‘Delight’ as community project for young people in Mid Sussex to be funded for another year

Positive Placements is to be funded by the council for another year
Positive Placements is to be funded by the council for another year

Local community project Positive Placements, a mentoring scheme led by the YMCA DLG, has recently got the news that it is to be funded by Mid Sussex District Council for another year.

The project has been running for three years in Mid Sussex and will now be here till March 2020.

The team are delighted as it was touch and go in this climate as to whether it would be considered again with all the cuts to services happening across the district.

We feel we are now more than ever providing a vital service to young people in Mid Sussex as they often have no other services to go to and certainly less and less youth clubs and outreach support.

Volunteer mentors are recruited and trained to provide unique support by meeting face-to-face with a vulnerable young person (16-25 years) once a week for up to a year.

Together they identify and work towards achieving the young person’s goals, so they can look for, find and sustain education, employment or training.

It enables the mentee to increase their confidence, overcome barriers, gain new experiences, e.g. volunteering, work experience, develop an understanding of and build their responsibility to their community, develop interpersonal skills, build work related skills, e.g. time-keeping and feel valued.

Some feedback from mentees includes: “Ever since meeting my positive placements mentor, it has given me an outlook on life I thought I couldn’t achieve.

“Positive Placements hasn’t just helped me with work, but has also given me happiness, someone to talk to every week, meaning to life and so much more.”

More than 70 per cent of young people referred have been NEET (not in education, employment or training) for six months or longer.

They have often experienced trauma such as abuse or neglect, which can create barriers affecting their integration into society.

They might be at risk of homelessness, living in supported housing, suffer from anxiety or emotional health problems, be a young parent, take alcohol/drugs that are affecting their work life, been in trouble with the police, have experienced sexual exploitation, left school early with few or no qualifications, have been looked after.

This mentoring service supports disenfranchised young people to reconnect with their community, feel valued and worthwhile.

It offers them hope and direction to a more positive future, which benefits and enriches the local community.

We have an incredible team of volunteers in Mid Sussex who give up their time to support these local young people and we could not carry on without them.

Positive Placements are recruiting volunteers who have 1-2 hours spare per week and can commit to mentoring a young person for at least six months.

Volunteers receive full training and ongoing support, and all will undergo a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check that is paid for by the project.

No specific experience is required but patience, a sense of humour, and a passion to support a young person to make positive choices in their life are common traits among mentors.

The project is also looking for local businesses able to offer work experience, apprenticeships or employment opportunities to young people.

Young people can self-refer, have a parent or guardian refer them or come from another agency or charity.

Email positiveplacements@ymcadlg.org

Report by Kate Coppock, community and volunteer engagement co-ordinator, YMCA Downslink Group