Didcot TRAIN Youth Project


Today marks a sad day as we say goodbye to Alice! Having been with TRAIN for the past 4 years, it really won’t be the same without her.

Coming into the charity as the only Youth Worker, she has gone above and beyond to build it up to the team of 6 we are today, to whom she has been a wonderful leader as Director of Youth Work Services. Whilst doing so, she has never failed to always put the young people first. From designing numerous holiday programmes to the mammoth planning involved in the France residentials, alongside expanding our regular programme of mentoring and detached work, she has created countless opportunities to inspire and empower Didcot’s young people. We can’t thank her enough for her dedication.

You will be greatly missed not only by us, but by Didcot as a whole! Although we are very sad to lose her, we wish her the all best in her new role at Ark T where we know she is going to inspire many many more 🌟

Alice leaving


We hope you are keeping well considering things at the moment. With the increasingly stringent government guidelines, TRAIN’s Trustees came to the decision last week to pause all face to face aspects of our delivery for the time being, abiding by their duty of care to staff and the young people TRAIN supports.

In order to ensure staff can continue to reach out to young people and vice versa, for now we have made the switch to running all provision virtually - please see our current programme below. It is obviously a learning process adjusting to this online format, but we were really pleased by the engagement we came to have across the week.

Staff largely focused on checking in with young people, considering the huge change in lifestyle each are facing. Over the week many conversations were held with young people and a range of tools experimented with, from games to group chats, to explore what engagement methods and activities are of most interest to them. Live social media videos proved to be particularly great for running a number of activities including:

  • Joining in on the colourful message being spread nationally using rainbow drawings – young people joined Charlotte drawing their own to display in their windows as a sign of hope
  • Treasure Hunt – a number had a great time running round their homes excitedly searching for the 10 items given to them to find by Lisa and Charlotte
  • Clap for the NHS – many joined Charlotte for the hugely worthy clap the country carried out for the NHS last Wednesday
  • Daily Plan tutorial – young people were shown how to plan their days in a creative and fun way, empowering them to take a positive approach throughout this period and instead embrace it as a time for personal growth.

Daily Plan Charlotte

Digital platforms also have their benefit in enabling Justina to continue one to one mentoring sessions with a number of the young people she has been working with at UTC. We hope to take up a number more for sessions over the coming few weeks also.

We look forward to the coming week to plan more bits and pieces for the young people to look forward to.

If you have any questions about what we will be offering online for the week ahead, please do get in touch. Otherwise, thank you as ever for your support. It has been so brilliant to see the sense of community that has grown throughout this period so far, from all working to bring out the positive in the negative!

Take care,

The TRAIN Team

Timetable 26.03


TRAIN’s Trustees are taking the coronavirus outbreak very seriously. Intending to maintain delivery as much as possible, we must also abide by our duty of care to our employees and the young people TRAIN supports.
Considering the updated government guidelines, the decision has been made to pause all TRAIN’s face to face delivery for the time being. All provision will instead be run virtually, including former group sessions and also with added new opportunities - please see our renewed timetable below. This will ensure staff can continue to reach out to young people and vice versa in this confusing and unsettling time for them. Young people can connect with the Youth Work team and gain updates on sessions through friending them on Facebook: @JustinaTRAIN @LisaTRAIN @CharlotteTRAIN @HarryTRAIN. 
Explore More 2020 has also been postponed due to the travel restrictions in place and insurance implications. TRAIN will seek to schedule alternative dates once circumstances change.
The Trustees are continuing to follow government advice as well as listening to other youth charities in Oxfordshire, actively seeking to minimise risk for each aspect of delivery. In the meantime, please do feel free to get in touch if you have any questions at all in regards to any of the above by: emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., calling 07305042427 or messaging us through Facebook @DidcotTRAIN. 
We do hope you are all keeping well through these difficult circumstances. 
Timetable 26.03

It was really positive to have a busy, energised week of provision last week. Highlights included:

