What's happening

News in brief – March 2017

March 17, 2017

*Recently Chia Vasquez got in touch to let us know that she is leaving Youth at Risk. We wish her all the best for the future. Amira reflected on working with her “I have worked alongside Chia on a number of programmes in the UK. Her work with parents, professionals and young people has been outstanding, her ability to create in the moment and provide a safe space for people to transform. I appreciate her partnership, her grace and most importantly the difference she has made in the Youth at Risk family.”

* We delivered 2 Coaching for Professionals workshops at Hydebank Wood (a secure academy in Belfast) for 30 staff in December and feedback was very positive. “Intensive and exhausting with potential for real significant benefits for personal work performance and general well-being. Inspirational and motivational-an excellent and worthwhile experience.” We are now planning for a workshop with the students in March; we look forward to building our working relationship to create more opportunities for the young men.

* Thank you to Octopus Investments who donated £1900 which paid for the West Suffolk Choices completion event in December 2016. This programme delivered intensive personal development and one-to-one coaching to 12 young people in Bury St Edmunds. Their completion event included a morning of self-reflection on their accomplishments, a completion activity to formally close the relationship with their coach and an afternoon celebrating at Pizza Hut.

* In partnership with Prevista (a large-scale provider of employment support for young people and long-standing Youth at Risk partner) we have created an opportunity for young people to transform youth services via a Youth Congress initiative. The first phase of the programme involves young people working on sponsored projects that will have a social impact. We are looking for volunteers who have experience of creative media, social media, video/sound recording and event management who can mentor young people as part of the project activities. If you are interested and want to know more, contact Amira@youthatrisk.org.uk by 24th March.

* We are excited to be looking for a new Admin and Volunteer Support to join our dynamic team. We’re looking for a like-minded person, who is up for a challenge and thrives on working hard. The role is based at our Head Office in Royston (Hertfordshire).  Interested? Contact Clare Kanakides on 07971 891924 or clare@youthatrisk.org.uk for an application pack. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 24th March 2017.

Tanaie’s remarkable journey

TanaieYouth at Risk ambassador Tanaie got in touch to share her experience of the 5-day intensive workshop on the Hackney Choices programme back in July 2015 and the journey she has been on since.

“Before I started Youth at Risk, I found myself regularly depressed but didn’t know why. I knew in myself that I had so much potential but continued to hold myself back. I made the conscious decision that things needed to change so when Youth at Risk presented the programme to me, I was all for it! It was such an intense course, I found myself crying A LOT! Crying wasn’t something that was new to me; I did plenty of that at home behind closed doors. The fact that I was crying in front of a room full of strangers was bizarre to me as I’m a guarded person and hardly let anyone in. Taking part in the Youth at Risk programme helped me to achieve so much. They provided me with the opportunity to pitch to a panel that were able to help me immensely with producing an amazing EP; they also provided me with a great networking circle and great mentors. I have since joined the BBC Choir and I’m currently working on setting up my own Social Enterprise. I’m now a proud ambassador for Youth at Risk and will do everything that I’m able to do to ensure that this amazing work continues.”

Neil speaks out

Our CEO, Neil, was invited to deliver the keynote speech at the winter AMOSSHE (Association of Managers of Students Services in Higher Education) conference on 17th Feb in Manchester on ‘engaging communities’. His invitation was due to the consistently outstanding results we have had in increasing retention, progression, resilience and sense of belonging in our expanding programme for university students. He discussed how important it was for universities to wake up to the reality of today’s student, and how to raise the bar of engagement with them so they make the most of their education. It was a great event, thank you to AMOSSHE and our fantastic partner Jayne Aldridge, Deputy Director Student Services at Kingston University and Executive Member of the AMOSSHE team for the opportunity.

