The Youth.com project puts young people at the heart of decision-making and helps to transform the health of their communities.
Young people aged 16-25 are recruited and play a key role helping others in their age group take part in Well London projects.
The Young Ambassador project was developed by Central YMCA and inspired by the Mayors' Peer Outreach Team. It aims to:
- Allow young people to have ideas which can be implemented
- Create a ‘bottom up’ approach to planning projects which impact and/or engage young people
- Encourage the participation of young people in the community
- Develop the skills of young people and service providers
- Engage with disengaged and demotivated young people directly form target areas.
Each recruit is supported by a Youth.com mentor who advises them on developing Well London projects, setting and evaluating goals, organising meetings and developing timetables. In return, the young people commit to work 20 hours a month with Well London and get the chance to gain qualifications for their work (delivered by YouthForce and accredited by the Open College Network).
Projects are designed, developed and implemented by the young people working alongside statutory bodies and the Mayor’s office, organisations such as the Arts Council and Central YMCA, as well as local businesses and community and voluntary sector groups. This approach bridges the gap between the young people and delivery organisations by developing communication, engagement and evaluation methods influenced by the views of young people.
Achievements in Well London Phase 1
- Young Ambassadors recruited in every area
- Young Ambassadors recruited, trained and supported 2421 young people (13-25 yrs) engaged through the projects (Target 2400)
- 50.11% of residents engaged in Well London projects were 19 or under
- The Well London Community World Cup was planned and run with considerable involvement of many of the Young Ambassadors. The Broad Green football project has been transformed through the support of Youth.com and Activate London by the Young Ambassador in the area
Tales from Youth.Com
The Well London Logo design was selected, by the community, from dozens of entries in a competition run in all 20 WL areas in 2009. This is now the recognised logo for the Well London programme. The designer, a 15 year old from Brent, later spotted his logo on an advert and successfully applied to become the Young Ambassador for Kensal Green. Joshua has since contributed to the 2010 Well London World Cup and was an integral member of the Kensal Green Well London Delivery Team, encouraging others in his local area to volunteer and get involved.
On Thursday 18th February, the WellNet project held another successful event aimed at professionals, community members and project, volunteers and community projects involving young people in London. The event was hosted by the Mayor's Young people's Peer Outreach team in partnership with London Sustainability Exchange (LSX), Central YMCA and the Young Ambassadors in City Hall. Young Ambassadors also facilitated discussions and presented at the event.
In Greenwich, Nancy’s role as a Young Ambassador was described by the Well London Borough Coordinator on the Barfield Estate as ‘Phenomenal’. Nancy designed flyers for activities, produced posters promoting residents meetings, supported the local talent show and was instrumental in giving the Greenwich Well London newsletter a young look and feel. Nancy brought ideas for the local residents association alive by designing a website for the local community. The site contains information of local events, activities and services available to residents, giving 24 hour access to information. She later designed the website for the Well London World Cup, a football tournament for all 20 Well London areas held in June 2010. Due to her efforts Nancy was a runner up in the London Health Commission 2010 Community Action awards scheme for her work on the Barnfield Estate in Greenwich.
Klein was the Young Ambassador for the Broad Green area in Croydon. He was attracted to becoming a Young Ambassador because, ‘It would bring the community together and give the kids something to do. It would give me experience and help with my career. Plus, it would give me support to set up some of my ideas.' Klein’s project was ambitious. Through organising a series of regular football sessions for the children and young people of the estate, he set up local football teams and, over time, developed this into a local football academy for 11 – 15 year olds from the estate. He was inspired by the Dutch football model which takes a holistic view of football development and includes advice on healthy eating and the different career opportunities within football. Derby Road Football Academy (DRAFT) is now a constituted charity.
It would bring the community together and give the kids something to do. It would give me experience and help with my career. Plus, it would give me support to set up some of my ideas.
Sidrah was the youth ambassador, Canning Town, Newham. Sidrah designed and implemented local projects including a drama class with a theatre group from Stratford for young people. When asked about her work Sidrah said:
It’s been an amazing experience. I feel a lot more confident talking to people now. It’s made me understand what I want to do with my future... I want to get a career out of it and push myself a bit more. Before I got involved with Well London, I did have an idea what I was going to do because I studied business at college. But I don’t enjoy that as much as practical stuff, so I felt a little bit lost. But now I understand what I really want to do. It changed me a lot. I have goals now and ambitions.