  • Outreach at Aureus: Harry and Lisa enjoyed visiting on Tuesday to engage with young people during their lunchbreak - a really positive opportunity for young people to get to know the team better and, as a result, the additional support they can access from TRAIN outside of school hours.
  • Young Women’s Group: great discussions were held around the topic of passive, assertive and aggressive behaviour, exploring how to handle difficult situations in a positive way.
  • Young Men’s Group: stereotypes was the subject of this week’s session, addressed through many a team building game.
  • Dinner and Debate: Tuesday’s hour saw young people given hard hitting questions to discuss, covering a number of areas from drugs to terrorism. Resulting in a heated debating battle, it was great to see them exercising their skills in persuasion and assertion, whilst also being open to alternative viewpoints, some coming to switch opinions throughout. Many interesting views were also shared in Thursday’s session focused on disability awareness. It was clear certain young people left the room with completely different attitudes towards the topic and inspired to look out for others witnessed being stigmatised.
  • Head Start: young people engaged very well in sessions focused on how to recognise different feelings, manage negative emotions in a healthy way and passive, assertive and aggressive behaviour.

Considering the strange circumstances we are currently experiencing and the health and safety of our TRAIN community being very important to us, the coming week will see us taking steps to prevent the further spread of cold, flu and the COVID-19 virus.

For the time being our group mentoring, outreach and detached sessions will be continuing to go ahead as usual, but staff will be working from home during time in between. For the upcoming week’s provision please see the timetable below. We will be updating and posting the schedule each week through staff Facebook accounts, as well as any updates on cancellations.


Further guidance on TRAIN’s response from the Trustees:
Didcot TRAIN is following government advice on how to proceed with coronavirus.

Symptoms of coronavirus include:

- A new and persistent cough

- A fever

If you are exhibiting these symptoms, please self-isolate by staying at home for 7 days

- Use NHS online for updated advice

- Phone NHS 111 if symptoms deteriorate or persist

People exhibiting symptoms will be required to leave Didcot TRAIN premises and encouraged to self-isolate


- We are ensuring our staff are informed about the latest government advice at every team meeting

- Our staff, volunteers, and young people are encouraged to regularly wash their hands using warm water and soap or hand sanitiser (with at least 60% alcohol content)

- Our staff, volunteers, and young people are encouraged to use tissues to trap bodily fluids during sneezing/coughing

Young people experiencing symptoms are also being welcomed to video call youth workers during sessions to get involved from the sofa instead!


If you have any questions on any of the above (or anything completly un-coronavirus related!), please do not hesistate to get in touch by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., through our @DidcotTRAIN Facebook page or calling 07305042427.

Take care and stay positive 🌞

Kind regards,

The TRAIN Team

Timetable 16.03.20

We hope you have all had great weekends. To offer an update on last week here at TRAIN, sessions across the past few days have included:

  • Detached: this week’s detached proved particularly important for keeping us aware of local ASB, both witnessed by staff and communicated to us by local services in the Orchard Centre. Meetings have been arranged with impacted agencies to enable us to support one another in addressing matters. As always, young people were discouraged from engaging in negative behaviour and encouraged along to our sessions.
  • 1:1 Mentoring: young people undergoing mentoring programmes at UTC and Aureus engaged very well in their weekly session, areas explored including wellbeing, food and mood and anxiety.
  • Young Women’s Group: this week’s session revolved around food and sleep, with a quiz and lots of interesting discussions.
  • Head Start: another positive week of sessions with Aureus and Stephen Freeman primary schools, focused on the topics of reputations and the affect of stress on the body. 
  • Dinner and Debate: a couple of extremely energised sessions with lots of young people coming along! Lots of good ideas were shared on peer pressure, looking into different scenarios. A number of opinions voiced by young people have also brought about ideas for topics there would be benefit covering in future sessions.
  • Young Men’s: another positive session, including participation centered discussions around community activities the young people may be interested in getting involved in over the coming weeks.
  • Friday Fitness and Chill: it was brilliant to have a number of young people come along again, as usual enjoying having a positive space to socialise in, whilst taking it in turns to do one on one pad work with Lisa.

