Impact stories

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  • Youth Action
    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.   http://londonyouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Francis-Copy-Copy.m4a
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  • Employability
    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.
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  • Employability
    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.
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  • Volunteering
    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.
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  • Volunteering
    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.
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  • Volunteering
    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.“
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  • Volunteering
    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.
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  • Volunteering
    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.”
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  • Inclusion, Training
    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.
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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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