Knights Youth Centre annual report 2009/10


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The Knights Youth Centre Annual Report for 2009/10.

Find out about the work we've been doing with young people in south London and beyond.

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Knights Youth Centre annual report 2009/10

  1. 1. Knights Youth Centre Annual Report 2009/10 Partnerships and Progress
  2. 2. ContentsOne. Chair’s foreword we’ve bee n ell you what ief. here we t nths - in br The bit w last 12 mo se up to the The Knig who, ht s w Two. What we do You hat, w th C here entr e. Aand why nd s tuffof . Three. T.Y.L.A.P. yway? exactly is TYLAP, an Hang on, just what to what we’ve been up We’ll explain all that, AND one of s. Meanwhile Karis - for the last five year - tells us what it the fir st TYLAP apprentices w they d a Friend explains ho has meant to her, an got involved.
  3. 3. Four. Knights on tourHow we took on social action in Romania andsnowboarding in the Alps. Oh, and a word from thepeople at Hindleap Warren, wh o we have workedwith for over 20 years.Five. A year at Knights re ’ s re p orts going on. The ike s been rt n e rs l f what’ f ro m p a to lavour o ects; insights uctions ust a f j d introd r J ial pro tion; an em em b e on o ur spec e and Mentiva re . W e also r treatha m Polic he cent nna, MP f or S peo ple at t ka U m u at new unders. Chu two gre Ron Sa n Knight s. the lif e of his views o gives us Str eatham, The mon ey part. Six. AccountsSeven. Looking ahead We’ve told you where we’ve been. So where are we going?
  4. 4. Foreword Knights will celebrate its 75th birthday in 2011. Amidst the history and heritage however is a dynamic, innovative and modern youth centre, ever reinventing itself as times change. This report tells the story of how Knights – aided by some crucial partnerships - has responded to two significant types of change over the last year. Life is changing for young people in the area. The spectre of involvement in gangs, drugs or anti-social behaviour looms large over many young people who feel disenfranchised with ‘traditional’ services.  In response, Knights has worked hard to develop effective programmes of targeted youth work to identify young people who need support the most and provide them with positive alternative options and attitudes to consider. This work is increasingly valued by the whole system of statutory, community and voluntary organisations working with disadvantaged young people.  This report highlights just some of our work with young people, including a social action project in Romania, innovative sexual health and senior outreach initiatives and our burgeoning youth work apprenticeship programme. More generally, the backdrop against which Knights operates is changing, too. The results of May’s election precipitated cutbacks in Primary Care Trusts, local authorities and funding organisations. This deepened what was already a difficult financial, quality assurance and commissioning environment. Increasingly rigorous demands are being placed on reporting and demonstrating value for money.  4
  5. 5. Flicking through the pages of this report, you’ll read how we have Chris beganreadied ourselves to respond to these changes and challenges. volunteering withStuart Thomson, who has been with us for over a decade, has Knights in 1973 andtaken on a new role that will allow us to take better advantage of has been Chairman for 22 years. Inhis experience of building effective partnerships and identifying addition to hisnew funding streams. We also welcomed a new Senior Youth voluntary work, heWorker, Simon Minott, who brings huge experience of engaging is a senior managerchallenging young people. in Children’s Services for anWe hope these key structural changes will make the youth centre inner Londonmore responsive and dynamic in fulfilling the requirements of and funders, whilst maintaining our ability to offer thehighest professional standards. But no one organisation can work alone. Engaging the mostvulnerable young people requires partnerships with otherorganisations. This report contains contributions from just someof the organisations and Friends we have worked with over thelast year that demonstrate a model for how partnership workingcan lead to a more diverse, effective and relevant service.Hopefully, the report that follows brings to life how deliveringvaluable services to young people is our overriding focus. I hopeyou enjoy reading how Knights continues to provide a safe,engaging and nurturing place for young people in the community- just as it did in 1936.Thank you for your ongoing interest and support of our work.Chris Saunders Chairman 5
  6. 6. What we do
  7. 7. Knights in a nutshellWhat we do “Empowering andKnights Youth Centre has provided a safe, fun, inclusive and providingengaging place for thousands of young people since 1936. It offers opportunities fora diverse service for all young people aged 8-24 regardless of theirfuture generations is at the heart ofgender, race, religion, sexuality or disability.  what work with young people isWhere we do it about and IKnights is the largest provider of youth services in and around the congratulateClapham Park Estate in Lambeth, an area of high social and Knights Youtheconomic need. Most of our members live in the area, but the Centre’s pioneeringimpact of our work reaches across Lambeth. approach in this area.”Our members Chuka Umunna, MP for StreahamBetween 150 and 200 young people visit the centre each week onaverage. Many young people attend three or four times per week. Our serviceIn addition to ‘standard’ activities, we provide sports coaching,offsite trips, regular residentials, international social actionprogrammes, music and video production, specialised work withgirls, arts and dance, and access to IT equipment. Crucially, we also undertake targeted outreach with young peoplewho, through disengagement with ‘traditional’ services, are at riskof involvement with gangs, drugs and anti-social behaviour.Our apprenticeshipsKnights has developed an innovative youth work apprenticeshipprogramme called TYLAP. TYLAP provides leadership, training,qualifications and employment opportunities for 30 young peopleaged 16 – 24 in youth and community work each year. 7