Ashridge House

At the end of January, we were able to bring together key people in the public, private and voluntary sector for our executive event. Led by Mark Charley the event, which ran from 27th – 29th January at Ashridge House in Hertfordshire, was a great opportunity to engage new partnerships whilst building on existing ones. We were thrilled to see how our supporters from diverse industries and sectors threw themselves into the workshop; they gave themselves and each other an opportunity to see something different about how we might continue a journey of transformation together. The event is delivered on the principle that our methodology is a powerful tool in bringing collaborative partnerships together, by collectively engaging with our key stakeholders (and potential stakeholders) in this way we can move on to new ground in building programmes which draw on the insights of clients and delivery teams combined. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive: “A wonderful, absorbing, self-awareness, thoughtfulness, and engaging course introducing listening. The courses that YaR devote to youths is clearly an eye-opener, which has delivered significant results. I would thoroughly recommend to many people!” Since then, partnerships have continued to grow and we are working with everyone to look at what’s next.

We’d like to thank everyone who attended the event and those that supported as part of the Youth at Risk team; Lord Phillips, Mike Parton and Hubert Campbell.

Plans are already underway for the next one- watch this space.

Ashridge House attendees

Volunteer to Youth Enrolment Manager

Anthony Olanipekun joined the Youth at Risk staff team in December 2016 after volunteering on our Hackney Choices programme in 2015/2016.

“I came across YaR on twitter in 2015, the opportunity to be a life coach had randomly come up and I was really interested in seeing what it was about. I had a conversation with Ashley at the time and was immediately hooked so I enrolled onto the Hackney choices programme as a volunteer life coach.

During the training weekend I experienced a range of emotions and had been able to reflect on some of my life decisions, I began really asking myself what I want and what I’m committed to. I completed the programme and continued to keep in touch with YaR while working elsewhere, when the opportunity to be Youth Enrolment manager was presented to me I felt like things had aligned and I was stepping into an organisation who genuinely care about my development and goals.

My first few months of work consisted of workshops for staff at Hydebank Wood in Belfast, mentoring programmes for students in London and Northamptonshire, working with young people on a residential in Belgium all whilst being able to work on myself in the process.

Working with YaR has allowed me to see that there’s so much more for me to learn and I’m in the right place for that.”

This is your chance

January 13, 2017

Branch out - volunteerWe’re really excited to tell you about a new amazing opportunity that you can get involved in. This is your chance to get involved, see the work that we deliver, engage with our methodology and support a young person’s transformation.

We’re going to be delivering a new mentoring programme to pupils in years 9-10 in schools in London and Northamptonshire. And, we’re offering you the incredible opportunity to mentor a young person for 6 months.

The full details and time commitment are listed below.

Interested? Please get in touch ASAP with Anthony on Anthony@youthatrisk.org.uk or 07787296197. We look forward to hearing from you.

PS – we’d really appreciate it if you could also share this opportunity with anyone you think might be interested. Thanks!

The details!

Your training: You will participate in a 2-day Performance Coach Workshop, followed by monthly coaching support calls and 3 follow-up evening sessions enhancing what you have learnt, developing your skill set further and supporting you in your role with the young people.

Your commitment:
•    Attend the 2-day Performance Coach Workshop:  London 4-5th March or Northants 18-19th February
•    Coach pupils weekly for 6 months
•    Complete coaching sessions notes for each session and to submit them to your coach
•    Participate in monthly coaching/support calls
•    Attend the 3 follow up evening sessions

Highlights of 2016

December 20, 2016

Just a few of our key highlights from this year:

A massive highlight of this year has been working and delivering in partnership with Young Hackney, to deliver Hackney Choices, a remarkable programme that produced significant impact and transformation. We’re excited to be exploring options for further work in Hackney in the New Year.

We’ve almost completed our final cohort of a successful 3-year partnership with Suffolk County Council. During the 3 years we have met and worked with some fantastic staff, volunteers and young people across the county, particularly in Lowestoft, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds. We’re pleased to say that 100% of young people from the first and second year cohorts reported increased aspirations and motivations, and hope to see the same with cohort 3.

Our 2-year partnership with the Benjamin Foundation came to a close at the beginning of December with a brilliant festive celebration put together by the excellent local team of volunteers. One volunteer recently got in touch to say, “It’s amazing to see how much the young people have come on and those actively still engaged all seemed to be grateful and happy to have participated on the programme.  I genuinely think it has made a positive change to their lives.”

During 2016 we’ve worked hard to tailor our university programmes to best fit our clients’ needs.  We’ve thoroughly enjoyed delivering at Kingston, Nottingham Trent and SOAS Universities this year and look forward to what 2017 may bring with these and new universities.

