Youth Genesis started life as ‘The Brixham Churches Youth Work Project’ in October 2007 as a way for the local churches to service the needs of young people in the town.
Through our approach of recruiting local people and training them as volunteer Youth Workers, the project grew to support a wide range of young people in the community.
Inspired by what the Apostle John writes:
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.1 John 3:16-18
And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth”
Our focus at Youth Genesis is the development of quality and inclusive activities of informal learning that offers support to young people facing issues such as bullying, low self-esteem, confidence, low aspirations, substance misuse, poor mental health, relationships and health. By supporting those who are most at risk, we believe that we are demonstrating the love of God through action in the way that the Apostle John describes.
The Youth Genesis Approach
Rather than parachuting a team of paid workers into an area, Youth Genesis will begin working in a new community by invitation. Our approach is to work with churches and community groups to recruit and train a team of local residents who will work on a voluntary basis with local young people. Youth Genesis offers support and infra-structure around policy, insurance, funding and administration – this is to enable the local community to offer and sustain services for young people. Our mission and values come into play as we connect both church and community through unlocking assets such as church buildings and new volunteers.
Youth Genesis promotes a Christian ethos – the aim of the projects and activities is to prioritise the needs of young people in the community and demonstrate Kingdom Values through social action.
The Christian ethos of Youth Genesis provides young people with a positive environment that is welcoming, accepting and nurtures young people. Our staff team is committed to equal opportunities, fairness and equality
and promoting a sense of justice within the work that Youth Genesis does. This involves linking local churches with young people in their community and building the bridge between church and contemporary youth culture. Part of what Youth Genesis does is to enable young people to connect with their
spiritual dimension by introducing to concepts of unity, family and the communion of being together in sharing ideas and values and exploring what it means to live life in all its fullness.
There is often a misunderstanding that Youth Work is about planning sessions around a series of activities that young people attend. At Youth Genesis, we work with young people to become ‘creators’ rather than ‘consumers’, with this in mind, the centre of our practice embraces the FOUR Core Values for good Youth Work:
- Informal Education – the spontaneous learning that young people experience outside of a school setting. A classic way of doing this is through discussion and conversation.
- Equality of Opportunity – ensuring that the youth sessions we offer are accessible and inclusive to all.
- Empowerment – valuing young people’s comments and ideas and supporting young people to the point where they are driving the projects.
- Voluntary Participation – that young people are free to come and go from sessions, that the youth sessions are not mandatory places of learning.
These form the basis of our training for all new and existing staff and volunteers.
Types of Youth Provision
There are various ways that we reach out and serve the needs of young people, some of the types of work that we offer include:
Often referred to as a ‘Youth Club’, this type of provision offers young people a safe hang-out space where they can meet
friends and play games as well as access support from a team of trained Youth Workers.
This offers young people a team of Youth Workers on the street
in a given area. This type of provision is often a useful way to
deter anti-social behaviour, but primarily provides young people
with support where they are hanging out.
This can be a short-term approach to tackling difficult issues. An example of this has been the work done with young people across Torbay around raising awareness of the effects of domestic abuse through Project DAVE. Other projects have included community social action and youth volunteering.
This connects our work in the community with a local school where by a small team will offer a lunchtime provision or a workshop. An example of this has been a workshop around ‘Respect in the Community’ – raising awareness around the effects of anti-social behaviour.
The potential soft outcomes from the types of work mentioned above will be:
- Sustainable Youth Services
- Stronger Networks
- Reduction in anti-social behaviour
- More connected Communities
- More local residents involved in community projects
- More young people engaged in positive activities
- Local shared assets
Outcomes more specific to young people will be:
- Learning a new skill
- Engaged in training
- Taking part in volunteering opportunities or
- Gaining work experience
- Raised confidence to manage money
- Signposted to access specialist health services
- Taking part in positive active citizenship
- Engaged in activities that promote mental wellbeing
- Reported a sense of improved mental wellbeing
- Reported a sense of improved physical health
- Reported an improvement in family life
- Helped with reduced isolation
- Reported an increased sense of safety (in the community and online)
- Taking part in improving community spaces or places