to achieve in the next year? Over the next year we want to continue to offer opportunities for young people with disabilities to take part in quality performing arts projects; develop our volunteering offer for young people with disabilities and work with more partner organisations to grow the number of opportunities available to young people with disabilities.
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  • Learning
    Dominic Hinshelwood, Senior practitioner at Laburnum Boat Club
    Dominic Hinshelwood, Senior practitioner at Laburnum Boat Club shared his tempered excitement: “I still can’t quite picture what it will look like, but I am formulating ideas and am looking forward to testing our theory”. London Youth staff member commenting on our own learning work: “Sometimes it feels like we generate more questions than answers, but, having shared our data publically with sports partners it felt good to hear their positive feedback and acknowledgements for the steps we have taken. Even better, it is the evidence base reaffirming that the work we are doing is making a positive difference to young people and that we are generally getting things right” concluded John Jones.
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  • Sports Development
    Zak Osman, club member of Wac Arts
    One of the young people who has benefitted from youth club-based sport is Zak Osman, who is a club member of Wac Arts and also sits on our youth board, Dare London. He said: “I first started going once a week to Wac Arts for general youth activities like music, drama and art with the disability group. Last year I got the chance to get involved in some more sports activities and did my Disability Sports coaching where I specialisedin Table Cricket. It has been six years now and I have tried so many different things. But one of the main reasons why I keep coming back is because everyone at Wac Arts makes me feel so welcome. Thank you to London Youth and Wac Arts for supporting me.”
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  • Inclusion, Membership Development
    Fabian from Rathbone
    “The aim of the project is to make the youth club more better and personal. Not only to do that, it is to make the right choices and take honour, to be responsible and to meet new people and to do lots of fun things. It doesn’t matter that you’re different from everyone else. It’s how you continue your life and things you can believe in and achieve your goals. We all have challenges and may not believe in ourselves. Do not fear that you’re not going to do it, concentrate and you have to try and believe and complete your goals. And to always try and work really hard, and have the strength and the courage and the bravery and to take great responsibility and maturity for yourself, your friends, and your family and relatives and guardians and carers.”
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  • Youth Action
    Athan 31 quote from participating club
    Shaninga Marasha, Chief Executive of BigKid Foundation (which won 2 awards) commented: “Our experience of the Athan 31 programme was simply AWESOME! Our young people thoroughly enjoyed themselves and delivered some amazing community projects. As a charity this programme added so much value to what we do, it enabled us to deliver projects that not only impacted our local community but promoted ownership of the charity to the young people. Winning the awards for Sports project and Community project was icing on the cake and came as a wonderful surprise. We would like to thank London Youth for all their support in helping us make thisprogramme a great success for our young people, as well as congratulate them on delivering Athan 31 so brilliantly.”
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  • Training
    Youth Work Week 2014: Your Story, Our Inspiration-Naz Deen
    This week is Youth Work Week, offering the opportunity for youth organisations, youth workers and young people to celebrate their achievements and the impact of their work During this week London Youth will be publishing blogs from youth workers who work at our member clubs across London. We want to highlight the importance of youth work in London and its impact on young people. Our first interview is with Naz Deen from Coram’s Field. Tell us about your youth club Coram’s Fields Youth Centre is an important part of the community in South Camden where we improve young people’s personal and social development. All our activities are free of charge for people of all abilities and we work tirelessly to keep it this way. What is your role at your youth club/organisation? I’m the Head of Youth and Sport and I organise and coordinate a diverse range of Youth activities that will engage young people but will also help them through the difficult transitional phase of adolescents into adulthood. A phase I’m still going through in my 30’s. What made you get involved with youth work? Working with young people and helping them in some capacity is all I’ve ever wanted to do. My parents wanted me to be a Lawyer. If I’d listened to them I’d probably have a Mercedes as opposed to a Zone 1-2 travel card. Your best moment in youth work Working on an 18 month Leadership Project which culminated in me travelling to Africa with a group of disadvantaged teenagers from London. We fundraised and managed to set up several Tag Rugby Schools  in impoverished communities in Zambia. I am incredibly proud of every single teenager from London that gave up their time to help those significantly more underprivileged than themselves. What are the biggest challenges you or your youth club have to overcome? Funding is a constant battle and keeping Youth Activities free for young people atCoram’s Fields is imperative. The future is perilous if this ever changes. What do you and your youth club hope to achieve in the next year? We have a wide spectrum of objectives that we’d like to meet but ultimately we want every young person at Coram’s Fields to be safe and to have fun in a stimulating environment. Surely It’s what we all want in life?
