YMCA East Surrey

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Real Stories – Alisha

Alisha, 12, has no doubt what it would be like in her local area without the presence of our detached youth work team.

“It would be absolutely boring,” she says. “And there would be more problems on the estate. The YMCA youth workers are alright – they don’t tell you off and they keep you safe. They stop parents worrying about their children because they know where they are and they know that they are keeping out of trouble.”

Street Talk is a local prevention youth work project which aims to engage with hard to reach young people aged 10-16 who are potentially at risk of becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) or offending. Escape is a school holiday diversionary scheme, giving young people a positive option. Detached youth workers support young people through a range of projects, including group work, mentoring and counselling, to build resilience, thrive and achieve their full potential.

Alisha initially heard about the programme through the YMCA’s Youth Workers who walked around the streets of her estate in Dorking and told her group of friends about the activities on offer.

“It’s a bit rough around here, but it’s alright,” Alisha explains. “My brothers have been in a bit of trouble in the past – it’s just that there isn’t much to do. Now, though, I’ve done loads of activities this summer, including a fishing trip, helping out with supporting Jolly John’s play farm and a trampolining outing to AirHop in Guildford. I get to meet up with my friends and stay out of trouble.”

All of our services are fully funded for young people so there is no cost. Young people can access one or several of our projects based upon their wants and needs, as well as receiving information, advice and guidance from trained youth workers.

In the first year of the Youth Space contract we engaged with 819 different young people across Reigate & Banstead and Mole Valley, with 171 of these young people having demonstrated an increase in resilience. In the coming twelve months, we hope to improve on this. We are also currently in the process of completing the level 1 of the National Youth Agency Quality Mark.

Alisha has the potential to be a real advocate for young people on her local estate and their need for more youth services. The positive results of her involvement so far are easy to see. As she says herself:
“It’s stopped the police coming to my door, stopped me hanging around with the wrong people and stopped me getting bored.”

Find out more about Youth Services