Ralph Berry, new worker at Youth Giving Time Project, writes about his first few weeks on the job.
Ralph Berry recently started as the Support Worker on Youth Giving Time, part of the Big Lottery-funded Giving Time project. It’s now been a few weeks since I started, working with young people who are at risk who have a conviction. I have been warmly welcomed back to working in Leeds and am now looking forward to developing Youth Giving Time over the coming months.
I have a background in working with children and families and in Criminal Justice having worked in the Probation service for 15 years. I’m a Dad of three children; with two teenage daughters and have worked with children and families, as well as being involved in Voluntary Youth Work myself. I am impressed at the buzz around Volunteering and the commitment to help bring about change in the lives of young people in Leeds. There is a wide range of work going on in community organisations with a range of creative and innovative projects that aim to get volunteering opportunities that meet the needs of Young People at risk or who have a criminal record, including those who are in Young Offender Institutions or are on licence / supervision.
Youth Giving Time got going recently with the #volunteerselfie campaign and is now expanding the range of opportunities and support available, including some really interesting projects in the Countryside. We know the difference this can make to young people in Leeds, their families and the community in reducing crime and offending. Research shows this approach is very effective. We have a wide range of organisations who can offer placements working with us and get advice and support too; it’s now a key part of the support we at VAL give to the Volunteering Offer in the City.
I have had discussions with colleagues at Leeds GATE and Youth Point at the Cardigan Centre and am looking forward to meeting Hyde Park Source and other groups over the coming weeks. The key to this project is a partnership between Giving Time, young people and the projects that can benefit from the volunteering placement. Young people involved say that they feel much more included, far better about themselves and much more confident in finding work. Giving Time has enabled 667 people with convictions to get intensive volunteering support and advice; we can now develop more opportunities for Young People in Leeds.
I am keen to meet people and get out there to see projects which can work to help deliver this change with young people. If you think your project can work with Youth Giving Time in creating opportunities for Young People I’d really welcome a call, on 297 7920.