Author: lauren

October Half Term Holiday Schemes

We’ve been having a great time at our October half term scheme! We have been based at the Energize Youth Center in Birchwood this week and we’ve met some great young people. As we’ve been talking to them, some of them have mentioned that they wouldn’t be doing anything over their half-term if there were no schemes in their local area which makes us so joyful that we can facilitate activity days. Some of these young people would just be roaming the streets for something to do without schemes so it’s great we can give them a safe place to go and have fun.

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Energize Summer Schemes 2023 Highlights

Our Summer Holiday Schemes are finished and we had a great time!

We also ran three FREE Family Fun Days across the Summer, which were so successful and enjoyed by the local communities. Each Family Fun Day had many activities for people to get involved with from sports, to inflatables, giant bubble workshops, food and drink catering vans and much more.

We worked over 5 estates (Moorland, Birchwood, Monks Road, Ermine & St Giles), and each week was incredible. We also did a lot of trips over summer, and took so many young people on trips they don’t usually get to go on, including: Mablethorpe Beach, Drayton Manor Theme Park, Jump Inc Trampoline Park and Playzone Soft Play Centre.

The families who came to these were so grateful and we often heard sentences like “I can’t believe you guys do this for free! That’s so good!… We wouldn’t get to do much in summer as a family at all if we didn’t come to this.”

Our mornings generally looked like the HAF (Holiday Activities & Food) Programme, where we would teach the children something about healthy food and get them to try some different fruit or vegetable which they probably hadn’t eaten before. The HAF programme is specifically for children who are on Free School Meals during term time, which meant this helped the families who were struggling with the cost of living crisis during the holidays, as well as encouraging the children to get involved in their local youth work activities.

The afternoons were then filled with activities which would vary from either a local trip, or an afternoon of workshops, multi-sports, games and crafts in the same location which we had previously led the morning HAF programme.

Each day was filled with excitement and joy as we all got to know each other better and the young people got to meet other young people.

One really positive testimonial story, was of a young girl who said “I really love Energize! Can you guys do this everyday because this would be so good for me and my friends to come to!” We love hearing stories and testimonials like this, as it fills our hearts with joy and spurs us onto keep going, as we look to the future.

Our plans have already started for next Summers Holiday Schemes, and we can’t wait!

Energize May Half Term

In two weeks’ time, we will be starting our May Half-Term Holiday Schemes!

For this Holiday Scheme, we will be working with the Young people on the St Giles estate. Throughout the week, we will be doing various activities including sports, crafts, indoor and outdoor group games, as well as a trip to the YMCA showroom for a climbing session and a time of sports.

As a team, we love that we get the honour and privilege to come alongside young people from all walks of life and encourage them. We believe that all people should know that they can live life in all of its fullness; and that it can be filled with joy, laughter, fun, and hope for their future.

Our engagement with young people allows us to be the positive role models which we believe young people need. As we play games and go rock climbing together, we also engage in meaningful conversations about how life is for them.

In a world, where so many conflicting voices are wanting to be heard, it can be hard for young people to grow to understand themselves, at the same time as trying to understand the world around them. Young people need consistent and reliable role models, who are able to guide them through, what we believe to be the most pivotal stage of their lives. This is the stage where so many things can often change, and move quickly, that it can feel hard to keep up. These things range from friendships, family relationships, future aspirations, peer pressure, social media, etc. All these things can often feel overwhelming to anyone of any age, but for a teenager who hasn’t completely understood themselves yet, this can feel harder than it should. This is the time and space where we come in to be the light and encouragement to young people. We want to remind them, that they are worth so much more than their background, past or present circumstances, and that they are incredible people.

We are excited about a great half-term!

Energize at PGL

On a recent weekend, myself and two members of the Energize Team took sixteen young people to PGL. PGL is an outdoor education centre which inlcudes activities and apparatus like climibing walls, zip lines, problem solving courses, archery, fencing, and many more.

Almost all young people didn’t know eachother prior to the weekend, or at least new one other young person. This was because they were all from different estates and environments across Lincoln, which has meant that their paths hadn’t crossed much before.

Over the weekend all the young people became really close. They developed great foundational friendships, so much so that they made group chats to talk on after the weekend so they could stay connected and made nicknames for eachother.

Another example of how they realtionships were built here, was that during the outdoor challanges, which often included conquering a lot of fears like heights, all young people were constantly encouarging eachother. This meant that if ever any of them felt they could complete the challange or obstacle, all of the others cheered them on and encouarged them to keep going.

It was clear that they wanted to be close; and through that desire, they made a small family away from their own biological families. What was incredible about this was that it was so natrual and organic.

We can’t wait to take them to the venue again for some more fun filled activities!

