JC’s Youth

Current stage: Awarded

Collaborators

  • New4Youth and JC’s Drop-in
  • Arrows (Children’s Group)

Collective’s aims and ideas

New4You Youth Group and JC’s Drop-in for teenagers has run on a Friday night in the city centre for nearly 20 years, building important relationships with the young people who attend and providing a much needed facility. The young people come from nearly every postcode across the city and the youth group and drop-in has been one of the only facilities of this kind in the city centre for many years now.

We try to provide a safe place for teenagers and during Covid this has been really difficult. We are looking for funding to facilitate how we do this by provision of a youth worker. There is a continuous issue with young people in the city centre especially at the weekends and for many years we have provided a venue for them to meet on Friday nights and engage in more positive activities. Unfortunately we have been unable to open due to Covid since the 13th of March. We want to be able to future proof youth provision in the city centre, especially as the need hasn’t gone away.

We have worked over the years closely with the police and have built good relationships. They are at present looking at their response to young people especially on Friday and Saturday nights and have stated that they would be looking to involve partners like ourselves. One of the ideas we have put forward is some detached work on a Friday night similar to Street Pastors and this has been welcomed.

We want to be a refuge and help young people who don’t feel they belong and often congregate in the city centre. POP+ funding has helped to refurbish our youth facility which is currently closed due to restrictions. We now want to provide what we can and reopen safely when restrictions lift. Normally in the JC’s youth area there are groups for 8 – 11’s, 11-16’s and up to 18 in the youth drop in. Work has gone online and when restrictions lifted in the summer there was an opening of some face to face youth work. Our goal now is to do some detached work in conjunction with the police as well as the online presence we have at present.

With this funding we would be able to employ a part time youth worker to help coordinate this project until September 2021. At present our funding streams have been put on hold due to Covid restrictions. We believe it is important to do whatever we can in these hugely challenging days. It is important for the development of the youth themselves and to have a dedicated youth worker coordinating all of this is really needed. We have a small amount of funding to pay for a children and youth worker on an annualised contract but it won’t cover the full year. Our youth intern from last year is at present doing this propping it up with income from work at Morrisons. He himself has had to completely change his plans due to the pandemic. We are looking to increase funding for this post to keep it going until September 2021 especially as the work reopens face to face. At present it is all done online. The proposed worker is 19 years old and works across the children’s and youth groups who have together formed this collective with New4You Youth, JC’s youth drop-in and Arrows.

How will they work together to achieve this?

The collective team brings in lots of professional expertise and has many strengths.
A teacher who has taken early retirement to pursue other interests and who has lots of energy and enthusiasm to work with young people.
A retired naval officer who taught naval cadets and has worked across the globe. The young people love this guy who is like a grandad figure to them.
A nurse who is amazing with young people with physical issues…they come in shouting at times “where’s the nurse”.
A mum who works in administration who has fantastic listening skills and is perceptive to the needs of young people.
A previous Physical Education teacher who now does youth administration looking at all aspects of risk assessment and safeguarding having previously done training in outdoor pursuits.
A young person who’s recently done official youth work training and has digital skills for the online work.
The team are working together because they have been helping provide youth and children’s work as part of a larger organisation for many years. The collective have worked together to provide special events, camps including attending youth festivals with groups and overseas trips. They have completed training in necessary skills such as first aid, food hygiene and safeguarding. It’s a great team.

During the first round, POP+ members were asked to advise you. Tell us what happened. What are your reflections? Have you gained new insight? New partners?

The partners advised us of the youth work that was happening in the localities surrounding the city centre. We felt it would be interesting to speak to leaders of groups working with youth such as The Barefoot Project in Whitleigh. In the city centre there is mainly detached youth work provided by the statutory Youth Service. JC’s drop in and New4You youth groups have had contact with the two detached workers as well as the police. JC’s drop-in and New4You are the main venue based youth work in the city, having developed, as an identified need by Plymouth City Council (PCC). The present PCC Community Youth Service Officer spoke of the need for collaboration between those working with young people and advised, of the National Youth Agency giving updates for those working with young people. After this pandemic there could be immense need and it was recognised that for best results collaboration was needed. The uniqueness of the city centre was identified in that it attracts teenagers from all localities across the city and is not territorial. A member of POP+ put forward the idea of a Youth Networking Group. This would be excellent for getting to know who does what and were. There is potential for some very good links and working together. We have been invited to attend the detached youth workers team meeting arranged in January 2021, by Community Youth Service Manager from Plymouth City Council. If ultimately, this benefits the young people we are trying to serve, that would be excellent.