Our previous work and recent visits to Northern Ireland have been very moving. Neil, Amira and others have been working very closely with Richard Taylor and his team at Hydebank Wood College to create a programme that will continue to embed and continue the transformation there.

James Clements-Smith, CEO of Prevista has become more and more involved with Youth at Risk. We are very grateful for all the support he and his staff have to offer, and are delighted to be developing a strategic partnership and community-style residential with them.

We’ve delivered our professionals workshop to a number of fantastic partners this year including; SAHA, Barnet Council, Family Action, Street League, Prevista, Child UK, Waltham Forest, NEWTEC and Stonewater Housing.

The very talented Anthony Olanipekun has joined our team as our Youth Enrolment Manager. He will be enrolling young people and supporting the relaunch of our residential community programmes. He gave us his views on joining YaR, “I feel very excited about joining Youth at Risk; it’s a great opportunity to work with people who are passionate about transformation too. I’m learning a lot already and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the work.” Anthony is supporting the team to recruit volunteers for two new programmes, see below for more detail.

Get involved!

We’re ending the year on a massive high for many reasons and this is definitely one of them: we’ve recently been awarded with £97k  over 2 years from the Careers and Enterprise Company, to deliver mentoring programmes in two regions: Northamptonshire and London.  We’re now looking for volunteers to be Performance Coaches to young people in schools. In Northants, the schools are likely to be in Kettering, Wellingborough and Rushden, and in London, it’s looking like Stratford, Walthamstow and Fulham.

If you are interested in volunteering in London or Northamptonshire, please get in touch with Anthony@youthatrisk.org.uk or call him on 07787296197  if you’ve got any questions. Training begins soon so don’t delay!

Progress and partnerships

November 10, 2016

Our strategy for the next three years includes a decision to relaunch our intensive residential programme. It feels like the right time to focus on making the biggest impact with communities, bringing people together and creating belonging amongst alienation, resignation and disengagement. We are not simply bringing back an old programme; we are reinventing it and bringing it to life through the strength of our partnerships.

We already have two new partnerships that we’re really excited about; organisations that are helping us shape and design our work in response to young people now. James Clements-Smith at Prevista (specialising in supporting young people into employment) has already commissioned a programme for his own staff and is now becoming a partner in our commitment to delivering transformation in communities. We have started to co-design a programme with Prevista to bring young people together across London to create a Youth Congress. Watch this space for updates.

Joe Russo at Enthusiasm found us through the recent #TakeAStand BBC campaign we ran. We quickly recognised the strength of our shared values and are already talking about bringing together his highly effective youth engagement model with our personal development approach.

New ways of working, new creativity and new partnerships – these have been the themes of the last couple of months. It has made for an inspiring and hopeful foundation to the development of the new strategy and its delivery over the next three years.

Chris’ residential experience

Motivate the Estate was a community programme which was delivered by Southend Borough Council in partnership with Youth at Risk from 2009 – 2011. Chris Sollis, Early Help, Family Support Team Manager shared her memories of the programme…

Youth at Risk trained key staff within Children Services as well as school staff and young people. “The most ambitious element to the programme was the six day residential which required the enrolment of at least 50 young people, and approximately the same number of volunteers.”

“22 young people attended the residential during March 2011; these were hard to reach young people who had demonstrated their commitment through the enrolment process. For many young people it was their first time outside Southend and it was a real challenge not only to adapt to the new environment, but also to the rigorous structure of the days. During the six days young people were challenged physically through the outdoor activities, mentally through the structure of the programme and emotionally by confronting directly areas of their lives which were not working for them. Many young people started the programme apathetic and unresponsive, but over the course of the six days saw the real benefits in participating 100%.  It is a credit to the programme that not one young person chose to leave the course; all 22 completed the six days. After returning to Southend, young people met their committed partners (Volunteer Coaches) and worked steadily towards their goals.  The feedback from young people, professionals & parents about the programme was extremely positive.  Certainly the residential was the most challenging and intense of the YAR trainings but the results in terms of young people’s personal, emotional and social growth were significant.”

