Youth Work

To find all of our policies, please click the following link: Policies

Who We Are

Youth Programme Manager – Esta Mitchell
Youth Workers – Becky, Jasmine, Karl, Kate, Louise, Saidie and Tony
Maths Tutor – Tim Goodwin
English Tutor – Sharon Jeffrey

Collectively, we are the Youth Team based at the YMCA in Paignton. Our department consists of Youth Workers, English and Maths Tutors, a Coordinator and a Manager and together we work to support, nurture and encourage our young people (YP’s) to be the very best that they can be. Our skillset is a combination of youth work, psychology, mental health awareness, mentoring and education and we use these in a bespoke and person-centred approach to best support and guide each YP that is referred to us.

What We Do and How We Do It

Our youth programme is designed to be tailored to the specific needs of the YP, with the aim of re-integrating them back into their original school or an alternative educational establishment as a result of our intervention. Our dedicated youth team are trained in many aspects of youth work and are continually undertaking ‘Continuing Professional Development’ (CPD) training so that they are up to date with the latest and most effective evidence-based strategies and techniques that will best support their assigned YP. Examples of training undertaken are:

  • Safeguarding and Child Protection
  • Lead Attachment
  • The Law, Safeguarding and Sex
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Reducing Parental Conflict
  • Introduction to Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence.
  • Child Sexual Exploitation
  • County Lines
  • Female Genital Mutilation

Each YP, on commencing at the YMCA, will be given an SEMH (social and emotional mental health) statement to complete which is scored from 1-5. There are 14 statements in total and 3 questions. This gives the YP the opportunity to convey how they are feeling in their own words. The data is then extracted and processed, and this gives our youth team a clear idea of what the YP’s SEMH needs are and a plan can then be tailored from it. These SEMH surveys are repeated periodically, so that any progress or deterioration can be measured and appropriate action taken. In addition, any relevant requirements passed on to us by the local authority or school will be incorporated and therefore a holistic plan will be made with pathways and outcomes.

Once the needs of the YP are established, the assigned youth worker will collaboratively work with the YP to create a weekly activity plan, based around the identified needs and incorporating the interests of the YP. The aim is to address each area of need in a relaxed and informal manner and environment, giving the YP the best chance of personal development. Most sessions are on a 1:1 basis but we can also accommodate a 2:1 approach where necessary. As well as this, youth workers will strive to incorporate group work wherever possible, as this encourages peer support and social interaction.

By using a range of different approaches and environments with the YP’s we support, we can enable them to explore their feelings about themselves and how to understand the reasons behind their reactions to certain situations. We understand that when children feel safe and secure, they make better choices. By taking the time to build relationships with YP’s, we are helping them to feel listened to and valued, which in turn can boost their self-esteem and enable good decision making.

Our service offers a range of facilities, including:

  • A woodland area with log cabin for forest school activities
  • 2 well equipped kitchens for cooking and baking
  • An indoor sports hall
  • An outside basketball court
  • A garden for growing vegetables and flowers
  • Computers and laptops for more formal learning.
  • 2 minibuses for group trips
  • Lunch provided for those eligible for free school meals.

Being situated in such a lovely part of the country means that we also have a vast range of places on our doorstep that we utilise regularly, including:

  • Beaches
  • Parks
  • Headlands and moors
  • Various museums
  • Swimming pools
  • Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts, Bygones etc.

After each session, a daily report is written by the youth worker, based on the YP’s activity, behaviour, attainment and progress and any potential concerns the youth worker has relating to that YP and their wellbeing. The referring body receives a weekly progress report and a comprehensive end of term summary report with up to date SEMH data to measure outcomes and progress.

Our role is to support every YP that is referred to us, to the best of our ability, they will receive the most suitable package of SEMH support and/or Education, understanding that each is unique and comes with their own background story. As part of our responsibility to our YP’s, we regularly attend multi-agency meetings relating to their personal development and welfare and liaise with parents/carers accordingly.

Contact Us!

For further information on the services we offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the following methods:

TEL: 01803551578 EXT:204

EMAIL: esta.m@ymcasouthdevon.org.uk (Youth Programme Manager).