Empowering young people to turn their lives around

Empowering young people to turn their lives around

Rosie Reynolds is the Young Persons Engagement Worker leading an exciting new project to help young people take part in activities to build confidence, improve wellbeing, and work towards education, training and employment.

“I am based at SPEAR’s young persons’ hostel in Merton, where I began by surveying the young people here to find out where they were in their lives, and where they wanted to be. Together we have come up with ideas for what might support them in that journey.

I talked to each of the residents about the project and its aim of supporting young people experiencing homelessness. One of our clients, Billy (21) gave me some great advice:

If you can find a common interest with each individual, speak to them on their own not in a group, if you show you care and you want their best interests, it shouldn’t be hard.

Over the last few months I’ve done just that, and have gotten to know our young clients. We’ve been going for workouts in the park, cooking and eating together, going to the theatre and the cinema, attending taster sessions for university degrees, and every Friday have a drop-in art session which has produced some amazing work to brighten the walls of the hostel.

There’s never a dull day, and despite the challenges our young people are facing, there’s always room for lots of laughter. Troy (18) says:

Doing art has been really nice, because it’s something to look forward to at the end of the week. You know when you come into the session it’s a relaxing place, and non-judgmental, and there’s an open table for discussion of anything. It’s a really nice way to unwind. I’d done art at college but hadn’t done it in a while and it’s nice getting back into it.

Rosie finds out what we’re good at and pushes us to do our best at it and it’s made me think about going back to college next year and finishing my course.

Kenny (24) says:

I really enjoyed the university taster session. It opened my mind to things I hadn’t really considered before, which I think is pretty cool. I really enjoyed the theatre, I like theatre in general but haven’t gotten to go as much as I’d like.

I feel like now people that wouldn’t necessarily have hung out before are hanging out more, like when we get back from an activity it gives us something to talk about.

Find out more about our work with young people. Rosie’s post is kindly funded by the Berkeley Foundation.