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Annual Report 2018/19

Activities and operations

During the past 19 months we have continued providing and developing fantastic and creative regular activities for young people which has enabled us to continue to grow our total individual participants from 5084 to 5525 over the entire period. (note month on month totals vary)

Highlights include:

  • the street based and pop up initiative in central Lewisham (see case study),
  • the Universal Schools Safety program expanding via funding from the Young Londoners fund (See case study)
  • our walking bus scheme which now has four regular buses collecting from local primary schools and bringing young people to our junior groups
  • an additional TNG Saturday offer in partnership with Lewisham homes, Albany and Love to dance.
  • The Young leaders program - North and South Programs facilitated by the participation and engagement team supporting and encouraging youth empowerment and youth action.  Two fantastic projects were the Baby project and mental health awareness events totally lead by young people.
  • The Urban connect in partnership with Phoenix Community housing which took place at at Goldsmiths community centre.
  • Our north and south based Youth Network meetings are providing a training and networking opportunity for Lewisham’s youth sector.
  • The quality of our regular provision was marked with six out of the eleven Youth First units achieving the London Youth Bronze standard quality mark. This also brought in £18,000 in income. The remaining units are near completion and all units plan to move on to Silver and Gold during the next year. 
  • Alongside our ongoing activities we also put on some amazing one off events including the very popular Woodpecker Fireworks display which was part of Lewisham’s #Together event and all sites put on their own community fun days/festivals across the year. We were especially proud to see so many young people from Bellingham Gateway and Dumps take part in the Tribute Bellingham event in memory of our member Jai Hughes (Sewell). The event took place in Bellingham in partnership with other community organisations.
  • We also proudly hosted numerous visits from local dignitaries including all three Lewisham MPs, regular councillor visits, three visits from Lewisham’s Mayor Damien Egan and the previous Young Mayor Adam Abdullah.

Summer provision and survey

Summer 2019 was fantastic and some staff have suggested their best to date, this positivity is certainly borne out by feedback taken during our summer survey of young people and parents, some of which is included below.  All units were operating throughout the full six weeks other than the street based offer which was relocated to facilitate Home Park provision.  This Summer an additional food offer, in partnership Chartwells and LBL, was well received. Whilst participation service wide was strong some units noticed a slight decrease from previous years which we are reflecting on and putting in measures to address in the future.

Info graphics on feedback from parents and young people
  • Of the 112 people surveyed, 100% of parents would recommend the youth club or adventure playground to a friend.
  • 85% of parents said they would have to pay for childcare or change their working arrangements if YF provision was not open in the holidays.                            
  • 93% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that they could see that their child had benefitted from attending YF provision.
  • 89% of young people would recommend the youth club or adventure playground to a friend.
  • 78% of young people said that they had made new friends at YF provision.
  • 74% of young people said that they felt that they could come to a youth worker with advice with their problems.
  • 89% of young people said they felt safe and welcome at the youth club or adventure playground.                             

   The five words most commonly used to describe the clubs/adventure playgrounds:                                          

Fun    Welcoming    Safe     Friendly      Exciting                                      

Selected Quotes:                                       

"I really do love this place, it’s like my second home and makes me feel wanted"

"This site makes me feel welcome even when I am not in the right frame of mind."

"I've been coming to the adventure playground since I was 5. I'm now 14 and I still enjoy going on trips with the workers. It's a great place to make new friends."

"Excellent, kind, attentive staff. My kids love it here"

"This place helps the youth problem solve their differences."

Challenges for the future and means to address them

Despite our successes we always believe that there is more we can do and we want to particular address some key challenges that have impacted our delivery. These include:

  • infrastructure issues such as the ones that resulted in the temporary closure of two of our sites. This was particularly lengthy at Home Park and in the coming year we will work with Lewisham’s property services and our income generation team to try and avoid these sorts of closures.
  • a reduction in schools work will require a renewed effort to reconnect with schools and ensure that our offer dovetails with their needs and funds
  • staff capacity and retention challenges which have continued throughout. (See the workforce development/ HR section of the report for more information). These will need dealing with in the context of a reduced 
  • a number of critical incidents in the borough involved young people who attend our sites. We are grateful to our partners in the police, community safety, public health and especially CAMHS for the support they gave our staff in helping us react to these. We will continue to work with young people, the community and these key agencies to tackle issues including knife crime and incidents of youth violence and are looking into hosting knife surrender bins and providing workshops in schools and youth clubs in partnership with our partner the James Ross Hunter Foundation.
  • ICT has continued to be a challenge and whilst a service improvement plan managed by us alongside our ICT provider has seen some improvement there is much to do to ensure that this vital resource aids our activity ambitions.
  • We will set new ambitious output targets for 2019/20 and beyond. As Merv noted in his introduction such development will however be particularly challenging occurring against any reduced core contract with Lewisham and an associated period of transition for the organisation. At the time of writing this contract was still being negotiated although we remain confident that, although reduced, much of our delivery will survive and thrive. 

A key part of our transition to meet any new contracts is reviewing how we measure and report impact. A part of this will see us try to achieve the London Youth Silver and Gold Quality Mark as well as creating new impact based targets that will better allow us to ensure our delivery impacts as best as possible our users.  To support the latter we will also create an impact working group of the board.