Good Vibes – YMCA Swansea

The Award Winning Good Vibes’ project is a high achieving, high profile project for young LGBT+ people across Swansea.

There are 632 registered members and a core of between 50-100 weekly regular members. The project supports young people to challenge stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination and lobby for equality and find their voice.

Good Vibes has supported young people to value themselves highly and to improve their confidence. Loneliness regularly comes up as an issue for young people during on-going consultations.

We believe that if we can get young people out of their bedrooms and into new social networks, it helps to increase their happiness and reduces isolation. Young people on this project have stopped being lonely, which is supporting their mental health. Meeting other LGBT+ young people can be an invaluable source of support, confidence and self-esteem. Good Vibes provides a safe space, a fun social group and somewhere to make new friends.

The impact of the project has been evident as weekly youth forums continue to grow. This confidential space employs trained and knowledgeable staff and volunteers of varied identities and backgrounds, who are trained in working with LGBT+ young people. They feel a sense of belonging, increased confidence and decide their own destiny, by being fully involved in project planning, delivery and evaluation.

Young people from Good Vibes have been involved in consultations with the Local Authority and Welsh Government Mental Health Champions from Good Vibes are working on national programmes, such as Time to Talk and the #IAMWHOLE Campaign.

LGBT Youth Service – YMCA Lincolnshire

YMCA Lincolnshire supports Lincolnshire’s LGBT+ youth by running a small group on a weekly basis at The Showroom. The project engages with 15-30 young people aged 11 -18 years-old every week for three hours at a time. The programme aims to have lots of fun and provide support and a safe place for those who need it. It also offers support and guidance to parents and guardians, and encourages the young people to help with this.

Some young people attending the project have additional needs including autism, depression, ADHD, and dyslexia. Through the LGBT+ Youth Service young people have the opportunity to listen to guest speakers who talk about LGBT+ experiences and offer advice.

The project also runs workshops on how to deal with anger, bullying, drugs and risk taking behaviour. Most importantly however, young people attending the service can socialise –play sports and have movie and karaoke nights. Some of the young people have grown in confidence so much that they now volunteer at Theatre School, another club based at The Showroom.

The YMCA Lincolnshire LGBT+ community has inspired others to create similar groups across the county, specifically a LGBT group in Louth and a parent support group in Sleaford. Some of the young people that attend the YMCA group have also started smaller groups in their schools.

YMCA Lincolnshire’s LGBT+ Youth Service not only provides a safe and supportive space to those who need it, but it’s become a community where young people are thriving and growing.

SPACE 2 – YMCA Newcastle

YMCA Newcastle’s SPACE2 project was established to support the needs of the changing demographic makeup of the city.

Last year the project supported over 1,000 members aged 13-25 from over 20 nationalities. The centre provides unconditional support to young people regardless of their circumstances and background. SPACE2 provides young people with the resources to achieve their full potential by offering opportunities such as employability sessions and Job Club, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, as well as access to apprenticeships.

The centre encourages community cohesion by recruiting young people from different backgrounds to take part in the range of programmes available.

Many of the young people have moved to the city from overseas and now identify as being a Geordie. They often celebrate the varying nationalities of members by inviting the young people and their families to cook speciality dishes and share stories from their native countries.

The centre is supported by a team of international volunteers who spend a year at the project and often organise language or cookery classes for young people attending the project.

During the World Cup, SPACE2 used the opportunity to explore the cultures and foods of participating countries. For many of the young people occasions like these represent rare opportunities to experience cultures different to their own.

Staff and volunteers at SPACE2 are made up from a diverse selection of individuals and young people are the heart of the project in every way, with the youngest person on the Board of Trustee’s being just 25 years old.

YMCA Youth – YMCA Trinity Group

YMCA Youth provides weekly drop in sessions and a schools programme for 9 to 21 year-olds in Ipswich.

The service engages more than 394 different young people every month, providing activities aimed at increasing confidence, aspirations and emotional support. An integral part of the service is to provide access to a safe environment for young people involved, or affected by, gang culture.

Due to gang violence, street drinking, drug use, drug dealing and cultural clashes the area currently has a dispersal order in place. YMCA Youth therefore engages with a diverse group of cultures including young people from Romania, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Latvia, Italy, Albania, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, just to name a few. Many of the young people are often segregated from each other in their community and have experienced racism and xenophobia.

YMCA Youth provides them with an opportunity to come together, share their cultures, celebrate their differences and connect. It breaks down the stereotypes and challenges negative ideas.

The project works with young people by providing a non-judgemental environment, offering strategies and tools to enable them to form positive relationships and make healthy choices.

Activities include multi-cultural cookouts, workshops and events in the community, social action and celebrating young people’s successes with the communities. The sessions develop interpersonal skills and critical thinking to empower young people to work together and inspire change in their communities.

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