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New worker, new funding and a new area for 2019

posted 7 May 2019, 05:26 by Richard Marsh   [ updated 8 May 2019, 02:21 ]
What a delay! Apologies for the lack of updates, but things have been very busy. 

First of all, following the departure of our lead worker last year, our own Jon Dingle was appointed as Professional Worker to lead the team and Gail Coath was appointed to fill Jon's old role as Senior Youth Support Worker. Gail's experience includes working with excluded young people at ACE and she works with Jon in both Ernesettle and Whitleigh. Prior to Gail's appointment, Jeanette Lynch worked with Jon on establishing our new patch in Whitleigh where massive strides were made, firstly in making contact with well over 100 young people on the streets and then commencing work with a number of groups, including some young people who had been heavily involved in anti-social behaviour.

In Ernesettle we received a financial boost in July 2018 thanks to a successful application to the People's Health Trust, which is funding project work with our young people through to mid 2020. Two highlights of this work already have been our young people's participation in 'Together for Childhood', a major long-term project instigated by the NSPCC with other City partners and based in Ernesettle. This is looking at innovative ways of preventing childhood sexual abuse, with Ernesettle selected because of the close way in which the community and local organisations (like Barefoot!) work together. At the launch event in October two project groups of our young people were the keynote speakers, telling the audience of over 100 professionals (police, social services, education etc) about where they felt safe and what needed to be added to the school curriculum to keep them that way. The second highlight was our recently completed diversity project, which saw young people visit refugee events, experience refugee awareness training and spend a weekend in London as guests of the Bollo Brook Youth Club in Ealing. This really challenged some previously held views about ethnicity and immigration, just through getting young people to meet people they wouldn't normally get the chance to talk to. Their latest project was focused on the Ernesettle Easter Fayre, running fund-raising stalls and activities.

Our Community Ambassador Project for Clarion Housing in St Budeaux ran throughout the year, with the 11 young participants working with Jeanette and Abi to mastermind a community event in July that combined fun activities at William Sutton Hall, with the chance to gather local feelings about their issue of choice: 'Do we need more youth work in St Budeaux?' The  answer was a resounding 'yes' and at the beginning of 2019 we were able to announce this will become a reality following a successful bid to the North Yard Community Trust for three year's funding, with additional support from Clarion, to provide detached (street-based) youth work in the St Budeaux and Kings Tamerton neighbourhoods. At Christmas the CAP grouped organised their last event, a delicious Christmas meal for elderly local people.

Back in Whitleigh, young people from Whitleigh and Ernesettle also helped provide a Christmas meal for potentially lonely residents at the 4 Greens Centre and, thanks to support from local councillors, youth workers also took young people from the area over to the Livewire youth music facility in Saltash for a series of regular music making sessions. The Whitleigh Big Local, who fund our youth work in the neighbourhood, have also announced funding support for this work that will guarantee it through to mid 2020.

Ernesettle also got a boost in the New Year when a bid to the Co-op Foundation didn't get the big prize, but led to a substantial amount being awarded to improve our facilities, focusing on attracting more, lonely young people to the SPACE Centre. With all decisions made by our young people the centre now boasts a new settee and 65" screen for gaming (plus new games), a surround sound system and completely refurbished pool table, not to mention tablets, laptops, new cooking facilities and disco lights!

Special thanks must go to our local councillors in Ernesettle, Whitleigh and St Budeaux for their continuing support, both moral and financial, and to our other main funders, the wonderful Tudor Trust. More bids are in the pipeline and our collecting tins in the area are constantly filled by generous local people. We'd also like to thank our longstanding volunteer Rosie who left us in 2018 and our current volunteers Milda, Simone and Rachel who so generously support the youth team in Ernesettle.

Finally, Barefoot is working with sister youth groups in Honicknowle and Barne Barton to form the PL5 youth work consortium, aimed at ensuring this vital work continues in all areas of NW Plymouth.