Youth work, my story…Francis
During Youth Work Week 2016, we have been publishing blogs about the positive impact youth work has on supporting young people, particular vulnerable young people onto positive pathways. Listen to Francis’s story to find out how youth work and one youth worker in particular, helped guide him onto a more positive path, at a crucial stage in his life.
Talent Match London participant
S has been part of Talent Match London with since early October and has caring responsibilities for his parents. He has done a number of odd jobs but nothing long term and had been out of work for over a year before joining. S developed his own Talent Plan with the support of Talent Match staff and his peers, and identified his two main interests as fixing and maintaining bikes and computers. Meeting and supporting other young people who’d had similar experiences to him helped increase his confidence, and he explored the possibility of turning these pursuits into employment opportunities. He engaged with local employers, accessed a free training course and through doing this showed his potential to a local bike shop who offered him the chance to volunteer. S is now actively looking for work with the new skills gained and staff at his voluntary placement are involved in supporting his job search.
Mother of a Build-it participant
My son took part in the Build-it scheme during the summer of 2014, and I wanted to write to let you know what a good service this is. He didn’t get the AS level results he was hoping for and had to leave school with no A levels. Build-it gave him a sense of purpose, taught him new skills, helped him develop a routine, work as part of a team and be more motivated. It also sent him on courses where he got the opportunity to try his hand at aspects of the building trade that were new to him. He gained qualifications as well as a CSCS card, which gave him confidence as well as certificates.
The Build-it staff were very supportive and helpful, in particular Julia Walker, who regularly sent him emails with training opportunities. As a result of her suggestions, he is now an apprentice engineer. University is not for everyone, and we need more skilled workers. I am positive about any initiative which encourages young people into the manual trades.
Volunteer: Silicon Valley Bank
Silicon Valley Bank is the premier bank for technology, life science, cleantech, venture capital, private equity and premium wine businesses. Silicon Valley Bank and its affiliates within SVB Financial Group provides industry knowledge and connections, financing, treasury management, corporate investment and international banking services to its clients worldwide through 27 US offices and seven international operations in China, India, Israel and the UK. (Nasdaq: SIVB)
Since July 2012 25% of their UK workforce has engaged with London Youth on at least one volunteering event.
One project in 2012 saw a team of ten volunteers from the bank volunteer atStewarts Road Adventure Playground (a London Youth member organisation), to help regenerate an outdoor space so that the young members of the club could use it. Activities included: erecting fences, painting walls and planting new shrubs.
In early 2013 another project saw 14 volunteers from the bank become mentors to young people on Dare London, London Youth’s Youth Advisory Board, with the aim to:
Match professionals from a broad range of backgrounds with young people from the local communitySupport young people during their transition through important milestones in their life, including from education into employment
Enable young people and professionals to develop their skills, knowledge and confidence
Support young people in their aspirations, providing them with meaningful advice and encouragement
Michael, one of the young people on the mentoring project, said: “Having a mentor has really helped me to improve my CV and interview techniques”. Since the mentorprogramme began, Michael has successfully applied for the position of Logistics Officer for The Challenge Network, and is now in post.
Volunteer: Michael’s story
Michael is 22 and lives in Haringey. He started to volunteer at his local youth club (a London Youth member organisation) St Mary’s Youth Club located in Islington, coaching young people aged eight to 18 in football skills.
Whilst volunteering over 100 hours with London Youth on their Youth Advisory Board, Dare London, Michael completed a National Open College Network (NOCN) Level Two accreditation entitled Learning from Volunteering.
Talking about his volunteering experience and the various transferrable skills he has gained, Michael comments:“As part of Dare London I have been on interview panels, attended board meetings and represented London Youth at external events. The confidence to speak to new people in interviews and to approach new challenges is what employers will notice the most.”
As part of his volunteering, Michael has also been matched up with a volunteer mentor from Silicon Valley Bank. This programme sees Michael meet with his mentor once a fortnight for a three-month period working on his confidence and employability skills.”…Having a mentor has really helped me to improve my CV and interview techniques”, says Michael.
Since the mentor programme began, Michael has successfully applied for the position of Logistics Officer for The Challenge Network, and is now in post.
Volunteer: Kirsty’s story
Kirsty lives in Eltham. She started volunteering as a member of Dare London, London Youth’s Youth Advisory Board, in September 2012. As part of the board Kirsty is one of 25 young volunteers that help London Youth be an organisation that remains engaged with the needs of young Londoners in all aspects of its work.
After volunteering on Dare London for four monthsKirsty was asked to join the London Youth board of trustees along with two of her follow Dare London members, as well as help to host the London Youth’s Annual General Meeting in 2013.
Outside of Dare London Kirsty also volunteers at one of London Youth’s member organisations,Samuel Montagu Youth Club in Greenwich. Every Monday and Wednesday evening she helps to run the open youth club sessions.
In just a few months Kirsty’s confidence has grown so much and she now puts herself forward for opportunities that come up where she wouldn’t have done so in the past.
Kirsty said, “I got involved in Dare London to help battle the public perception and bad stereotypes that many adults have about young people. Also I want to help encourage and inspire young people to make good decisions and find pathways for themselves.”
