e-Learning (YMCA Norfolk) - WINNER

The E-Learning Service offers individually tailored provision for students based on their unique learning needs and ability levels across a wide spectrum, including: students not accessing mainstream education; those excluded or at risk of exclusion; those suffering physical health conditions; those suffering from social, emotional or mental health conditions; those with poor school attendance or refusing to attend school; those dealing with challenging life circumstances; students with ASD; teenage parents; and students travelling out of the county with their family.  

This past year has been particularly challenging for young people who are on the margins and their education can often suffer as a result. The E-Learning team are privileged to have had the opportunity to work with 175 young people this year, providing each of them with specialist education when they could so easily have lost all interest in their learning.    

Y-Cook (YMCA Northumberland)

Y-Cook has become one of YMCA Northumberland’s most important projects, teaching young people the skill of cooking independently and the importance of creating healthy meals.  

The project consists of various weekly sessions, each of which introduces young people aged 10-17 years old to new recipes, new cooking techniques and new foods. 

Benefits of the project range from creating an appreciation for food and new flavours that young people haven’t tried before to building confidence and self-esteem and helping inform about the link between food and healthy living.  

To date, more than 150 young people have been through the programme, with over half of them engaging in multiple sessions and learning to cook at least seven meals on their own, all using fresh ingredients from scratch. The project has also helped 40 young people to earn their AQA certification.  

Young people’s feedback about the project has been very positive, in fact, it is one of the most engaging programmes delivered by YMCA Northumberland, pushing them to seek additional funding due to the growing waiting list. 

Additionally, having a dedicated training kitchen supported by the YMCA Movement Trust fund has enabled new projects both within the YMCA and other organisations to utilise this resource, resulting in a positive impact on the wider community.  

Y-Heritage (Leicester YMCA)

The Y Heritage Project was awarded £707,500 over three years by The National Heritage Lottery Fund in 2018. Through this support, young people have been empowered to commission local heritage projects up to £30,000, leading to some incredible placements in unusual venues such as print shops, museums, national parks, hospital archives, archaeology digs and cemeteries, to name just a few.  

All Y Heritage projects must include a meaningful work placement for a young person, which in turn provides a learning experience for organisations on how to engage young people with complex needs.  

Since its very first project restoring a Victorian printing press in 2018, Y Heritage has engaged more than 150 young people and awarded funding to 15 heritage projects that would otherwise not have taken place. Through this, heritage organisations have learnt not to underestimate what young people want from heritage or what they can contribute.  

Y Heritage’s young people value the rich work experience opportunities, sense of achievement, and improved skills that come with these placements. Some residents start to explore their own heritage and the value of heritage in society.  

2021 Youth Matters Awards Finalists