In our latest guest blog, Robyn Andrews shares what she gets up to in her role as Youth Worker, from peer mentor pairing to adventure playgrounds!
“There is a get stuck in mentality surrounded by an open and honest team.”
Arriving at Children North East is warm and inviting. In a new job there is usually a certain amount of anxiety which can make you feel slightly awkward and uncomfortable but I can honestly say that there is none of this at the organisation. Instead, there is a get stuck in mentality surrounded by an open and honest team.
My new role is that of Youth Worker and I’m involved in a variety of projects across the region which keeps my role engaging, varied and challenging – just the way I like it.
My first day in the job I was introduced to my new Youth Group, an inclusive space in Blyth where neurodiverse young people meet to have a safe and fun space to socialise. Since then, we have had some fantastic sessions and some even better trips! For me, this has been experiencing Children North East at its roots, a charity built from offering young people the chance to have a break and experience new things.
A highlight of my time here came a few weeks after my first session, we took a trip to Sunderland to watch Beauty and The Beast at the theatre – a first for many in the group! And more recently, to make the most of the fair weather, we have been to an adventure playground (A young person has since said to me “Can we not go every week?”).
“We are also empowering our young people to develop stronger relationships, form their identities and give them the opportunity to build confidence.”
Another large part of my role is a Short Breaks project where I work to match young people with SEND to peer mentors and map activities for these pairings to do across the North East. I am also privileged enough to mentor some of these young people myself; often the best part of my week is seeing the shining smile on their faces.
Youth Work is entirely focused around the participation of the young people we work with. It is essential that the projects we offer are tailored to the wants of these young people and using their thoughts and views shapes the way we as an organisation see the world. The value that our sessions add works both ways, not only is it a privilege to promote the voices of these young people but we are also empowering our young people to develop stronger relationships, form their identities and give them the opportunity to build the confidence they need to make impactful differences in our communities.
I’d like to round off by saying that working in the charity sector is a joy and giving back to place in which I live is fulfilling in ways that other roles just cannot compare. My advice to those who wish to pursue similar careers or join us would be to work hard and get involved in as much as you can. The more experience you can get of working with people and young people the better, you are never sure what the day will throw at you so the more practice you have dealing with the unexpected will serve you well!
But most importantly: if you are passionate, excited, respectful, and most of all kind… I can assure you, you will do just fine!