Christian project reaches youth on the streets
Norwich Christian youth project ENYP has found that 'detached' youth work and 'pop up' clubs are an effective way of reaching the young people who do not readily come to organised youth groups.
While the vast majority of ENYP’s youth work takes place in church halls, schools, and community buildings we are also committed to reaching out to young people through detached youth work. Youth clubs inside a building help to provide a safe and welcoming environment for young people to come and interact with their peers. However these environments also have the expectation that young people will come to in, and ENYP workers know they cannot always expect this to happen.
Danny Doran-Smith, ENYP Director, says “our detached youth work allows youth workers to go to young people where they are, whether this is a street corner, a local park, at the shops or at the school gate - this reverses the model of expecting them to come to us. Detached youth work is a versatile and non-threatening means of engagement and our youth workers are able to be flexible and responsive to the young people they meet”.
ENYP’s detached youth work enables them to have face to face contact with hundreds of young people, and this project currently runs in six communities across the Norwich and Norfolk area.
The success of the detached youth work has been readily seen, and during the summer 2015 holiday period over 400 young people were engaged with during the 6 week period. The areas covered included Catton Grove, Heartsease, Earlham, Marlpit, Lakenham and Tuckswood and Norwich City Centre. Youth workers were able to engage with young people in the areas where they congregated, for example, parks, open spaces, local shops/retail centres. As well as engaging with young people ENYP used these opportunities to get a sense of the different areas and used questionnaires to help understand the needs of the different communities, what young people think of their area (e.g. whether they felt safe), what activities they undertake in their spare time, and what activities they’d like to see. Responses from these needs assessments enable ENYP to be able to respond to meet community needs, and to also adapt and change the activities accordingly to ensure they are fresh and relevant.
In the future ENYP has plans to expand the detached youth work programme of delivery as this has proven to be an effective way to engage with young people where they are at, rather than expecting a young person to come to a building. Some opportunities include creating a ‘pop up’ youth club, creating a focal space for young people in their local area. Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, and the local council are supportive of this, as it helps to ensure support is available to young people in their own community.
Detached youth work, and ‘pop up’ youth clubs provide a visible presence in communities and ways for young people to interact, build relationships with responsible adults, and learn where to access support.
For more information on ENYP please visit: www.enyp.org.uk or contact firstname.lastname@example.org