Bar ‘n’ Bus Youth Work seeks to engage and support young people in multiple contexts – e.g. in school, on the streets, in a structured programme. We want young people to know that each area of their life is important and offer easy access to support when and where they need it. In practice this means that a young people may meet workers on detached youth work session who needs additional support and arrangements can be made for them to link with a Bar ‘n’ Bus mentor within their school or catch up with a worker during a lunchtime session. In this way we can ‘hold’ young people at different stages of their lives, responding to the changes in their needs.
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Community Youth Work
The heart of our mission is to engage young people in the location of their choosing.
Our Community Youth Work teams research and explore areas in which young people are choosing to gather and then provide welcoming, inclusive and young people-led programmes, exactly where young people want them to be. This means projects could be in parks, high streets or car parks; as long as the team can get there, and the young people are involved.
We have a range of programmes currently running which include:
– Detached Youth Work Sessions: youth workers go out ‘on foot’ and engage young people gathering in local parks, high streets and teen shelters providing positive conversations and activities as required by young people. Through this work, team members can offer advice and support, help young people explore their options for the future, inspire and support young people involved in risky behaviour, help young people explore their place in their community and empower them to be involved in the development of more services or activities for their age group.
– Mobile Unit Outreach: using Essex Youth Service’s Mobile Youth Bus, teams provide a hot drink, a listening ear and activities in local car parks. Young people can drop in for a drink and cake, stay for a chat and get involved with different available activities depending on what’s available on the night!
– Football Cage Sessions: our pop-up football cage provides a fun, healthy and engaging activity which is very popular with young people. The cage is built on site by the team and allows one-on-one or two-on-two games of football in a contained space. There are no throw-ins and not goalies, just a frantic use of skills, walls and trickshots as players try to sneak a goal past the opposition. We find that as many young people engage with workers outside the cage as those who get involved in playing and these sessions can allow for fantastic conversations and give young people more access to support in their local area.
Community Youth Work Teams include Bar ‘n’ Bus staff as well as trained teams of volunteers – largely from local churches. Sessions can also be run in partnership with other organisations in order to provide more opportunities for young people.
Bar ‘n’ Bus works closely with local schools in the areas in which we deliver our community youth work.
Young people spend a huge amount of their time in schools. For many this can be both a positive and negative experience and there is increasing pressure on schools to provide more services and support for young people in addition to formal education targets, sometimes with very limited resources. Our schools support work seeks to offer engagements which can help to enhance young people school experience and enable schools to provide young people with more support.
In-School Mentoring – Bar ‘n’ Bus trains volunteers from the local community and links them with young people in a local school, providing a weekly 1-2-1 meeting where a young person has someone to listen to them and offer advice and support.
For many young people positive relationships make huge impact on the issues they face today, and all our work seeks to build transformational relationships. Mentoring a young person is a powerful way to see change happen. This method has been proven to be highly effective in supporting young people choose to:
– Improve behaviours, self-esteem & life skills.
– Stay in school and succeed in education.
– Improve relationships with family, peers, teachers and others in their community.
– Set goals for the future and work hard to achieve them
Alongside our mentoring programme, we also provide lunchtime detached youth work sessions with workers engaging with young people in playgrounds and canteens during breaktimes. These sessions are incredibly informal in nature and offer young people with another access point to youth workers, many of whom will be known from work within the community. This positive presence during breaktimes can help young people to feel more valued and engaged at school and can also reduce bullying, anti-social behaviour, truancy and isolation.
Group Work Programmes
Group work programmes engage a specific group young people with a structure programme of work to aid and support young people’s development.
Bar ‘n’ Bus youth worker deliver a range of bespoke group work programmes for local young people. These could be in school, alternative education providers or simply within the local community. Young people accessing programmes could be referred/invited if they could particularly benefit, but many times programmes are developed with young people already engaging with our work who need something specific to help them in their lives.
- Examples of group work programmes include:
- Lifeskills Course – e.g. cooking, budgeting
- Mental Health Support
- Confidence Development
- Exploring respect, rights and responsibilities
- Re-engagement in Education, or Reducing Risk of Exclusion
- Skills Development – e.g. bike maintenance/riding, arts programmes