Regional Project Officer Update – February 2018

It’s a bit late…but Happy New Year!

So, it’s bit later than I’d planned but the first few weeks of 2018 have been busy…but, Happy New Year from everyone at YHNE! Lots has been happening since the first days of January. We’ve been moving along nicely with our NPS Project, with sessions taking place in Darlington, North Shields, Whitley Bay and Newcastle…so thanks to all the young people and staff that have made them possible! ?

Something which I didn’t mention in the last blog is the work that we’ve been doing to improve and update our website and develop a new app to go alongside it. Now, for an organisation consisting of a staff team of 5 people, I think our website is great and the credit has to go to our Comms/Admin lead, Arron Williamson, for this…but, we all agree that we want to improve the information, advice and guidance that’s available for young people.

Since the New Year started, Arron and I have been working hard to get a team together to get this sorted and we’re pleased with how things have been going so far. We’ve got Neil Wilkinson, an app developer from Grid in Newcastle, working with us and we’re also happy to have the help and support from the Open Lab project at Newcastle University plus support from some colleagues at Sage… all of this help is not costing us a penny either, so it just makes all their effort and support that little bit more appreciated!

I’d also like to say thanks to one of our young people from North Tyneside who came along to our first working group meeting in January – I’ll not name names here, but you know who you are and how much appreciated it was (although I’m sure the array of pastries on offer softened the blow of having to sit with us for an hour and a half!)

We’re really keen to make sure that the new website/app meets the needs of young people from across the region so, as is our way at YHNE, we’re going to be looking to get young people involved in helping us in its design and development…we’ll also be in touch with groups around the region about taking part in some joint consultation sessions between ourselves and Open Lab, so watch this space!

Help Wanted!

Another area that we’re really looking to push on with this year is recruiting new volunteers – as mentioned before, we’re a small team but we’ve got big ideas and we could really do with some help in achieving them! We’re particularly keen to hear from young people, aged 14-25, who would be interested in help us shape and develop the work that we do

As well as helping us out with the development of the website/app, we (or, to be more specific, me!) are also looking for help with the direct work with young people… basically, any skills that you have, that you think we could benefit from, then get in touch!

Out and About…

So, as you all know, we are often asked to speak at different events and this past month has been no different.

I was asked to speak at Northumbria University, to students studying social sciences at foundation degree level – this was to focus on the employability of having a social sciences degree. As a sociology graduate from Northumbria myself, I was able to speak from personal experience and it was a pleasure to speak to the next generation of social scientists – I was also contacted by one of the students following the session who wants to volunteer with us here at YHNE – so, all in all, a great session! Thanks to those who organised the it!

I was also asked to speak at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Durham at Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham. This was organised by David Jackson, one of our board of trustees and a rotary club member. I was able to speak about the work that we do and highlight the issues of youth homelessness in the North East. The welcome was fantastic, and it also included lunch – so, again, a fantastic opportunity to help spread the word about the work that we do at YHNE…and for those who know me, the added bonus of lunch was the icing on the cake! Special thanks have to go to Edward Kear, President, for the warm welcome.

Finally, we were contacted by Gavurin, a data management company based in Wallsend. They were holding a Valentine’s raffle and had chosen YHNE as the charity to donate the proceeds to (a fine choice, I’m sure you’ll agree!). I went along on the big day itself (that’s Valentine’s Day, if you hadn’t guessed!) and met with Maddie and Lesley…it was great to meet them and gave me a chance to give them an update on our work at YHNE. Hopefully, we’ll be working more closely in the future and an invitation has been extended to them to visit us here at YHNE in the near future.

We received £120 in total, so our thanks go to everyone who bought a ticket and to Gavurin for the kind donation ?

As with my first blog post, I could go on and on and on…but I won’t and shall leave things there for this month…thanks for reading and please get in touch if you want any more info or you want to get involved in any of our projects!

Cheers!

David

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