Other news:

  • Last week also came with some sad news with Alice, Director of Youth Work Services, sharing that this will be her last month with us at TRAIN! Having been with TRAIN for the past 4 years, it really won’t be the same without her. Inspiring does not even begin to cover the dedication she has shown to TRAIN, building it up from being just 1 Youth Worker strong to the team of 6 we are today. She has truly gone above and beyond to support all the young people who have engaged with her over the years. We wish her the best of luck at her new opportunity with Ark T. 
  • It has also been very exciting to begin planning for this year’s Explore More intensive personal development programmes in France, set to take place this Summer!
  • It was a lovely surprise to be donated £80 from the Ridgeway Division of Trefoil Guild, part of Girl Guiding UK! Rather than organising a typical Secret Santa, the group had the very kind idea of each generously contributing a donation this Christmas. We are incredibly grateful to all at the group so a very big thank you.

We hope the coming week is a positive one for you all. Please get in touch if you have any questions for us over the coming days or if you would like to be added to our mailing list for reminders of the weekly update and/or monthly newsletter.  

Kind regards,

The TRAIN Team

After a big half-term week of positive activities, last week saw us reset for the upcoming term, continuing with our regular provision timetable. This included:

  • Head Start: it was lovely to meet the 16 new young people at Stephen Freeman and Aureus who we will be delivering our Head Start programme with up till Easter. Stephen Freeman are taking up our ‘Promoting well-being and exploring mental health’ stream of the programme, whereas Aureus will be the first to take up sessions in ‘Promoting positive behaviour in school’. All the young people engaged very well and we are hugely looking forward to observing the impact it will have on their behaviours and wellbeing going forward.
  • “Get Started with Emergency Services” reunion day: Charlotte very much enjoyed visiting Didcot Fire & Rescue Station for a reunion day for NEET young people who took part in a week long course held in January centred around offering an insight into the Fire and Rescue Service, whilst developing valuable skills – delivered in collaboration with The Prince’s Trust. It was a great opportunity for building awareness of TRAIN’s services amongst those who attended and for us to meet a number of other local organisations. We very much appreciate having been invited.
  • Young Women’s Group: a relaxed session, focused on gathering views for upcoming sessions. It was also brilliant to be joined by new volunteer Claudia who we are very pleased to be welcoming to the team!
  • Young Men’s Group: this week’s theme was rights and responsibilities, leading to interesting discussions around what young people’s rights are in the local community, reducing risks of getting into trouble. This was followed up by a team building activities, including the levitating stick and human knot challenges. It was excellent to see the young people working together really well and building their leadership skills.
  • Dinner and Debate: globalization was the topic of Tuesday’s D+D session. Many good ideas were shared, particularly around positive and negative ways in which the phenomenon is influencing local services and Didcot as a whole. Thursday’s session then saw young people take part in a quiz around body image and positive empowerment, before making posters celebrating why it’s good to be unique.
  • Detached and Outreach – as always sessions proved important for interacting with young people around the town, reminding them of our upcoming sessions and keeping in communication with local and key partner agencies to TRAIN.
  • Friday Fitness followed by Drop in and Chill: it was positive to have a good number of young people attending the entirety of the evening, many eagerly arriving early before Lisa and Charlotte had even arrived back from outreach! An hour of pad work was fully enjoyed before the more relaxed open ‘chill’ session. It was particularly positive to see signs of older young people looking out for those younger than them, integrating really positively together.

This week will see us continuing with our usual schedule which you are all, as always, very welcome to get in touch with us regarding if you have any questions.

We hope you all have enjoyable weeks!

Kind regards,

The TRAIN Team

Where to start! The half-term holiday was packed to the brim here at TRAIN. We offered a number of different activities for young people to get involved in across the week, to support the development of invaluable life-skills, offer positive alternatives to more anti-social behaviour many may otherwise be inclined to partake in and simply as opportunities to have a bit of fun!

Alongside our regular sessions, added trips and positive activities included:

  • Youlbury Scouts Adventure Centre – young people who have taken part in our Head Start programme at Willowcroft and All Saints Primary Schools since the new year joined us for a morning of crate stacking! The activity clearly exemplified the progressions each have made over the weeks in their journeys of self-confidence – it was fantastic to see all having a go and working as a team throughout.
  • Retreat Afternoon – a number of the young people who had taken part in the morning’s crate stacking stayed on for a more relaxed afternoon focused around mindfulness. All loved trying out various techniques to cultivate mental spaciousness and calmness, from arts and crafts to meditation.
  • Revolution Revolt Trampolining – those who have been coming along to What’s Up sessions run since January were treated to a trip to Bicester’s trampolining centre. All thoroughly enjoyed it and stayed on afterwards for their last session of what proved to be a very successful, really well received programme. A big thank you to Lisa and her fellow Ruskin students Zane and Will for running the programme as part of their course!
  • Ice-skating – Young Men’s group were very excited to get the train into Oxford on the Thursday for an afternoon of ice-skating. Having raised the funds for the trip themselves from an afternoon of fundraising at Didcot’s Tesco store on Saturday, it was so great to see their hard work pay off and the sense of achievement all gained from it. A huge thank you to Darren as well for your amazing support on the day, and also to all who donated whilst doing their weekend shopping!
  • Mosaic Workshop – thank you to Soha Housing, Creating ARTand Cornerstone for kindly putting on a workshop for young people engaging at TRAIN Friday morning. It was a great way of demonstrating the enjoyment and reward that can be gained from getting creative, young people creating colourful tiled leaves to be merged into a giant mosaic tree.
  • Social Action for Mind – Charlotte and Harry were joined by a number of a young people Saturday afternoon to raise awareness of charity Mind and the valuable support it can offer for those struggling with their mental health. Well done to all who got involved!

We are hugely pleased with how the week went and seeing the young people making the most of the opportunities and enjoying themselves so much was really very rewarding to see.

This week will see us continuing with our regular detached, outreach and mentoring sessions. This will include meeting a number of new young people for 1:1 mentoring and beginning our Head Start programme with two new groups of young people at Aureus and Stephen Freeman Primary Schools!

Please get in touch if you have any questions for us over the coming days or if you would like to be added to our mailing list for reminders of the weekly update and/or monthly newsletter.  We hope you all have great weeks.

Thank you.

Kind regards,

The TRAIN Team

Half-term = a big week here at TRAIN! We have always been very passionate about offering many positive activities for young people during holiday periods, as they can be so important in acting as:

  • Invaluable life-skill building opportunities
  • Positive alternatives to more anti-social behaviour many may otherwise be inclined to partake in whilst being off school
  • Simply as opportunities to have a bit of fun!

This final point is especially important considering many of the young people engaging with us are often going through very difficult times. Having something positive to look forward to can therefore be so valuable in supporting the mental health of these young people. We also ensure that our activities are at a very low cost or often completely free to maximise their accessibility to all.

See our timetable below for a flavour of the exciting things we have on offer for young people this week. If you know of a young person who may be keen to get involved, please do get in touch with us for a chat!

Thank you.

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Our latest newsletter is here! Offering an update of our work with Didcot's young people over the first half of the Spring Term.


It was a great first week of February here at TRAIN. Alongside our one to one mentoring and detached work, we had a number of fun and insightful sessions across the week including:

  • Graffiti Workshop – a few of the young people were treated to a graffiti workshop by New York artist Tommy Watkins on Saturday! http://www.tommywatkins.com/ It was a fantastic afternoon, the young people relishing the opportunity to express themselves on canvas and producing some really quite impressive colourful pieces. We’re very grateful to Tommy for taking the time to deliver the workshop and very excited to see the work displayed at the Cornerstone from 11th-23rd Feb!
  • Head Start – this week’s session with the 16 young people we are mentoring at All Saints and Willowcroft primary schools were focused on relationships. This included expressing what it means to have a healthy, equal relationship, signs of abuse and the impact relationships can have on emotional health and self-esteem. Sessions were again very well received by the young people and it was brilliant to see more gaining the confidence to come along to our Dinner and Debate session on the Thursday.
  • Young Women’s, Young Men’s, What’s Up and Dinner and Debate – topics covered in sessions across the week included body image, identity, drugs and alcohol through discussions, interactive activities and debates. It was brilliant to see a few new faces, alongside young people who regularly attend TRAIN.
  • Friday Fun and Fitness – it was great to see young people really working as a team, helping and encouraging each other in their pad work during this week’s Friday Fitness session. Young people then had the opportunity to stay on to socialise in our open session, offering them a safe, positive space to spend their Friday evenings.

