Young people often find it difficult to feel empowered or have their voice heard - whether in everyday life or politically. Via our targeted youth work at New Horizon Youth Centre, we work closely with young people to nurture youth empowerment - the National Youth Work Week (2-8 November) theme. So we are very excited about Benedict explaining below "HOW YOUTH WORK HELPED ME FIND MY VOICE."
"Where I am from, there is not much room for being different.
After moving to London I started to live. But after going to and fro, from backpacker hostel to another hostel, even getting a private rented flat near Euston, I became homeless.
And the day I got my permanent employment contract, I became let down by negative thoughts. I recalled New Horizon Youth Centre (NHYC) in Euston and I took a bus there. I never thought of how much this decision was going to influence my life.
I got welcomed by a smiling team of youth workers, quickly went through the initial contact stage and awkwardly started conversations with various workers. At first I avoided talking with young people - due to fear of bullying, I was afraid of them. Shortly after getting to know everyone I got referred to the counsellor, and I got my own key worker.
I became Benedict and gained courage to go and get the diagnosis for Asperger Syndrome. Being at NHYC helped me understand my own worth and how important it is to care about others and about myself. I haven’t got much problems with the first bit.
Because the staff, New Horizon Youth Centre was, and still is, always there for me. They helped me with my employment, health, identity, benefits and housing. Thanks to the patience of the Advice Team, I managed to solve my homelessness by accessing Depaul UK Nightstop, and finally gained my current longer term accommodation in east London.
I went to the Social Enterprise Project and gained qualifications in the marketing sector. I also returned to drama after seeing a theatre performance at the centre and soon after went on to become part of a youth theatre company. I got help with the confusing and horribly long process of applying for benefit entitlements by the youth work team at the centre.
I was part of creating New Horizon's Young Homeless People's Manifesto, which made its way to The Guardian's website! I also decided to take an active part in New Horizon's Youth Forum where young people give their own ideas in order to improve the services in the centre.
So there you go, from the anxious start I had to where I became some sort of a peer mentor dedicated to helping others as I truly understood that I love humanity....even if I don’t understand it that well!"
I involved myself in activism. I went to demonstrations on homelessness and was a part of creating New Horizon’s Young Homeless People’s Manifesto, which made its way onto the Guardian’s website! I also decided to take an active part in New Horizon’s Youth Forum where young people give their own ideas in order to improve the services in the centre.
Benedict, Young Person at NHYC
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