Young People are Inspiring

Inspiring Youth Work moments from 2016, and looking ahead into 2017

A Blog by Senior Youth Team Worker Hannah Garrard 

In 2016 MAP’s Youth Work team worked with young people in many different environments, from 1:1 sessions in schools, group sessions in the evening, on the streets of Norwich and even in the Houses of Parliament as part of a residential. Working with young people where they are is fundamental to youth work. Here is a selection of some of the youth work team’s memorable and positive moments with young people, from some of these locations.

Paula Driscoll  Horizons 1:1 sessions in school: “I was inspired by a 14 year old young woman with an anger issue, causing her to be regularly sanctioned in school. We worked together on her anger and tried to analyse what was going on. Finally she had her ‘Eureka!’ moment, suddenly getting in touch with the source of her anger and the tears just flowed.”

Nick Hazeldene  Youth Advisory Board: “On the London residential I was impressed by how our YAB group responded to being in such unfamiliar surroundings; often busy, noisy and a bit stressful. It was fantastic to see how well they supported each other and how well they got on as a group—respectful, mature and helpful, to each other and us as a staff team.”

Joel Landamore  Great Yarmouth drop in: “I’m not sure where some young people would go in GY if this wasn’t here. It’s always nice to learn that someone who hasn’t been in for a few weeks hasn’t been there because they have a job now – that’s because MAP helped them with their CV.”

Jess Barnard Horizons group work. ‘Most inspiring moment of the year would have to be working with a young person who was referred to me by education staff. This young person is a wheelchair user with complex and multiple needs.  She was referred the Horizons group as she had few other outlets. At first I had multiple concerns about whether I could support the young person to participate safely in the group, but managed to work with education staff to support her and adapt the activities. At the end of the summer, the young person was able to come along to our residential trip, and fully participate. She was the most confident of all of the young people and it was the first time I had seen her properly smiling and talking to me confidently. At the end of the day she sent me a text thanking us for making her feel welcome and included, and that her identity as a young person, not a wheelchair user, was acknowledged.

Ed King  Soundbites music group for EAL young people: “Taking a group of young people to their first ever gig to see Akala—a rapper and lyricist who writes about youth and the modern world – a great role model for young people. To see them jumping about and having such a great time was awesome. They have been energised and inspired. They have used the experience to help them gain their Bronze Arts Award.”

Paul Baum  Social Action Group for young people at risk of NEET. “The task for one of the group was to get through a session without swearing—something which is causing him trouble in school and meaning he is at risk from exclusion. By week 6 he’d done it, not a single swear word. Hopefully he can take this learning back into school and get on with his life.”

Hannah Garrard  Buzz after school group for EAL young people. “This group of young people have been amazingly supportive of each other, sharing stories of what it’s like to be a young person from a different culture in a new school. New friendships have formed because of the group, and it’s massively rewarding seeing young people rally round each other and view diversity as an asset, not  a setback.”

The resilience and imagination that young people demonstrate are qualities that will help them meet that challenges up ahead. The team reflected on what these challenges might be, and talked about the hopes they had for young people for in 2017 and beyond.  

  • 2016 has been a very strange year in many ways. It is sad to hear of such a rise in hate crime, and some of the ‘safety nets’ for vulnerable young people are being eroded. I hope that 2017 is better in than 2016, and the values of respect, equality, and inclusiveness can thrive, instead of hate, fear of difference, and intolerance – Lynne Janes
  • More decent jobs for young people – Paul Baum
  • Opportunities for young people to ask questions about the world they live in  – Ed King
  • More provision for young people and more involvement of young people in local governance – Colin Dutton
  • I hope the world will learn to value its young people and their special contribution – Paula Driscoll
  • I hope that young people are respected and valued by local and national government – Paul Webb
  • In 2017 I hope that the young people we have worked with grow in confidence to use their voice in society, and begin to take responsibility for making positive changes for the young people of Norwich – Jess Barnard
  • To have confidence and self-worth and to not be held back by anxiety to succeed. – Hannah Garrard