At Youth Off The Streets’ our Outreach Services are often the first step for young people to access the support they so desperately need. By taking the time to connect and understand these young people, our dedicated youth workers can provide effective support.
Outreach Services are specially tailored to suit our young people. It’s all about what the kids are passionate about, when they need support and where, even if it means working outside of usual business hours.
More than half of homeless young people are turned away from homelessness services due to the high level of demand. With this in mind, early intervention is key and is often achieved simply through positive diversionary activities.
Youth Off The Streets’ Outreach Development Manager, Benjamin Stevens, says taking the time to really connect with these young people is crucial to the work our Outreach teams do.
“A lot of what we do is simply playing games and spending time with these young people. We play giant Jenga, basketball, PlayStation – you name it. Then, when they’re ready to talk, we already have their trust and can connect them to whatever support they need. “
With these services playing such a crucial role in the local communities in which they are engaged, it is important that we appropriately identify which areas are most in need of our support.
“Often the council can cue us in if they know a hotspot for young people, then it’s a matter of reaching out and connecting with these young people in their own environment,” said Ben.
“Another indicator is if there is a violent scenario or event in an area resulting in a public outcry. We don’t generally wait around for things to get worse in the area, we act straight away and go in and see what we can do.”
Facing these crucial issues as a youth worker can have its challenges and often making that initial connection with young people in need is the hardest part.
“It’s a real challenge but it’s all about taking the time to really understand these kids and actually just sit in the gutter with them and the most rewarding part for me is then seeing the transition they make,” said Ben.
“We see them transition from kids that struggle to make basic eye contact into kids that are leaders in their community and full of confidence.”
Our diverse Outreach Team can speak 21 different languages amongst them and many of our youth workers are local to the areas we operate. All of this makes our team uniquely skilled in interacting with young people in need, whilst knowing about local sources and issues.
At Youth Off The Streets we are proud to continue extending our Outreach Services to communities and young people in need, and will continue to do so for years to come.