TRAIN was set up back in 2002 by Churches Together in Didcot & District for the young people of the town. Paul, TRAIN's first full-time youth worker was appointed in September 2002, and joined by Karen in 2010 who both did a truly fantastic job leading the team for a number of years.
Alice Dore joined as Lead Youth Worker in 2016, bringing her creativity and enthusiasm to leading the team for 3 years. Dedicated Youth Worker at TRAIN for a number of years, Justina has now stepped into Alice's role following her resignation in April 2020. Her secondment ended with the appointment of Alex McSweeney in October 2020 who is our current YW Manager.
The early years of TRAIN were focused on establishing youth work in Didcot, delivering detached youth work on the streets and responding to the needs of the young people with whom we interacted. This led to programmes including: running a youth-club on one estate; a project called Restart, which involved intensive mentoring of ex-young offenders over a period of two years; trips, activities, a football project and in-school mentoring.
Over the years we have gone from strength to strength, continuing to offer a wide range of support to ensure we are accessible to as many young people in the town as possible.
In 2008 we opened an office in the town centre, which improved TRAIN's profile within the local community and proved valuable in enabling young people to seek the support of the staff team and volunteers on a regular basis.
Unfortunately in November 2019 our landlords SODC informed us that results from a recent survey highlighted significant health and safety concerns – an environment too unsafe for us to operate in. Although we knew we were on borrowed time, as the area of the Broadway is set for redevelopment, it still came as an abrupt ending and big disappointment to have to leave, after being established there for 11 years. Fortunately we were soon able to recommence mentoring after Didcot Methodist Church generously allowed us use of their spaces for sessions and also now for our admin based work for the time being, which we are hugely grateful for.
Check out our Project pages to find out more about what activities we are currently offering to support the area's young people!
TRAIN continues to look for new opportunities and new models of working with young people in the future. We’d love to hear from you if you have any ideas.