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News in brief – March 2017

March 17, 2017

*Recently Chia Vasquez got in touch to let us know that she is leaving Youth at Risk. We wish her all the best for the future. Amira reflected on working with her “I have worked alongside Chia on a number of programmes in the UK. Her work with parents, professionals and young people has been outstanding, her ability to create in the moment and provide a safe space for people to transform. I appreciate her partnership, her grace and most importantly the difference she has made in the Youth at Risk family.”

* We delivered 2 Coaching for Professionals workshops at Hydebank Wood (a secure academy in Belfast) for 30 staff in December and feedback was very positive. “Intensive and exhausting with potential for real significant benefits for personal work performance and general well-being. Inspirational and motivational-an excellent and worthwhile experience.” We are now planning for a workshop with the students in March; we look forward to building our working relationship to create more opportunities for the young men.

* Thank you to Octopus Investments who donated £1900 which paid for the West Suffolk Choices completion event in December 2016. This programme delivered intensive personal development and one-to-one coaching to 12 young people in Bury St Edmunds. Their completion event included a morning of self-reflection on their accomplishments, a completion activity to formally close the relationship with their coach and an afternoon celebrating at Pizza Hut.

* In partnership with Prevista (a large-scale provider of employment support for young people and long-standing Youth at Risk partner) we have created an opportunity for young people to transform youth services via a Youth Congress initiative. The first phase of the programme involves young people working on sponsored projects that will have a social impact. We are looking for volunteers who have experience of creative media, social media, video/sound recording and event management who can mentor young people as part of the project activities. If you are interested and want to know more, contact Amira@youthatrisk.org.uk by 24th March.

* We are excited to be looking for a new Admin and Volunteer Support to join our dynamic team. We’re looking for a like-minded person, who is up for a challenge and thrives on working hard. The role is based at our Head Office in Royston (Hertfordshire).  Interested? Contact Clare Kanakides on 07971 891924 or clare@youthatrisk.org.uk for an application pack. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 24th March 2017.

Tanaie’s remarkable journey

TanaieYouth at Risk ambassador Tanaie got in touch to share her experience of the 5-day intensive workshop on the Hackney Choices programme back in July 2015 and the journey she has been on since.

“Before I started Youth at Risk, I found myself regularly depressed but didn’t know why. I knew in myself that I had so much potential but continued to hold myself back. I made the conscious decision that things needed to change so when Youth at Risk presented the programme to me, I was all for it! It was such an intense course, I found myself crying A LOT! Crying wasn’t something that was new to me; I did plenty of that at home behind closed doors. The fact that I was crying in front of a room full of strangers was bizarre to me as I’m a guarded person and hardly let anyone in. Taking part in the Youth at Risk programme helped me to achieve so much. They provided me with the opportunity to pitch to a panel that were able to help me immensely with producing an amazing EP; they also provided me with a great networking circle and great mentors. I have since joined the BBC Choir and I’m currently working on setting up my own Social Enterprise. I’m now a proud ambassador for Youth at Risk and will do everything that I’m able to do to ensure that this amazing work continues.”

Neil speaks out

Our CEO, Neil, was invited to deliver the keynote speech at the winter AMOSSHE (Association of Managers of Students Services in Higher Education) conference on 17th Feb in Manchester on ‘engaging communities’. His invitation was due to the consistently outstanding results we have had in increasing retention, progression, resilience and sense of belonging in our expanding programme for university students. He discussed how important it was for universities to wake up to the reality of today’s student, and how to raise the bar of engagement with them so they make the most of their education. It was a great event, thank you to AMOSSHE and our fantastic partner Jayne Aldridge, Deputy Director Student Services at Kingston University and Executive Member of the AMOSSHE team for the opportunity.