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  • Woodrow High House
    Josh’s Story
    My name is Josh and I am 24 years old. When I was around 15 I got a phone call from Paradise Zone Youth Club asking me if I would like to go on a residential to Scotland; without hesitation I said yes. I really enjoyed being on the residential so I decided that when we got back from it that I wanted to join Paradise Zone and start attending the club sessions. After attending for a few weeks I decided that I would like to do some volunteering with them as well. Through doing this I realised how much I enjoyed working with young people, so I decided that I would go to college to study youth and community work. I got a lot of help both from Jon and Roz who are youth workers at the Paradise Zone. Jon even organised extra one-to-one time at the local library so that we could go through my work together which really helped me get through the course. Once I completed the course I managed to get into a university where I carried on studying Youth & Community Work. While I was there I started wondering what it would be like to work at a residential centre as I had always enjoyed them when I attended myself. I never thought that I would be able to work at one because I thought that you would need lots of outdoor qualifications which I didn’t have. Three years later, I finished university and was back in East London. This is when I got a message from Jon saying that he had found a great opportunity for me, an apprenticeship instructor role at Woodrow. Straight away I applied for the job and secured a position. When I first started I thought I had made a terrible decision! I was so nervous about standing up in front of a group and talking to them and I even considered leaving. After a few weeks of training I felt a bit better and it was time to run my first session, which went much better than expected and from then things just kept improving. Since then I have had nothing but good feedback from the group leaders which helped boost my confidence. Towards the end of the year a lead instructor position opened up and I thought I would apply for it. All my hard work paid off and I got the job. My current role as a Lead Instructor is to mentor and support the apprentices, which is where things started for me. I have also been given my own project time where I am currently trying to develop a cellar area into and youth friendly space. I guess you could say taking up the apprenticeship opportunity worked out really well for me!
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  • Quality Mark
    Paddington Arts – member club – youth worker perspective
    Last week was Youth Work Week, offering the opportunity for youth organisations, youth workers and young people to celebrate their achievements and the impact of their work During that week London Youth published blogs from youth workers who work at our member clubs across London. We want to continue to highlight the importance of youth work in London and its impact on young people. Our latest blog comes from Eldora Edwards at Paddington Arts. Tell us about your youth club Paddington arts is a performing arts and media organisation What is your role at your youth club/organisation? I am the programme manager and I set up all the projects and programmes in Paddington Arts. What made you get involved with youth work? I was actually a young person attending the classes at Paddington Arts since I was 11 and have stayed on ever since. So I’ve gone from being one of the young people to becoming a member of staff Your best moment in youth work? Being able to experience the fulfilment of the young people when they complete a dance routine or I give them advice on life and they’ve taken that on-board and positive outcomes have occurred. What are the biggest challenges you or your youth club have to overcome? Loss of funding. A lot of our funding has been taken away. We have to try really hard to fundraise to keep us afloat. We’re doing performing arts show, we’re trying to collaborate with other youth clubs to get funding and we’re just applying for funding every day with different projects. What do you and your youth club hope to achieve in the next year? A substantial amount of funding which will help us keep running our programmewhich involves, dance, multimedia, steel pan and much more but we need funding to keep the performing arts side running.
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  • Quality Mark
    Quality Mark Club
    Rugby Portobello Trust (RPT) has now achieved the Gold Level of the London Youth Quality Mark. Leone Buncombe, Senior Youth worker at the club, is primarily responsible for ensuring that all the young people who attend the club are enriched through a range of activities such as sport, cooking, music, advice services and accreditations to aid their personal development. She is also involved inorganising off-site activities including work placements and residentials. Leone works with a team of ten youth workers who have a range of skills and various levels of expertise and engage with the young people in the activities highlighted above. These youth workers work closely with a range of partners to which include schools, social services, local councils and funders and work to maintain positive relationships with service providers to offer holistic mentoring for all the young people who attend the club. Through their affiliation with London Youth, the Trust heard about the Quality Mark offered by us and Leone states: “We [the Trust] always knew the work we did at RPT was not like that of just any youth club so we wanted to get recognisable accreditation to verify this. We are a hard working team and it’s great that there is an accreditation that allows us to prove this.” Upon achieving the Quality Mark, the Trust feel very confident about the services that they offered. They were also happy to learn and take on various new ways of improving their practices as a result of undergoing the process of the Quality Mark which they now implement as part of their daily work. Achieving the Gold Quality Mark means that they have also received £7,000 of unrestricted funding from City Bridge Trust, as well as it being a mark of funding for many other funders to see andrecognise. According to Leone, “… it also acts as a constant reminder to us to always keep our young members fully engaged in not just doing activities but the planning, development and progression of our programmes…” “The Quality Mark is definitely a must for any youth service that wants to know that they are providing a quality service for their members. As an organisation it allows you to analyse your work and ensure you really are doing a good job and the best by your young people.” Leone emphasises the positive aspects of having undergone the process and although she admits that it takes time and hard work to complete the process she states that “… the time invested is worth the results.”
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