YMCA Dialogue Wellbeing Service – YMCA DownsLink Group

The project is an innovative response to the mental health and wellbeing needs of children and young people aged four to 25 in Brighton and Hove. It offers a joined-up approach to mental health services, providing a wide variety of treatment options to suit a broad range of children and young people.

The service offers a range of innovative support options for mental health difficulties such as low mood, stress, anxiety and depression, including counselling, canine assisted therapy, play and dramatherapy, CBT, emotional wellbeing early interventions, E-Wellbeing (YMCA Dialogues new Online counselling platform) and an outreach and engagement service for hard to reach young people with mental health difficulties, Mind The Gap.

The project is part of a citywide transformation of children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing, which is designed to create an integrated pathway that includes Primary Mental Health Workers in schools and CAMHS services with whom we triage with every day. The service is able to promote the values of the third sector within an NHS framework and works alongside the client from the point of referral through to treatment, deciding together with the clinician and other professionals what the right approach will be and how they might be best supported. The YMCA Youth Advice Centre works closely with the service, providing a drop-in that young people can access every day for support and offer various treatment options.

The Brighton & Hove Wellbeing Service works as a NHS and third sector collaboration with Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust, Mind in Brighton and Hove and HERE and is ground breaking in that it is the only children & young person’s service its ability to flow data directly to NHS England.

Environmental Projects – YMCA Humber

Environmental Projects equips young people with the skills and confidence needed to transform green spaces and helps to improve their health and wellbeing.

Accessing environmental projects benefits our young people, personally, socially, economically, physically and mentally. By engaging, our volunteers have set up and run a constituted group where they actively decided on the issues to be addressed and agree actions to take forward.

Achievements completed by young people includes, attending local and national training in planning and planting an orchard and rain water harvest irrigation system, understanding native wildflowers, pruning and maintaining an orchard, and planning, designing and building a cob house.

Projects are also advertised to bring in the local community so they can learn new skills. By involving volunteers these projects help young people make connections, make them feel more engaged and accepted by the local community, making it stronger and more cohesive.

Many volunteers have stated how the project has assisted with their withdrawal from drug and alcohol dependency by providing them with a positive action. It has encouraged young people to attend local further education courses in horticulture and gain full time employment.

Guildford Y Centre – YMCA DownsLink Group

Guildford Y Centre provides accommodation for 96 students and 22 young people with support needs. We have a long history of supporting young people with complex needs, and young people who would be considered challenging, vulnerable and/or socially-marginalised due to trauma, complex mental health issues, alcohol or drug misuse, offending history and/or behaviours, harm to self or others, and non-engagement.

The team have developed a programme of activities which respond to the expressed needs and aspirations of young people, including unaccompanied asylum seekers, care leavers, and young people who have been homeless. The programme promotes health and wellbeing, and maximises ‘job-readiness’ through a broad range of activities. These include:

  • Group sessions
  • 30 minutes structured individual or group sessions on topics such as decision-making, job searching and problem solving
  • Boxing club
  • Friday night club: recognising that Friday evening is a high-risk time for isolation, the club focuses on building a sense of community through food
  • Support to access employment
  • Fast track to employment – a three day course providing certificated manual handling and food hygiene training, CV writing and group work around interview tips.
  • Positive Placements: volunteer mentoring around employment aspirations

Progress can be evidenced by the young people themselves, including tangible growth in confidence, increased self-esteem, better self-care and independent living skills, improved physical health and becoming ‘job-ready’.

Healthy Relationships / Sexual Health Outreach Team – YMCA Cardiff

The Healthy Relationships / Sexual Health Outreach Team support young people in schools and the community to make healthy relationship decisions and understand their rights and responsibilities concerning sexual behaviour.

The YMCA team work in partnership with the Cardiff and Vale Public Health Team to ensure that delivery is in line with best practice and by trained and qualified staff, working with the most vulnerable young people to maintain good sexual health and to avoid infections and unplanned pregnancies. The service also works in close collaboration the Switched On Substance Misuse Team, to increase awareness of risk taking behaviours and the importance of positive relationships.

The project also works with Cardiff Children’s Services Think Safe! Team to raises awareness and to provide early help interventions in relation to child sexual exploitation [CSE] with young people, their families and professionals that come into contact with them. The aim is to provide appropriate support to prevent situations from escalating. The team have also implemented a scheme in which 11 young people are trained as Peer Educators. Throughout the last 12 months the team have supported 69 young people on a 1-2-1 basis, 34 of these were highlighted at risk of sexual exploitation, this Early Help intervention reduces the involvement of statutory services.  The Healthy Relationships Project was recently highlighted by Welsh Government Youth Work Quality Mark Assessors of being Sector leading and an example of best practice in Wales.

Y Sports – YMCA St Helens

Y Sports is a free and accessible project using sport and fun activities to engage with young people of all abilities across St Helens. It aims to build capacity and resilience in young people, raising aspirations and creating opportunities.

The project takes a holistic approach to engagement where possible, with family sessions offered as well as young person only sessions.

In addition, Y Sports offers coaching, sports leadership and NCS and Duke of Edinburgh opportunities. During the first year three young people were recruited as coaches to deliver the work with young people. It has also recently supported the development of a Learning Disability Rugby League Squad and runs the Coach Education Programme, which encourages people to ‘Get Qualified’. This has been successful with numerous young people not in education, employment or training.

Furthermore, the project’s strategic partnerships have created significant opportunities for young people, including meeting and training with the entire St Helens RLFC first team earlier this year.

In its first year, Y Sports  had 18,364 attendances and reached more than 2,500 individual young people across 1098 sessions. Y Sports is now aiming to develop its offer for young people – offering three apprentice opportunities while also looking at other pathways with young people and exploring other opportunities available.

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