Ashridge House

At the end of January, we were able to bring together key people in the public, private and voluntary sector for our executive event. Led by Mark Charley the event, which ran from 27th – 29th January at Ashridge House in Hertfordshire, was a great opportunity to engage new partnerships whilst building on existing ones. We were thrilled to see how our supporters from diverse industries and sectors threw themselves into the workshop; they gave themselves and each other an opportunity to see something different about how we might continue a journey of transformation together. The event is delivered on the principle that our methodology is a powerful tool in bringing collaborative partnerships together, by collectively engaging with our key stakeholders (and potential stakeholders) in this way we can move on to new ground in building programmes which draw on the insights of clients and delivery teams combined. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive: “A wonderful, absorbing, self-awareness, thoughtfulness, and engaging course introducing listening. The courses that YaR devote to youths is clearly an eye-opener, which has delivered significant results. I would thoroughly recommend to many people!” Since then, partnerships have continued to grow and we are working with everyone to look at what’s next.

We’d like to thank everyone who attended the event and those that supported as part of the Youth at Risk team; Lord Phillips, Mike Parton and Hubert Campbell.

Plans are already underway for the next one- watch this space.

Ashridge House attendees

Volunteer to Youth Enrolment Manager

Anthony Olanipekun joined the Youth at Risk staff team in December 2016 after volunteering on our Hackney Choices programme in 2015/2016.

“I came across YaR on twitter in 2015, the opportunity to be a life coach had randomly come up and I was really interested in seeing what it was about. I had a conversation with Ashley at the time and was immediately hooked so I enrolled onto the Hackney choices programme as a volunteer life coach.

During the training weekend I experienced a range of emotions and had been able to reflect on some of my life decisions, I began really asking myself what I want and what I’m committed to. I completed the programme and continued to keep in touch with YaR while working elsewhere, when the opportunity to be Youth Enrolment manager was presented to me I felt like things had aligned and I was stepping into an organisation who genuinely care about my development and goals.

My first few months of work consisted of workshops for staff at Hydebank Wood in Belfast, mentoring programmes for students in London and Northamptonshire, working with young people on a residential in Belgium all whilst being able to work on myself in the process.

Working with YaR has allowed me to see that there’s so much more for me to learn and I’m in the right place for that.”

This is your chance

January 13, 2017

Branch out - volunteerWe’re really excited to tell you about a new amazing opportunity that you can get involved in. This is your chance to get involved, see the work that we deliver, engage with our methodology and support a young person’s transformation.

We’re going to be delivering a new mentoring programme to pupils in years 9-10 in schools in London and Northamptonshire. And, we’re offering you the incredible opportunity to mentor a young person for 6 months.

The full details and time commitment are listed below.

Interested? Please get in touch ASAP with Anthony on Anthony@youthatrisk.org.uk or 07787296197. We look forward to hearing from you.

PS – we’d really appreciate it if you could also share this opportunity with anyone you think might be interested. Thanks!

The details!

Your training: You will participate in a 2-day Performance Coach Workshop, followed by monthly coaching support calls and 3 follow-up evening sessions enhancing what you have learnt, developing your skill set further and supporting you in your role with the young people.

Your commitment:
•    Attend the 2-day Performance Coach Workshop:  London 4-5th March or Northants 18-19th February
•    Coach pupils weekly for 6 months
•    Complete coaching sessions notes for each session and to submit them to your coach
•    Participate in monthly coaching/support calls
•    Attend the 3 follow up evening sessions

Highlights of 2016

December 20, 2016

Just a few of our key highlights from this year:

A massive highlight of this year has been working and delivering in partnership with Young Hackney, to deliver Hackney Choices, a remarkable programme that produced significant impact and transformation. We’re excited to be exploring options for further work in Hackney in the New Year.

We’ve almost completed our final cohort of a successful 3-year partnership with Suffolk County Council. During the 3 years we have met and worked with some fantastic staff, volunteers and young people across the county, particularly in Lowestoft, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds. We’re pleased to say that 100% of young people from the first and second year cohorts reported increased aspirations and motivations, and hope to see the same with cohort 3.

Our 2-year partnership with the Benjamin Foundation came to a close at the beginning of December with a brilliant festive celebration put together by the excellent local team of volunteers. One volunteer recently got in touch to say, “It’s amazing to see how much the young people have come on and those actively still engaged all seemed to be grateful and happy to have participated on the programme.  I genuinely think it has made a positive change to their lives.”

During 2016 we’ve worked hard to tailor our university programmes to best fit our clients’ needs.  We’ve thoroughly enjoyed delivering at Kingston, Nottingham Trent and SOAS Universities this year and look forward to what 2017 may bring with these and new universities.

