YMCA Theatre, YMCA Scarborough

YMCA Theatre, YMCA Scarborough – WINNER

For over 30 years, Scarborough YMCA has used theatre and performing arts to support young people to build their self-confidence, learn new skills, make friends, and contribute to their local community.

Giving young people the opportunity to take part in activities which result in public approval (such as performances), as well as tangible achievements (like an Arts Award qualification), allows young people to improve their confidence, while performing arts also allows staff to build trust and encourage young people to feel a sense of belonging.

Young people keep the theatre running on stage and behind the scenes, allowing them to get involved and gain various different skills. This also includes learning about the technical aspects of theatre, such as designing and running a full lighting plot for a six-week musical.

In addition to YMCA Scarborough’s own shows, young people can take part in a wide variety of productions and events from local dance schools, theatre groups, choirs, bands and performing arts schools, comprising many hundreds of local young people and adults. In the last year the theatre has shown 25 different productions, including over 130 performances allowing young people to meet new people and form friendships that continue long after the final ‘curtain call’.

Recording Studio, YMCA Swansea – FINALIST

YMCA Swansea Music Recording Studio gives young people the opportunity to gain new skills and accreditations whilst having fun through its workshops.

The studio is a hub where individuals get a chance to be around likeminded people, offering workshops in lyric writing, digital music production, guitar lessons and much more.

The studio engages with over 50 young people a week, some of whom come from the most-hard to reach groups in Wales, including young people not in education, employment or training.

The project has been exceptionally successful in helping young people transform by enabling them to develop their personal, social, educational and emotional skills, resulting in young people feeling more confident and less isolated.

YMCA Swansea Music Recording Studio delivers national projects across Wales, using music to provide quality support to the hardest to reach people in the Welsh communities, including the BAME people and refugees.

Last year the project won the Welsh Government Youth Work Excellence Award, and thanks to its success the project is now adding Level 2 & 3 qualifications to its training programme, as well as incorporating further creative industry modules to help young people successfully enter employment.

Pathway to Employment, YMCA East Surrey

Pathway to Employment, YMCA East Surrey – FINALIST

The East Surrey Pathway to Employment project provides intensive, targeted, wrap-around support for people facing insecurity to move closer to the job market or into work. Individual’s taking part in the programme have struggled or are struggling with various difficulties including mental health, substance abuse, physical health and disability, digital exclusion, domestic violence and more.

Working in partnership with other specialist organisations including Raven Housing, East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services and others, the project provides support to remove the many barriers to employability and ensure that candidates continue on a journey towards or into employment. Each candidate has a dedicated support plan developed alongside them, which takes them on a journey towards the workplace. The work plan builds on existing skills and experience, reflects reasonable ambitions and moves people at an appropriate pace, according to the needs of that individual.

Since the start of the programme 28 individuals enrolled into the programme with all of those successfully move on. Four individuals successfully gained employment, 20 enrolled into voluntary work or one to one support plans, and five people progressed into training and education, showing that everyone can improve their skills when the right support is available.

I’m Possible, YMCA Humber

In June 2016, YMCA Humber was commissioned to pilot a new intervention aimed at supporting young people who had been excluded from mainstream primary education.

Trialling a model of interventions from universal preventative education to intensive one to one support with young people and their families, the pilot focussed on improving young people’s resilience, promoting early action to address behaviour issues and supporting needs that may jeopardise their educational attainment.

Working with a small group of only seven young people who were transitioning from Year 6 at an alternative education provision into mainstream secondary school, the programme proved highly successful. Young people attended 83 out of the available 112 weeks in mainstream education and six out of seven young people successfully remained in mainstream education for the duration of the planned project period. Following on from the pilot’s success the I’m Possible model of working was developed to provide support for young people before, during and after exclusion from mainstream education.

Thanks to the success of the initial pilot, the I’m Possible project continues to grow and now works with a group of young people to complete preventative work as well as continuing to provide support for re-integration.

Positive Behaviour Programme, YMCA Suffolk

The Positive Behaviour Programme works with young people aged 16-21 who are either engaged with, or at risk of anti-social behaviour.

The programme consists of three 12 week educational programmes providing advice and guidance to young people to better understand what anti-social behaviour is, and improve understanding of the law and the effects anti-social behaviour has on other people and the local community.

Engaging young people through a mixture of educational and recreational activities, the project is designed to help young people think about and challenge their behaviour and ideas around what is and isn’t acceptable. Focussing on building self- esteem, communication and motivation through sports and other activities, young people are able to improve their social skills to help them resist pressures to take part in anti-social behaviour.

Working with neighbours to promote safer communities is key to the project, which has seen young people take part in practical projects such as litter picking and car washes.

A total of 35 young people at YMC Suffolk have taken part in the project, which also offers exit routes for young people to move on to training, volunteering, peer mentoring and other activities to help them realise their full potential.