YMCA East Surrey has been awarded a grant of £435,737 from the National Lottery Community Fund to take the role of lead provider in youth work which will benefit more than 1,000 local young people.
The charity has secured three years of funding to deliver twelve sessions of universal youth work per week from Surrey County Council owned venues in East Surrey. The project is due to start on 1 April 2021.
The successful funding bid evolved from a series of ‘Get Connected’ workshops run by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, which brought together local organisations with expertise in young people, including schools, colleges, voluntary sector organisations, police, housing providers, health authorities and Surrey County Council.
“This grant couldn’t have come at a more vital time,” says YMCA Family Services and Youth Work Manager, Stuart Kingsley.
“With recent cuts to universal services for young people and the current COVID-19 crisis affecting their mental health, wellbeing and education, young people need access to support more than ever before. We are thrilled that this money will directly help to transform the lives of those young people in East Surrey who need it most.”
Cllr Rod Ashford is the Executive Member for Community Partnerships at Reigate & Banstead Borough Council. He says:
“The ‘Get Connected’ partnership brings together local organisations to listen to the experiences and challenges faced by local young people. This National Lottery Community Fund grant is great news and underlines the strength of our partnership with YMCA East Surrey. Their youth workers will work closely with our Community Development Workers in their vital role at the heart of neighbourhoods where young people feel most excluded.”
YMCA East Surrey has considerable on the ground experience of the issues facing young people in the targeted areas and of working jointly with them to develop meaningful activities and projects. Since 2018, the charity has collaborated closely with Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, Surrey Police and other local organisations through the Get Connected initiative which aims to deter young people from getting involved in serious organised crime or exploitation.
The National Lottery Award will enable 480 youth club sessions to be delivered over 40 weeks per year, across five locations, with an additional 160 detached youth work sessions taking place within local communities. Many of these are targeted to benefit young people from the most deprived areas of Reigate and Banstead, such as Horley, Tadworth and Merstham.
Although services were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic last year, in 2019/20 the charity’s youth workers engaged with 574 young people through detached youth work and youth clubs. Throughout lockdown, YMCA East Surrey has moved to provide online youth clubs and, over a twelve-month period, its WAVES youth group supported 191 young people with their mental health.
Judith Brooks, YMCA East Surrey’s Head of Children and Young People, says:
“Our youth team are well practised in delivering a wide range of services from youth centres in Banstead, Reigate, Horley and Merstham. Through working in partnership with other organisations, we can now look forward to expanding our ability to provide young people with a safe environment where they can access support from professional youth workers who will support them in reaching their full potential and contributing positively to society.”
Ian Burks, Chief Executive of YMCA East Surrey, says:
“We are really pleased to be able to offer tangible support and activity for all young people as they get their lives back on track following the last turbulent year. We are immensely thankful to the National Lottery but also to Surrey County Council for being so proactive about letting us use their youth centres to deliver vital youth club provision in the area.”