Our previous work and recent visits to Northern Ireland have been very moving. Neil, Amira and others have been working very closely with Richard Taylor and his team at Hydebank Wood College to create a programme that will continue to embed and continue the transformation there.

James Clements-Smith, CEO of Prevista has become more and more involved with Youth at Risk. We are very grateful for all the support he and his staff have to offer, and are delighted to be developing a strategic partnership and community-style residential with them.

We’ve delivered our professionals workshop to a number of fantastic partners this year including; SAHA, Barnet Council, Family Action, Street League, Prevista, Child UK, Waltham Forest, NEWTEC and Stonewater Housing.

The very talented Anthony Olanipekun has joined our team as our Youth Enrolment Manager. He will be enrolling young people and supporting the relaunch of our residential community programmes. He gave us his views on joining YaR, “I feel very excited about joining Youth at Risk; it’s a great opportunity to work with people who are passionate about transformation too. I’m learning a lot already and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the work.” Anthony is supporting the team to recruit volunteers for two new programmes, see below for more detail.

Get involved!

We’re ending the year on a massive high for many reasons and this is definitely one of them: we’ve recently been awarded with £97k  over 2 years from the Careers and Enterprise Company, to deliver mentoring programmes in two regions: Northamptonshire and London.  We’re now looking for volunteers to be Performance Coaches to young people in schools. In Northants, the schools are likely to be in Kettering, Wellingborough and Rushden, and in London, it’s looking like Stratford, Walthamstow and Fulham.

If you are interested in volunteering in London or Northamptonshire, please get in touch with Anthony@youthatrisk.org.uk or call him on 07787296197  if you’ve got any questions. Training begins soon so don’t delay!

Progress and partnerships

November 10, 2016

Our strategy for the next three years includes a decision to relaunch our intensive residential programme. It feels like the right time to focus on making the biggest impact with communities, bringing people together and creating belonging amongst alienation, resignation and disengagement. We are not simply bringing back an old programme; we are reinventing it and bringing it to life through the strength of our partnerships.

We already have two new partnerships that we’re really excited about; organisations that are helping us shape and design our work in response to young people now. James Clements-Smith at Prevista (specialising in supporting young people into employment) has already commissioned a programme for his own staff and is now becoming a partner in our commitment to delivering transformation in communities. We have started to co-design a programme with Prevista to bring young people together across London to create a Youth Congress. Watch this space for updates.

Joe Russo at Enthusiasm found us through the recent #TakeAStand BBC campaign we ran. We quickly recognised the strength of our shared values and are already talking about bringing together his highly effective youth engagement model with our personal development approach.

New ways of working, new creativity and new partnerships – these have been the themes of the last couple of months. It has made for an inspiring and hopeful foundation to the development of the new strategy and its delivery over the next three years.

Chris’ residential experience

Motivate the Estate was a community programme which was delivered by Southend Borough Council in partnership with Youth at Risk from 2009 – 2011. Chris Sollis, Early Help, Family Support Team Manager shared her memories of the programme…

Youth at Risk trained key staff within Children Services as well as school staff and young people. “The most ambitious element to the programme was the six day residential which required the enrolment of at least 50 young people, and approximately the same number of volunteers.”

“22 young people attended the residential during March 2011; these were hard to reach young people who had demonstrated their commitment through the enrolment process. For many young people it was their first time outside Southend and it was a real challenge not only to adapt to the new environment, but also to the rigorous structure of the days. During the six days young people were challenged physically through the outdoor activities, mentally through the structure of the programme and emotionally by confronting directly areas of their lives which were not working for them. Many young people started the programme apathetic and unresponsive, but over the course of the six days saw the real benefits in participating 100%.  It is a credit to the programme that not one young person chose to leave the course; all 22 completed the six days. After returning to Southend, young people met their committed partners (Volunteer Coaches) and worked steadily towards their goals.  The feedback from young people, professionals & parents about the programme was extremely positive.  Certainly the residential was the most challenging and intense of the YAR trainings but the results in terms of young people’s personal, emotional and social growth were significant.”

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