What impact does detached youth work have?

Youth work can be interesting sometimes because we can often think that ‘surely if we put out some games and snacks, young people will almost certainly attend and join in with the activities we put on’, but this doesn’t happen as much as we’d hope it would.

Read more.

I remember being a teenager, and every week I and my youth group would go to the local park, hand out hot chocolates and play football with the other teenagers there. A few of those young people then asked questions about what we were doing and why we were doing it, and one or two of them came to our church youth group after a while, but a lot of them didn’t. I think a lot of them found security in being outside, in an open space, that was free and accessible to everyone. Sometimes walking into a closed space, which isn’t as open to the public as a park is, can feel intimidating or awkward.

At Energize we recognise this, and so around the school holidays we will sometimes do some detached work, which means we go to local parks, and hangout places where young people tend to gather, get to know them and speak to them about what we do and how we would love to see them at our activities. As we go into their spaces, we take the reins and responsibility of potentially feeling like the vulnerable ones. But in doing so, we have often started new connections with young people or strengthened old ones, whilst playing football or riding in the skatepark.

Studies and statistics from across the country including youth groups and local councils have found that detached youth work is one of the most effective ways to reach young people where they are at. The Centre for Youth Impact, based in London, conducted a study in their study of eight youth work settings around England (though both detached work and youth clubs). They found that young people started to really value youth workers, as they felt they were understanding, non-judgemental and safe people to speak to who weren’t parents or teachers.

We have planned to include detached youth work in all of our holiday schemes throughout the year, as we recognise that young people need people who will reach out to them, wherever they are; whilst also be invited to a place where they know will be safe, where they can have fun, and where they can meet new people their age, and positive role models.

If you would like to or know a young person who would like to sign up for our Easter Holiday Scheme Programme, please use the links below:

https://bit.ly/EnergizeParentConsentForm

bit.ly/EnergizeEasterSchemes

An interview with an Energize Young Person

We caught up with one of our Energize young people from our Waddington Youth Club to hear about how she is finding the youth club.

What is your favourite thing about Energize? 

Everything.

Does coming to Energize have a positive impact on your life?

Scored: 4/5

Can you give an example of how Energize has made a positive impact on your life (if any at all)?

It has made me happy to come and see friends every week.

Has Energize helped you in any way (physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally etc) over the past year of the pandemic?

Scored: 4/5

Can you give an example of how Energize has helped you over the past year? Expand on your previous answer.

It has helped me feel more confident and have fun.

It is great to hear about young people being impacted by youth work in the city. To hear of young people enjoying our youth clubs because they are building friendships as well as building their confidence is so encouraging. Above is a picture from Waddington Youth Club of some young people playing sports. Often when young people come to us, they are shy and won’t want to engage much with the activities. Here we can see that they are having a great time playing sports and building friendships.

How can people get involved or support?

We’re always looking for people to volunteer with us (Get in touch for more info about this).

Our New Peer Mentoring Course

As a team, we recently made a new, twelve-week course as part of our schools-work projects. The course is called ‘Peer Mentoring.’ Our aim and hope is to empower and equip older pupils, from year 12-13, with the tools and experience to mentor younger pupils in their school.

The first six weeks focus on different areas of mentoring. These include, ‘good help, seeing the best in others, being yourself, empathy, healthy thinking, skillful thinking and getting started.’ The following six weeks will be when the pupils are paired with younger pupils and, as a team, we will meet with the peer mentors to discuss how their mentoring sessions are going.

We are currently rolling out a trial of the course in a secondary school at the moment. This will enable us to reflect, adapt, and improve the course, and start it again for the next group of students. Our first week was really successful! We were able to build great foundational relationships with the pupils, which we hope will enable us to teach them well.

Research has found that peer mentoring has high success rates, as student mentees are said to connect more with mentors when they’re closer in age as they feel that can relate to them more than an adult or teacher. To reinforce this, we have gathered the perspectives of teachers, qualified counsellors, and therapists. The conclusion from the discussions we had was that they believe peer mentoring will have many positive outcomes and is worth the investment.

We are excited about the starting of this course and are believing for it to connect well with the peer-mentors, and as an overflow effect, their pupils will benefit from strong mentoring sessions.

Click here to find out more information on our Energize Project.

How can being in a community benefit me?

By Lauren Johnson – Energize Activity Youth Worker

“Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

Over the past year, communities across Lincoln, the nation, and the nations have come together like nothing I’ve ever seen before. From doorstop and garden visits in the freezing cold, for a ten-minute chat about the week, to making meals as an act of compassion to those who have lost loved ones. This year communities everywhere have stepped up their game to love each other. I find it inspiring.

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