One of the leading figures behind a new not-for-profit network, formed to ensure that crucial youth work continues in Coventry, says it’s vital that the city’s young people are given critical support in their lives.
Positive Youth Foundation is leading the network – Coventry Youth Partnership – which will run everything from youth centres through to targeted interventions.
Rashid Bhayat, Founder and CEO of the Positive Youth Foundation, said the network will be a national standard bearer for a collaborative approach to youth work and that the voluntary sector, working closely with Coventry City Council and other key stakeholders, would deliver high quality services.
He said: “It is absolutely vital that high-quality youth work is delivered across the city and the Coventry Youth Partnership will provide that. Coventry City Council is unable to run the service due to cuts in national funding.
“Even though it is a non-statutory service, Coventry City Council recognised its importance and has been instrumental in the creation of the Partnership, which is an exciting new way of delivering this crucial work.
“I was born and bred in the city and left education early. But people believed in me and gave me a chance. I started my first organisation when I was 17 and then moved in to a national role within a few years. This learning will ensure robust support mechanisms for a range of agencies.
“In 2011, I set up Positive Youth Foundation as an independent charity and over the past six years, we have shown that the way we work with young people in Coventry works.
“Right now, we work with intensively with around 2,500 young people and, through the new partnership, it will rise to 5,000. Each and every young person in the city deserves a chance in life and a safe place to go – this partnership of 20 agencies will help to provide that. Together, we will work to ensure that no young person is left behind”
The partners include organisations delivering specialist services, creative programmes, sport and mentoring services.
Rashid added: “This is recognition of the importance of youth work and the positive benefits it has on individuals and on the city as a whole.
“Young people need mentors and role models. They need safe places to go and adults they can talk to regardless of their circumstances. Our partners are committed to making this work.
“Coventry Youth Partnership offers an exciting opportunity for the city to get this right and to develop a generation of people who are proud of their city and benefit from the range of support it has given them. It provides a platform to celebrate young people, and for anyone interested in supporting our future generations to get involved through collaborative working.”