  8. 8. Our aims“There are no ego As a Christian foundation we aim to:issues working withthe people at •   Offer a diverse range of activities and opportunities for youngKnights: their people that are enjoyable, challenging and informative throughparamount concern which they gain knowledge, new skills and experienceis the wellbeing ofyoung people. Thismakes for a great • Provide a secure and caring environment where young peopleworking who are in the transition through adolescence to adulthoodrelationship, can develop self-awareness and confidence whilst developingsharing experiences positive relationships with both peers and adultsand expertise.”Michael Dawswell, • Enable young people to recognise their own skills, abilities andMentivation limitations and offer opportunities to develop these. Create possibilities for achievement, and help young people see their potential and the contribution they can make to society • Help young people to: recognise prejudice and discrimination both in themselves and others; challenge prejudice and inequality when they encounter it; value difference and promote equality of opportunity • Encourage young people to be involved in making decisions within groups and develop understanding which will help them make responsible and informed decisions about their own lives • Offer young people advice, support and counselling in a caring environment when neededKnIgHTS In nuMBERS499 the number of sessions Knights delivered to young people in 2009/10 8
  9. 9. “I like coming to Knights becauseit’s fun and keeps me off thestreets. I enjoy meeting my friends,going on trips and doing differentactivities which have helped buildmy confidence”Keisha, 12
  10. 10. Wey Island Wey Island is a residential centre owned and operated by three clubs from the Knights Association of Christian Youth Clubs. Knights has been taking young people for adventures there for over thirty years.   The ‘island’ is a large patch of land in new Haw, Surrey. Accessible via a rough track across a field, its gates open up to an exciting green haven on the banks of the river Wey, tucked well away from ‘street’ life. Two dormitories with full cooking facilities sleep up to 24 people.  There is plenty of space for more traditional activities such as table tennis, pool, rounders and football. Supervised groups take to the river in the canoes stored onsite, and mountain bikes are available for rides across the countryside. Much of the work we do with young people takes place away from the centre. Check out the ‘Knights on tour’ section of this report for more on our escapades away from Streatham over the last twelve months.
  11. 11. TYLAPA TYLAP ‘graduate’, Ryan has beenoffered a Youth Worker role atCrystal Palace Football Club
  12. 12. TYLAP is five years old.In that time...150 young people have been recruited76  have qualified in First Aid48 have gained an OnC level 2 in Information &  Community Education24 have gone into employment12 have received a Foundation Diploma in Youth  Work & Informal Education10 have enrolled on university courses 3 have graduated so far 1 is earning more than £30k  working with young people 1 has become a full time Youth Worker for Crystal Palace  Football Club 1 has established himself as a sucessful comedian on the  urban comic scene 13
  13. 13. What is TYLAP?“We have always The Trainee Youth Leader Apprentice Programme – or TYLAP – is abeen very unique initiative set up by Knights to develop young people agedimpressed with how 16-24 into experienced, qualified youth workers. Knights grows itsown talent, now five years old, TYLAP has worked with over 150 recruits. Thechallenging youngpeople to develop programme has an impact across three key areas.themselves throughhelping others with Employment and education routes for young peoplethe samebackground. It TYLAP prioritises working with young people who are lessworks”. engaged by traditional learning or struggling with their personalTony Smith development. Overall, it aims to provide young people who mightLondon Youth not otherwise find an easy path to qualifications or employment with: • A chance to explore a career in youth and community work • Recognised qualifications in and routes to further education • Skills and experience to support moving into employment • Challenging, rewarding and exciting experiences Above all, TYLAP provides a caring support network that guides and advises - we always offer housing advice, support in a crisis, references and even food for those that need it.  ultimately, the programme leads young people towards increased confidence, higher self esteem and a sense of purpose for the future.KnIgHTS In nuMBERS32 the number of new trainees offered a place on TYLAP In June 2010 14
