12 December 2017
The YMCA Downslink Group has scooped a prestigious national award for helping to transform the lives of vulnerable young people and connect them with mentors in their local communities.
The YMCA DLG topped the Advice and Guidance category at the Children and Young People Now Awards 2017 at a gala ceremony in London on 22 November. The awards are the gold standard for everyone working with children, young people and families. The Positive Placements project, which is funded in Mid Sussex by Mid Sussex District Council, helps 16 to 25 year-olds deal with a range of issues from neglect and abuse to mental health issues and a reliance on addictive substances.
Young people are matched with mentors from relevant backgrounds who provide them with one-to-one support and help to identify goals and formulate step-by-step action plans. In total, 88 young people were referred to Positive Placements in 2016/17 and 54 went on to enter education, employment or training, six continued to work on goals and six were referred to specialist support. Councillor Norman Webster, Mid Sussex District Council Cabinet Member for Community said:
“Positive Placements is a wonderful project that has the power to transform the lives of vulnerable young people and I’m proud that we are funding it in Mid Sussex. The scheme helps young people who have lost their way to gain confidence, improve their communication skills and discover what they want to do with their lives. It is a tremendously empowering project that helps many young people to manage their issues, move out of supported housing and live more independent lives.” Tracey Wilkes, Welfare and Engagement Manager for the YMCA Downslink Group said:
“It was absolutely fantastic to win the Advice and Guidance Award at the Children & Young People Now Awards 2017. We had some really tough competition from other projects all over the country but it just shows an amazing reflection of the hard work all our incredible volunteers do in making a difference to the lives of the young people we work with. Thank you so much to all the staff and volunteers who make this project such a success. We really value your ongoing support and hard work to make us a double award winning project.” Kate Coppock, YMCA Downslink Group Community and Volunteer Coordinator added:
“I started as a volunteer mentor myself so it means so much to me now to have this amazing project that got me so passionate about working with vulnerable young people being recognised nationally! I couldn’t imagine that over two years ago when I first met my mentee my journey would involve me coordinating the Mid Sussex project and being privileged to accept this award. I could not be more proud of our team and all our volunteers! We literally could not do this without them!” For more information about the Positive Placements project visit www.ymcadlg.org/training-and-education/positive-placements/