Young people’s involvement has hugely benefitted TRAIN over the last year as well as the young people themselves. We believe that programs that are developed in partnership with young people are more likely to be effective at engaging them and, therefore, have a greater impact.
Encouraging young people in actively making decisions that affect them has increased the likelihood that the decisions will be accepted, adopted, and become part of their everyday lives.
In addition, empowering the young people of Didcot to identify and respond to community needs helps them become empathetic, reflective individuals, setting them on a course to potentially continue this important work in their future.
The past years have seen young people attending trustee meetings, sitting on interviews panels for members of staff and volunteers, taking up work placements at TRAIN, completing the ILM Level 2 Leadership Qualification, supporting other charities such as Secret Santa and becoming involved in community events, from litter picks to the annual Street Fair.
TRAIN's Participation Pathway gives young people the opportunity to progress and gain more responsibility through engaging with TRAIN at a variety of different strategic levels.
Young Ambassadors – Young people are engaged at a strategic level and represent TRAIN and other young people at trustee meetings, local community meetings, regional meetings and also interview volunteers and staff.
Young Leaders – Young people who take a leadership role in planning and delivering events or trips to benefit other young people and their community. Engaging in local social action and planning their own community social action projects.
Young Volunteers – Young people that are at the beginning of their additional engagement with TRAIN. Offering their time to support the young ambassadors and young leaders at events.
All young people are encouraged to work towards V-inspired awards to recognise their volunteering commitment.
What I have got from being a young ambassador is a great sense of responsibility. It’s helped me to grow up and realise my potential. It’s also a great feeling being able to work along side others that I may not have worked with before. It’s important to have young people at the heart of TRAIN as it gives us a sense of responsibility and we get to get involved with fund raising and helping the charity to progress forward.
TRAIN is in contact with 400 young people in an average year. We believe in the importance of them having a voice about how TRAIN should run and that their opinions are valued and respected. TRAIN's ethos of youth work reflects this emphasis as we take the initiative to go out and meet young people where they are, regardless of whether that is on the streets, in local parks or in the schools at lunchtimes.
By meeting young people on "their patch" it means that our emphasis of 'What can we do for you"? is genuine because we have intentionally sought them out and not just expected them to come to us. Through discussion and relationship building the young people choose what alternative activities and projects we offer them.
Our young people are regularly asked to evaluate our activities and we are continuously evaluating our effectiveness in helping them through our regular reporting to funders. This supports us in being able to better target our support for them into the future, formulate the forward direction of the charity and the quality of the work the Youth Work team.