Include Us Too youth workers
2013’s celebration event in Connah’s Quay
Working with 2engage on the “Risking It All” drama workshops
A chair made by the youth group on a residential course
The youth futures art project
Save the Family’s ‘Include Us Too’ youth project works with young people aged 11-25 years who are disadvantaged or have been affected by homelessness. We take a holistic approach to supporting young people, assessing their individual needs as well as their personal interests. Through this approach we can provide a tailored support plan for each young person that will work towards achieving their goals, whilst rectifying problem areas in their lives.
Save The Family has had a youth project for over 6 years and has been funded by the Big Lottery Wales and BBC Children in Need. It has helped more than 200 young people over the last three years and is based at our site in Flintshire, North Wales.
Many of the young people have similarities in the problems they face; therefore we have groups and courses that can tackle these issues as a group rather than individually, as this helps to build a sense of community within the group and enables peer mentoring between the age groups. We currently have an L.G.B.T. (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) group, Bumps2Babies young parents group, Choose2 Change – Changing Places domestic violence course and Learn 2 Live (for under 15s). These are just a few of the regular groups, along with frequent sessions regarding alcohol and substance misuse, and sex and relationship education.
Include Us Too uses a mixture of both formal and informal activities to engage young people within the project and to increase participation. Furthermore, it allows for all of the young people to be accredited for the sessions they attend. Through schemes such as Youth Cymru Youth Achievement and Challenge Awards; Flintshire Local Voluntary Council Volunteering awards; Millennium Volunteers; John Muir Awards; NCFE, Argored Cymru and the Duke of Edinburgh Award we can provide opportunities for all the differing interests and needs of the young people. In addition, for those young people who are not academically successful, these accreditations and certifications provide an opportunity to build their confidence, skill base and CVs.
For the Include Us Too youth project, success is measured in small but significant steps. For each young person, a success will differ greatly: for some it may be getting a job or being accepted onto a university course; for others it will be attending a session or expressing their opinion in a group.
As the young people progress in their personal development and within the project we encourage them to take more responsibility and increase their level of participation. Through leaderships and peer mentoring, young people can achieve higher levels of accreditation and hopefully move into further (or higher) education or employment.
One of the key elements of Include Us Too is to involve the young people in the running and organisation of the project. We encourage young people to fundraise for activities and resources they want for the project. Using this approach, the young people gain a sense of value for the support they receive and the experiences they have, and show respect for both the youth project and the members of the group.