This time last year, the team at PYF met to summarise 2016, and what a challenging year it had been. From significant cuts to young people’s services, to an uncertain political landscape – we were surrounded by circumstances which were of concern.
But this is PYF, with the P, being Positive.
So, we looked forward to 2017 with vigour and resolve. We challenged ourselves to make the differences that we felt were needed, and what a year it has been!
We have been honoured to be part of a number of game-changing factors.
The high profile crowning of the UK City of Culture 2021 title, which amongst many outcomes, positions young people at the heart of our city is an achievement that many partners have contributed to. For our part, we delivered upon a statement we made early in this process, which was to create pathways for young people to connect with cultural experiences. We, alongside our partners, did just that – with our contribution crowned by the Changing Trax – Electric Proms event, which was part of a comprehensive creative offer for young people who would otherwise not have opportunities to access such provision.
We were also nominated to lead the local youth work sector, which was hugely cut due to austerity measures from central government. The closure of a number of youth centres across the city left gaps in provision and support available to young people. We pledged to aid the mitigation of this, and through the creation of the Coventry Youth Partnership – we have provided an instant response. Over twenty organisations have aligned to co-ordinate provision. Something which has been long overdue in the city, and provides a solid platform to achieve strategic and operational outcomes.
Our frontline delivery has seen yet another remarkable increase in community-based provision.
The education support programme we deliver (Raising Aspirations Programme) has a new delivery base. With the support of the local authority, our daily programme allows for young people most in need of support access to bespoke and flexible learning programmes. In addition to this, our European funded employment-focussed programmes continue to support those furthest from employment.
Our work to support newly arrived young people through our ‘Involved’ service continues to grow. Through mentoring and support, we have worked with hundreds of young people new to our city, to make them feel at home in what is now, their city. A group of Syrian young people had an incredible experience as they were awarded winners of the ‘Project of the Year’, quite literally, for the journey that they had been on to achieve the amazing outcomes that they have.
Our Positive Futures and Healthy Futures programmes have provided credible community-based services. Working out of neighbourhoods that have multiple support needs, we have been able to provide a range of opportunities for young people and partner agencies to deliver upon key messages of community safety, health and wellbeing and social action. Many of these programmes have picked up local, regional and national accolades, but awards sit on shelves, what remains is the impact that our partnerships make to the lives of young people.
A special thanks to our board of trustees, staff team and all partner agencies we have worked with during 2017. Your contribution to PYF is appreciated beyond words.
2018 promises to be a challenging year – but we like those.