  14. 14. Recruits for the sectorTYLAP is a three year programme that aims to produce a new anddynamic generation of youth workers for the future.The blend of practical and theory-based learning helps youngpeople develop into qualified professionals. Working in a range ofenvironments and organisations, TYLAP students develop a well-rounded balance of skills and experience that prepares them for acareer in youth work.Role models for other young peopleCrucially, young people on the TYLAP programme become positiverole models for other young people at Knights and in the widercommunity. Working with members from similar backgrounds week-in, week-out, TYLAP recruits set a tangible and credible example thatshows how young people have choices and opportunities to feelpositive about.  The TYLAP programme Year One – Trainee Youth Leader Work with a local youth centre as a Voluntary Trainee Youth Leader, undertake Introductory Studies in Youth and Community Work and attend additional training to develop new skills Year Two – Apprentice Youth Worker Employed by Knights for 24 hours per week as an Apprentice Youth Worker. Study for a Foundation Diploma in Youth Work, Informal Education and Community Learning. Assist in delivering Introductory Studies to Trainee Youth Leaders Year Three – Apprentice Youth Worker Employed by Knights as a Student Youth Worker for 12 hours per week, mentoring and supervising Trainee Youth Leaders. Study either for a Diploma or a Degree in youth and community work. 15
  15. 15. A path to followKaris was one of our first TYLAP Youth Work, which many of our TYLAPapprentices back in 2004. She spoke to trainees are working towards. Tutoringus about her journey from ‘mouthy the course basically involves facilitatingPeckham girl’ to career youth worker. 15 work-based group sessions around professional practice in youth work. TheHow did you end up on TYLAP? sessions explore the views and values ofWhen I started the programme – which I participants and include learning aboutheard about through my brother-in-law - current government legislation.I was a young mouthy black girl fromPeckham with a really bad attitude. You’ve been through it - what are theBeing on the programme, I started to benefits of TYLAP?deal with my issues. With the help of the For Trainees, TYLAP allows them to gainpeople at TYLAP, I have become a experience in the field, reflect on theirprofessional and a positive role model views and values, developfor others. Being here enabled me to professionalism, gain qualifications, go tomake the right decisions and choose a university and build a career.positive path to follow.  Importantly, it allows them to think positively about their opportunities forWhat’s happened since you joined? the future.I was fast tracked onto year two of theprogramme, became an Apprentice Members benefit too – they get greatYouth Worker and then Joint Section role models who they can relate and lookLeader for Early Knights. In year three I up to. They get meaningful relationshipsbecame Student Youth Worker and that give them a sense of belonging. ForJuniors Section Leader. At the end of that some, it also opens their eyes to ayear, the position of Assistant potential career in youth work.Coordinator was created for me whilst Istarted university.  What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing?And that’s what you’re doing now? Challenging the views and mindsets ofI’m now a tutor for the Certificate in members and trainees – encouraging 16
  16. 16. them to see life differently and think of young people to get involved withthe bigger picture. In many ways, that’s outside of school. But Knights isn’t just awhat we’re here for. place to go. It’s somewhere where young people are made to feel welcome andLife for young people, especially around gain an extended family. They experiencehere, is changing. Community divisions something different and can expresshave become greater. Young people are themselves without being judged.increasingly marginalised. The negativestigmas and ‘labels’ attached to youth On a personal note, what does Knightsare creating a self fulfilling prophecy.  mean to you? I joined at a crucial time in my life when IAll this means Knights probably has a was vulnerable and impressionable.more important role to play than ever Since then I have grown in many ways –before. Yes, the same issues have always emotionally, mentally, physically andbeen there, but I think over time they psychologically. have become more prominent. Someyoung people are living their lives in fear TYLAP has helped me build a career. I amnow. not the mouthy girl from Peckham I used to be - I am now the young lady andHow important is it that young people professional that young people need mehave somewhere like Knights? to be. It’s paramount. There isn’t much for 17
  17. 17. Friend in the frameKathy Byrne is a training professional TYLAP programme, which does awith huge experience of working with fantastic job of opening the eyes ofyoung people. She spoke to us about young people to potential careerhow being a Friend of Knights for nearly opportunities and developingten years recently led her to mentoring experienced professionals for the sector.TYLAP trainees. Last year I volunteered my services.Can you introduce yourself? In conversation with Knights, I agreed toOriginally from Pennsylvania, I arrived in offer personal and professionalthe uK via the united States Army where development sessions to theI served as a Race Relations Equal programme’s trainees.Opportunities Specialist in Mannheim,germany. I qualified as a social worker Sounds great. What did these sessionsspecialising in adolescent mental health, look like?but ultimately ended up moving into We met for six incredibly interesting andtraining and development.  dynamic sessions. The group determined the key areas and topics for discussionIn 1991 I embarked on a freelance career for each, and preparation work wasas a Management and Organisational needed in between meetings. Development Consultant.  We worked on a range of topics fromHow did you get involved with Knights? personal presentation and creating aAs is so often the case, it was almost by professional image through tochance - I heard about the centre understanding how to engage in socialthrough the Chairman. I have always conversations in professional settings.been very impressed with the work of We also looked at improving professionalthe centre, and have supported its work vocabulary and verbal skills. In additionwith annual donations.  to personal skills, we also focused on how to effectively work in teams andHow has your involvement changed? improving group decision-making skills. I had heard and read so much about the 18
