Who am I?
Lets get the introductions out of the way. My name is Connor, I currently work as a volunteer fundraiser at Active Youth Outreach Services. I also help with the development of projects that run within the communities of Worcestershire. Whilst in this post I have helped with the delivery of COVID-19 safe activities within Kidderminster and developed a virtual orienteering platform for residents of Kidderminster to engage with.
Who are AYOS?
Active Youth Outreach Services (AYOS) are a community interest company based in Stourport-in-Severn but work with communities across Worcestershire. We were first established in 2015, from which we have partnered and gained support from businesses and organisations such as West Mercia Police, Big Local DY10, Freedom Leisure and Hunt Training.
AYOS is a well placed to initiate, and follow through on, the creation and implementation of new and innovative services, as well as to work closely in partnership to support and develop those services which are already being effectively delivered.
Together we bring the passion, drive, determination, belief, skills and experience to push the vision of AYOS from dream to reality, and to establish a lasting legacy of transformation in the lives of young people.
We currently operate a small team who engages with some of the most deprived areas within Worcestershire. Engagement includes schools, communities and events. Our remit is to 5-24 year olds, to which we tailor projects and activities to, depending on the needs in the community.
At AYOS we hold the vision that
- Young people are hungry to learn, and are easily able to access clear pathways out of education and into meaningful work.
- Young people are successful, realising their dreams and fulfilling their potential
- There are safe spaces that Children and Young People can access; call their own and have freedom to express themselves
- Relationships have improved within families and communities
- Children and Young People feel empowered to ask for support.
We have several projects that we would like to focus on in the future, but the one we are most focusing is creating a unique experience for children and young people of Worcestershire. With combining funding we want to purchase a double-decker bus and convert it, into a Wifi working space and a place where we can deliver free adventurous activities to communities who wouldn't usually have the chance to take part in such activities.
The lower deck will focus around education, with five desks set up with computers, Wifi will be set up to browse the web for education and employment opportunities, whilst air conditioning will keep the temperature optimal throughout the day. On the upper deck, there will be a room for silent study, or where advisors can talk to young people. Further down, there will be more seating, storage and a room that opens up to the back of the bus, where the zip wire is placed. On the outside, the bus will be wrapped in a modern design using company colors and a climbing wall will positioned down one side of the bus.
This project was originally inspired by WiFi buses, however this project focuses on a fixed point within communities, where young people can come and access the internet. We were also inspired by the range of outdoor activities delivered by outdoor center's. We want to create an adventure experience that is accessible to all. The bus will be COVID safe and thoroughly cleaned between users.
We have costed this project, which includes, purchasing and converting a bus, Wifi set up and cost, additional cleaning equipment, staff salaries internet safety, electronic equipment and fuel.
This project is unique to the children and young people of Worcestershire and we hope to engage over 1000 young people over 6 months of delivery. Over our previous project this is the most vital, as it allows children and young people something different to experience, that they wouldn't have the opportunity to view in their own communities and also allows for them to gain access to a variety of support and resources.
Testimonials and Reviews
DY10 Partnership 2016
During the sessions we would encourage young people to take part in meaningful activities, use effective communication and being respectful to one another. We successfully engaged with over 490 children and young people across the five weeks and two sites, many of which attended both locations. 100% of our attendees said that they enjoyed all of the services AYOS provided and felt supported during their engagement and that it made a difference giving them something to do and somewhere to be.
Jayne Nicholl – Community Development Worker – “The Big Local DY10 Partnership was delighted to work with Rob Delahay and AYOS during this Summer. AYOS were extremely professional and organised in their delivery of the various activities that really appealed to the children of our area. The results speak for themselves with nearly 500 children engaging in the activities over the five days. AYOS are a pleasure to work with and they produce results!”
Bewdley Youth Cafe - 2017
During the sessions we would encourage young people to take part in meaningful activities, use respectful communication and take the opportunity to talk to staff about any concerns or worries they have.
We successfully engaged with over 50 children and young people across the four weeks and 100% of our attendees said that they found the youth trailer services useful, felt supported during their engagement and that it made a difference giving them something to do and somewhere to be.
Here are a few quotes we received from our young people:
“Can you be here every week”
“Its great to have this on our doorstep”
“Its nice to have something just for us”
Sarah Watton – Bewdley Youth Café Manager “Fantastic support, fantastic sessions, a really worthwhile service”
Silverwood Project - 2017
We successfully engaged with 169 children and young people from DY10, 11 and 13 post codes across the ten week project. Police statistics showed 10 incidents reported and 20 children reported for ASB prior to us beginning the outreach, which dropped to 3 incidents and 6 children reported for ASB during the time the project was operational; showing a 70% reduction in anti social behaviour and related incidents compared the previous me period.
The leisure centre also reported a reduction in complaints from local residents during the project and gave this feedback:
Luke Mitchell, Operations Manager
“The 10 week long AYOS community outreach scheme that has been running on the Silverwood’s site has been nothing short than a massive success. The skillset and patience shown by the AYOS staff has been exemplary throughout the scheme, this coupled with the activities that were on offer have undoubtedly contributed to a decline in anti social behaviour throughout the Silverwood’s estate”.
We have had good feedback from residents “Glad to see something being done” however, The residents still feel there is an issue with ASB but have seen a reduction in the last few weeks.
Thank you for taking the time to read through our story, it is very important to us that we engage with as many people as possible, to spread what we do and develop communities within Worcestershire as effectively as possible.