Volunteer: Daniel’s story
Daniel is 18 and lives in Merton. In October, Daniel started to volunteer at his local youth club (a London Youth member), Alford House, as a Volunteer Assistant Youth Worker.
Whilst volunteering 78 hours over a three-month period, he completed his Level 2 National Open College Network (NOCN) Accreditation in Learning from Volunteering.
Daniel decided he wanted to volunteer because he wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people and give something back to the community. Since starting his placement Daniel feels that his teamwork, communication and facilitation skills have improved dramatically, stating: “Since volunteering at Alford House, I have taken a more active role in organising and planning activities alongside other volunteers. This has included working in a team to ensure activities such as football are engaging and enjoyable.”
Whilst volunteering Daniel enjoyed the responsibility of supervising large numbers of young people and feels, in his own words, that he has “developed [his] independence and [been] shaped into a responsible and highly organised youth volunteer.“
Volunteer: Charlotte’s story
Charlotte is 19 and volunteers at her local youth club (a London Youth memberorganisation), Alford House in Kennington, as a Volunteer Assistant Youth Worker.
Whilst volunteering 60 hours over a three-month period Charlotte helped to plan and deliver several art sessions for the young members of the club, whilst doing so she completed her Level 2 National Open College Network (NOCN) Accreditation in Learning from Volunteering.
Charlotte said, “When I first started doing my volunteer work, I didn’t really think I struggled with a lot besides my confidence. Before I started doing my volunteering at Alford House I realised that I was quite an easy target for bullies because I would always keep my head down. But now I’ve volunteered there, the people I work with have helped me to boost my confidence and self-esteem.”
After completing her Level 2 Accreditation with London Youth, Charlotte plans to continue her voluntary work with Alford House.
Volunteer: Arion’s Story
Arion is 25 and lives in Hackney. In October 2012 he started volunteering with London Youth as part of the Talent Match Youth Board. Through reflecting on his own experiences during a two-day residential Arion, together with other youth board volunteers, developed the Talent Match Five Pillars and Talent Match Values and have continued to volunteer with London Youth to develop and lead the programme.
To date Arion has volunteered over 100 hours as part of the Talent Match Youth Board and continues to add a huge amount of value as theprogramme continues to evolve.
Arion said “Volunteering with London Youth has helped with my confidence in speaking in front of large numbers of people, I have really enjoyed meeting new people from all over the country.
One of the best parts about my volunteer role is building a bond and working with the youth board volunteers at our residentials.”
Inclusion Week – Wac Arts
Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and throughout the week 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.
Today we spoke to Maggie Mendy, Disability Officer at Wac Arts, a London Youth member club, about their work with young people with a disability.
Tell us about your youth club
We run sessions for young people ranging from 11 to over 18s. From 4-6pm we have the 11-14 year olds as part of an after school club. In fact 10 young people are currently rehearsing for a show they are doing next week. From 6.30-8.30pm we also have Wac Arts Interactive which is a BBC Children in Need funded programme. Sport is also a part of our commissioning so we do provide those activities for the young people. That includes dance, boccia and football. We also have two table tennis tables which are both wheelchair accessible and we’re open to any sports that we think is viable.
Have you seen a positive impact on the young people who have taken part in the sessions?
Cause we do out of school that makes a big difference. They’re in an environment where it’s about fun and ensuring real progression including building independent skills, self-esteem, confidence, teamwork and working together as groups. We go out in the community quite a bit, do buddying and travel training and trying to make sure they’re not the invisible ones. Often it can be quite difficult because we see big steps but can’t always judge if it’s just us or because of something they’ve done in school. Sometimes progression is slight and can take quite a few years to really have an impact or be noticed because some are profoundly disabled with complex medical conditions and are non-verbal.
What are the biggest challenges your youth club has to overcome in getting young people with disabilities involved in physical activities and other opportunities?
What really hurts me is how invisible the young people are. For example we offertrampolining to groups and they have so much fun and we’re lucky one of the teachers is a physio so she can help with any other issues but those opportunities are always there for other young people. We also find that we have to set quite individual targets for young people because everyone has different needs. It’s often quite hard to set an overall target even though we have targets for group involvement but we do try to make sure it’s fun and try and run residentialprogrammes.
Our biggest thing is word of mouth because it’s important to build trust especially for parents. Young people are also referred to us if they meet certain criteria and we try to make the activities as interactive as possible. If some of the young people are high functioning then we try to bring them into more mainstream opportunities and groups and we’ve found that 19 percent of our whole student/young people cohort has a disability. We’re always open to working with other groups and organisationssuch Mencap but generally only if they are closely within our reach so groups in Camden, Islington and Westminster. We’ve worked with other local organisationssuch Elfrida and Shape. Also recently we had young footballer from Wac Arts who actually played for Crystal Palace’s Down’s syndrome team and has been to Switzerland with them over the summer.
How important is it for young people with disabilities to have opportunities like this?
In terms of health having sports in their life creates a lifelong thing and if you can get a young person interested in sport and gets them a little bit more active I feel we’ve done a good job. Sport brings so much including health, community involvement, friends and it’s about the process and the things you do. Sport also helps with teamwork, understanding other people’s needs and so much that others don’t necessarily see.