Regional Project Officer Update – March 2018

It’s the end of March and nearly April…how did that happen?! 2018 is already (nearly) 4 months old which has absolutely flown by and a lot has happened here at YHNE… it was also the month that my youngest son had his first birthday…Happy Birthday George! Anyway, intro done, birthdays wishes wished so let’s crack on with this month’s blog then, eh?! 

YP Sessions 

Here at YHNE, we very much want young people to guide what we do and tell us what’s important to them. As most of you will (hopefully) know, I’ve been working on getting an awareness raising session together around New Psychoactive Substances (NPS…Former ‘Legal Highs). A real challenge that I face in my role is getting around to visit projects and young people…so, as a team, we decided to invite some young people to visit us at MEA House in Newcastle on 26th February! The aim of this session was to get some ideas about what activities and resources we would use for the NPS sessions…however, it also included having fun, meeting new people, find out what’s going at YHNE and…most importantly…eating pizza!


We had 7 young people attend from Newcastle, Sunderland and North Tyneside. We also had two volunteers, Thomas and Lizzie, from Newcastle University’s Street Law Project (more about them later…) and Kieran Cutting from the Open Lab project at Newcastle University (more about him later too…), who helped us out with the session.

It was a really great session, where we got loads of useful ideas and resources for our NPS awareness raising session – we’re hoping to make these sessions a monthly event and have planned the next on for Wednesday 4th April, 5-7pm, MEA House, Newcastle. This session is being facilitated by our colleagues from Roots and Wings (More on them to come, too…) and will hopefully help us come up with some ideas around new branding and a new identity for us here at YHNE.

I’m also hoping to get something similar started in the South of the region – around the Tees Valley area – so please watch this space for future updates and events ?

Thanks to everyone who came and look forward to seeing you all again on 4th April!

Helping us out at YHNE…

In my last blog, I wrote about the need for volunteers here at YHNE – we have grand plans for helping to support young homeless people in the North East, but we’re a small team and time is limited…we’ve been busy recruiting and have a band of intrepid volunteers giving us their time and skills so I thought I’d give them some publicity and a digital ‘High Five’ in this month’s blog…here goes….

First, Street LawThe street law project at Newcastle University helps to raise awareness and educate young people about the law, rights and the legal system. Law students are trained up to work with young people around this subject in group settings and we’re very lucky to have their support…starting with the NPS Project, we’re also hoping to work with them to ensure that young homeless people in the North East are aware of their legal rights and responsibilities around housing…as our aim says, ‘Every Young Person has the Right to a Home’.

Next, we have Kieran Cutting from the Open Lab at Newcastle University. Kieran is supporting us to develop our website and looking at ideas as to how young people can use technology to make their lives better. Kieran is a postgraduate research student and will hopefully be working with us for the foreseeable future…it’s great to have him on board and he’s also going to be coming out and about with me to meet young people, so keep an eye out for him!

We are also really pleased to have Neil Wilkinson from GRIDwho is helping us build our website – there is also Daisy, Livia and Lucas, students from Newcastle and Northumbria, who are also helping us build content for the website which will hopefully provide a place for young people to go for advice, guidance and signposting if they need it.

Last, but certainly not least, we have Roots and Wings. They’re a local creative design agency who specialise in multimedia design and consultancy. They have very kindly agreed to help us work on a new brand and identity –  They have worked with many local charities and it’s a real coup for us to have them on board. Check out some of their work at

Finally, and I think I might have said this in my last blog too, we’re also really keen for young people to help us out too – if you’re aged 14-25, or know someone who is, and want to make a difference to lives of young homeless people in the North East, then please get in touch…we’d love to hear from you ?

Homelessness Reduction Act…

April sees the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act in England. This piece of legislation will place an emphasis on preventing people becoming homeless and ensuring that everybody has a place to call home – more info on the HRA can be found here.

I was really pleased to be asked to attend an HRA Strategy Day in Hartlepool in early March, where I was able to speak about Youth Homelessness and give YHNE’s thoughts and ideas in developing a new homelessness strategy in Hartlepool – thank you very much to Lynda Igoe, Principal Housing Advice Officer for Hartlepool Borough Council, for the invite.

And Finally

As part of the work with Kieran and Open Lab, we are trying to look at ways that we can keep contact with young people about our work but also give them a platform to share ideas and thoughts with each other. As a pilot, we have set up a secret YHNE Facebook group to see how young people will use a group and see what use it will be.

We’re going to run it for 4 weeks initially, from 9th April until 4th May – we’ll be contacting some projects and young people soon to see if they would be interested…just get in touch with me or Arron Williamson ( if you want to know more!

Anyway, as usual, I feel like I’ve left loads out but please keep a check on our social media platforms and website for more news and updates. You can also contact if you’d like to be added to our newsletter distribution list which contains updates from YHNE and news/information about youth homelessness.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s blog and I hope everyone has a great Easter and gets to spend some well deserved time off over the Bank Holiday…



P.s. There has been a bit of discussion in the office recently about a new name for this blog…there was a very helpful suggestion from Vicky, our fundraiser/admin worker, to call the blog ‘Where’s Whalley?’…now, I’m not a pedantic person and do love a pun…however, I would just like to let everyone know that my name is not pronounced ‘Wally’ its more like ‘Wall-e’, the loveable Disney robot. I know it makes me sound bitter and twisted but I’m not, honest!

Anyway, hope you have enjoyed this month’s blog and I hope you’re looking forward to the next instalment of ‘Where’s Whalley?’…… 


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