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IMPACT REPORT
MARCH 2022 - MAY 2023

- Welcome -

Youth Connect South West is an independent charity supporting young people through our programmes in Bath and North East Somerset and beyond. We provide both universal and targeted support for young people aged 11 - 25. Our range of services including youth work, 1:1 targeted support, post-16 education provision and careers advice and guidance. We operate from various locations across B&NES and Somerset as well as from Southside Youth and Community Centre. We have added 2 additional buildings in the last year to further increase our accessibility to young people – Radstock Youth Hub and the City Centre Youth Space.

2022 - 2023 USER SURVEY

93% of young people who answered the question “how would you rate the programme/support you are involved in?” answered brilliant or good.

A total of 1815 young
people were offered
support, either through
referral, attending a
programme/activity or
being called to see how
their post-16 education

94% young people feel YCSW
they are treated with respect by their worker

83% says youth
connect has made
a difference by
providing someone
to talk to

83% says youth
connect has made
a difference by
providing someone
to talk to

User survey
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CHAIR'S REPORT 2022-2023

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Rev. Adam Pitt
Chair of Trustees

Chair's report

This year has been my first as chair of Trustees for Youth Connect South West, and it has been one of transition, from dealing with the impacts of traumatic global events to dealing with tragic local events.


YCSW has successfully navigated Covid, lockdown and the transition into new working practices that this has brought, whilst still maintaining rapid growth in both our youth work provision and our education partnerships. We have now turned our attention to the challenges this growth has posed to our organisation.


Our internal infrastructure has needed to be expanded and reformed to deal with our increased size and turnover. This has also involved an increase to the number of trustees and the recruitment of new skills and expertise onto our board. This development will help us better support the organisation and management staff, the shaping of a new strategic plan and redevelopment of the organisational plan that will allow further growth in the coming years.

 

Alongside this growth and consolidation, we have also had to face the impact of several fatal knife attacks amongst the population of young people we serve. These have each occurred in different circumstances and affected us in different ways, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff for their incredible dedication,
commitment and compassion that they have shown in the face of these tragic events.


This year, as with those before, we have seen many joys and triumphs, but it has undoubtedly been hard. What I believe it has shown however, is the urgent need of continued provision for young people, as well as the outstanding ability of the Youth Connect staff and management team to rise and meet these needs.


I hope that this coming year is one that sees YCSW continue to mature and to step into a leading role, modelling young people’s services and provision for the future.

CEO'S REPORT 2022-2023

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Tracey Pike
CEO

CEO report

What an amazing year with some great highs throughout the organisation. Sadly though, there have also been some dreadful lows which have affected the community in which we work.

 

Youth Connect South West (YCSW) as a charity continues to grow and thrive which is exciting and at times a little daunting! the requests for support for young people grow daily, as the needs grow. The challenges that we all face at times seem overwhelming and young people face these same challenges. Worries over exams, education and employment, mental health, and anxiety, dealing with social media, peer pressure and uncertainty in the world regarding COVID, climate change and the financial crisis means greater social inequality impacting on family life: these are all issues that young people talk to staff about every day.


The need for our programmes continues to grow and this means they have all
increased in size; the facts, figures and case studies that you will see in this report illustrates the breadth of the work undertaken.


Key for me this year has been the need to further develop the infrastructure of the organisation, so that we are able to ensure staff receive the support they need to do the brilliant but demanding jobs that they are doing.

 

The new 5-year Strategic Plan was drawn together with staff, managers and trustees and, to help us deliver this plan, business objectives were identified and continue to be implemented.


A highlight of the year was being recognised as Bath and North East Somerset’s
Charity of the Year.We are also a holder of the Good Charter Employer and Disability Confident Employer accreditations as we strive to ensure we act as a responsible and caring employer.


Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families who have been affected by the recent tragedies of several young people. I would personally like to thank the staff who acted with professionalism and compassion at this time.


I hope you enjoy reading this report as much as I have, it’s humbling to hear about all the wonderful stories and the difference we make. I would like to say a
massive thank you to the trustees, staff and volunteers that make the work happen and of course to all our amazing funders, your money makes change for the better and we couldn’t do it without you.

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TARGETED SUPPORT & EMPLOYABILITY

Targeted

This year has been as busy as always for the Targeted Support and Employability
team:

  • Engagement workers supported 184 young people to identify their goals, create an

  • action plan and work to overcome their barriers

  • 31 young people were given shorter term advice and guidance to get back on track

  • We opened Bath City centre drop in for young people who were not in education,

  • employment or training or who needed additional support

  • 97% of young people who accessed targeted support rated it as brilliant or good

M's story

M struggled with regulating her emotions and could often get worked up/angry
in school and outside of school. M also struggled with her mental health and
would often feel low and anxious. She had poor self-esteem, and her school
attendance was extremely low. She would often not come into school and when
she did, she would often skip lessons.


We supported M by providing a safe space to offload and discuss stressors in
daily life. We supported her with healthy relationships (friendships) issues, anger
management, mental health and distractions and Self-esteem.

 

M is now a lot more settled and has a more stable group of friends within school.
She is able to recognise her emotions and discuss them. Her mental health is
improved and she is now engaging in support from the school counsellor. M is
more confident in herself and is able to recognise that social media isn’t always
‘real’. Her attendance at school is a lot better. She attends most days and does
not skip lessons as often and she is motivated to gain her GCSE’s this year.


M said the support has “improved my state of mind” and was useful as I had the
space to “get my feelings out and get advice on certain situations”.

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YOUTH WORK

Yout Work

Our Open Access Youth provision has grown over the last year to include new geographical areas, new activities and new opportunities for young people to meet their friends, learn new skills and have fun in an informal setting. Our youth work team engage with young people in a variety of ways including regular weekly sessions in youth hubs and community venues, on the streets in detached and outreach sessions as well as taking the mobile youth hub out to villages and rural locations.

 

Here is a flavour of what the team have been up to over the last year!

Southside

  • The Dungeons and Dragons games group is an exciting new development at Southside Youth Hub. The group is popular with young people wanting to play this exciting role play game. The group is loud and lively as young people on a weekly basis battle as a team taking on the challenges presented to them by the Dungeon Master. (the photos of this are rubbish and stretched!)

  • Funding from The West of England Sport Trust (Wesport) has enabled the development of a young men’s football group and a project based Young Women’s group. The young women have been engaged with Boxercise training which has helped them gain confidence, fitness and improved social relationships. 10 young people and staff also got to watch Bath Rugby play Exeter Chiefs as part of the same funding.

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BATH ESCAPE

Bath Escape

This year we have started an exciting new partnership with Bathscape to enable 40 young people to be active in their local landscape and the natural heritage of Bath. Activities have been run during the school holidays reaching out especially to young people in the Foxhill, Snowhill, Twerton and Whiteway areas of Bath. Activities have included – kayaking along the river, bushcraft, bat walks and nature inspired art.

Comments from young people

I really enjoyed kayaking and would love to come again!

I liked that I could come with my friends

 I enjoyed it, I want to cook more things

Kayaking was great 😊