Considering the week ahead, we’re very much looking forward to heading to Cornerstone tonight 6-8pm for a ‘meet the artists’ evening - marking Day 1 of the gallery the young people’s paintings from Saturday’s graffiti session are being displayed in! You will be able to view their creations in the Centre up till 23rd February, but tonight will be a really nice opportunity to meet the young people and celebrate with them in having their work displayed in a public gallery! As Tommy will also be present, it will also be a great opportunity to chat to him about his work and really quite impressive background. So we do hope to see many of you there!

Alongside sessions, the team will also be busy planning for half-term, throughout which we will be holding a number of positive activities for young people to get involved in. You may also see a few young people at Tesco over the week doing some fundraising to raise money for an ice-skating trip they are keen to go on!

So we hope to meet many of you across the coming days and, if not, hope you all have good weeks. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions at all or if you would like to be added to our mailing list for reminders of the weekly update and/or monthly newsletter.  

Thank you.

Kind regards,

The TRAIN Team

It was really great to see signs of young people engaging in our sessions growing in their confidence and self-esteem over the past week, as well as new young people coming to access our provision. This week’s highlights included:

  • Head Start - food, sleep and mood were the focus themes of sessions at Willowcroft and All Saint’s Primary Schools, to enhance the young people's awareness of the relationships between each. As with the session's held on the topic for previous groups, Justina and Charlotte whipped up a lovely blend of mars bars, energy drinks and other unhealthy ingredients to mimic the concoction foods such as these come to create when consumed! The young people then loved the healthier Innocent smoothies they were treated to instead, to demonstrate how good healthy alternatives can make you feel as well as taste.
  • Dinner and Debate and Young Men’s – this week saw young people have creative, cooking sessions making pitta bread pizzas! Dinner and Debate took a Dragon’s Den style format, with the young people designing the branding and packaging of their pizzas, which they then pitched to the group – the winning creation to be announced at this week’s session! All thoroughly enjoyed both the making and eating and staff were impressed by the enthusiasm, creative ideas and presentation skills demonstrated. It was also brilliant to welcome more young people who have been engaging in our Head Start sessions at Primary Schools.
  • What’s Up – many young people came along for another great session of games, focused on developing critical thinking and team work skills.
  • Friday Fitness and Fun –Friday evenings are now taking the format of a fitness focused session, followed by an open session for young people – offering an alternative location to the town centre where they can come and socialise positively with their peers. This Friday proved a great success, many coming along and getting involved in some pad fitness training with great enthusiasm and appreciating the welcoming space to spend their time in for the evening. Carrying out detached prior and following the session also worked well for spreading the word and then checking all had headed elsewhere safely afterwards.
  • Detached and Outreach – detached and outreach sessions over the week proved as important as ever for conversations held with young people around the town. Regular interactions ensure young people remain aware of our additional provision available to them and continue to further the positive relationships established with each to build their confidence in approaching us for support. Following our efforts to also encourage pro-social behaviour, it was also brilliant to see a number of young people acting very positively in the town centre.

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions, queries or ideas for us over the coming week, including if you may be interested in signing up to receive​ email reminders for the Weekly Update and/or our monthly newsletter​. 

Another notice to highlight is that VOXY (Voice of Oxfordshire's Youth) and The Children’s Trust are looking for feedback from all children and young people in Oxfordshire about how supported they feel by the services they use. First shared in January 2019, this follow up survey will be important for observing any change in how supported children and young people feel one year on, so there’s great worth in spreading the word. Head here for more information and the survey link.

Other than that, we hope the first week of February treats you all well and thank you as ever for your support. 

Kind regards,

The TRAIN Team

VOXY (Voice of Oxfordshire's Youth) and The Children’s Trust are looking for feedback from all children and young people in Oxfordshire (aged 8-18 and up to 25 with additional needs) about how supported they feel by the services they use e.g. schools/colleges, youth clubs, social workers, job clubs, health services, TRAIN!

First shared in January 2019, this follow up survey will be important for observing any change in how supported children and young people feel one year on, so there’s great worth in spreading the word to any young people you may know.

The online questionnaire closes on Sunday 9th February: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/BeSupported.

You can read more about the results from the 2019 questionnaire (and download the reports) here: https://oxme.info/cms/news/feedback-be-supported-questionnaire 

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