YMCA East Surrey

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Real stories – Sacha Kaufman
Annual review photos for the YMCA
“Detached youth work is all about interacting with young people on their turf and on their terms,” explains Sacha Kaufman, one of the YMCA’s Detached Youth Workers.

“We want to support young people from becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) by encouraging them to develop their own skills, self-confidence and a positive attitude.”

Albert is 13 years old and lives in the Preston Ward area of Tadworth. He admits to struggling with his behaviour at school and has found it hard to keep out of trouble in his spare time.

“Me and my friends just sit around – there’s nothing to do here. When the Youth Club isn’t open, we end up hanging around in front of the local shops and what fun is that?”

This year, the YMCA’s Detached Youth Workers have engaged with young people in Redhill, Merstham, Horley, South Reigate and Preston Ward, as well as North Leatherhead, Dorking and Bookham. The projects are funded by Surrey County Council’s Services for Young People through the Local Prevention Framework.

“Detached Youth Work is good value for money,” says Sacha. “It compliments mainstream centre-based provision, is pro-active and very effective in engaging hard to reach young people.”

The team work with existing youth clubs to build relationships with local young people, assessing their needs and offering support.

“Boredom is a big issue,” says Sacha. “The young people need activities but most of all, they want a challenge.”

Over the summer, Albert’s group of friends planned their own ‘escape’ trip with the Detached Youth Workers.

“The young people made all the arrangements,” explains Sacha. “They chose to go paintballing, researched the options on our iPad and booked it. This builds on their functional skills and helps them learn the tools for improving their lives.”

Albert thinks the trip was a huge success.

“We’d love to organise another one,” he says. “It keeps us occupied and out of trouble.”

“If local young people know they can turn to the Detached Youth Team for support,” agrees Sacha, “we can help prevent anti-social behaviour, local disruption and crime.”

Read more about our Youth Services