  18. 18. What was your impression of the Any messages for other current ortrainees? future Friends?It is difficult to convey in words quite Well, perhaps just a word in the ear forhow impressed I was with the energy, any training professionals out there. Ifcommitment and engagement the group you want a blast of renewed motivationbrought to each of our meetings. Their and inspiration, then look no furthersheer determination to make their lives – than giving your time and talents toand the lives of the young people they Knights to find a personally andwork with – safer and more fulfilled professionally rewarding experience. Ideserves the highest praise, admiration sincerely hope I get other opportunitiesand our ongoing support. It was a pure to be involved.pleasure meeting and working with suchamazing young people. Being a FriendOver the last year we have seen the number of people wanting to Please get in touchbecome a Friend of the youth centre steadily increase. This is with Stu onreflected not only in the number of donations we receive, but also 020 8674 offers of practical assistance. Some examples of these offers include:•   A Structural Engineer giving his time to negotiate a ‘party wall agreement’ with the housing association building a new block of flats nest to the centre•   A consultant offering group mentoring sessions to TYLAP’s Year two trainees, and two further friends who have become coaches to named year one trainees for a twelve month period•   A senior manager in a recruitment agency offering working experience days for older Knights membersFunding organisations are impressed that we have such a diverserange of Friends that want to be associated with Knights. A list ofall our friends can be found on our website. If you have any skills or experience that could benefit the centre –from accountancy to carpentry – and would like to get involved,please do get in touch. We would love to hear from you.  19
  19. 19. Knightsontour
  20. 20. Raisin’ RomaniaIn September 2009, Knights embarked Love project. After a morning on the highon a mission to take on a ten day social ropes, which included a huge, valley-action project in Lunca Bradului, a small, spanning zip wire that crossed both aimmensely deprived and remote village river and a road, the team were ready forin the Carparthian Mountains of action.Romania. unfortunately, their first experience ofThe team making the journey consisted Lunca Bradului ended in a volatileof seven young people, two youth incident instigated by two locals, one theworkers and two film makers. local Police officer. All of a sudden the entire trip was at risk.The group had already demonstratedtheir ability to overcome adversity and As it turned out, it was a significantburst through the pain barrier by turning point in the journey. The team,completing the River Wye 100 Mile many of which may have dealt with suchKayak Challenge in May (for the record, an event in a far more negative andours was the fastest Kayak team). The aggressive manner in South London,Challenge was completed in just over remained calm throughout. three days and, in addition tosponsorship raised from elsewhere, the The following morning they were readyteam raised more than £5,000 for the and willing to return to the village andRomania project. finish what they had started, demonstrating not only their fantasticA couple of months later, the team found strength of character but also their deepthemselves in the mountains of sense of commitment to the missionRomania, supporting the work of Integro they had started building together backMinistries and in particular the Bridge of on the river Wye.KnIgHTS In nuMBERS53,643 the number of strokes per person during the 100 mile challenge 21
  21. 21. The team got stuck into work quickly, starting with the house of a local family (a couple, three teenage daughters, a teenage son and four year old boy) which had just two bedrooms and one bathroom. They worked round the clock to build an entirely new room, which virtually doubled the size of the house. The extension had to be built from scratch using second hand logs which the team cut and grooved to size with rudimentary tools. The family were delighted with the extension, and also the garden fence the team built them to help crops grow without being eaten by the free-roaming local cows, chickens and horses.  Elsewhere, a spontaneous project saw the group make life easier for locals by repairing a dilapidated footbridge. With the help of a large number of local children, the team also brought some colourKnIgHTS In nuMBERS2,660 the number of miles travelled from London to Lunca and back 22
  22. 22. to the main road by planning and painting a huge mural showing Raisin’ Romanialandmarks from both London and Lunca.  isn’t the first project of its kindAside from building, repairing and painting, the team spent time for Knights - back in 2007 we took aworking with local young people. They invited more than sixty team of youngkids to their cabin for a day of face painting, football, basketball people to Rwanda.and team games, ending with a barbecue and a good old- Our thoughts arefashioned party. The children all went home with useful goodies now turning tosuch as toothpaste, toothbrushes and other toiletries. 2011.The team were absolutely immense, from the beginning of theproject - training for the Kayak Challenge - right through tobuilding, playing football amidst cows and learning Romanianphrases.  Our thanks go to Helen, Este, gary, Denis, Marie, Manni,CJ, Petra and Symon. A special mention also goes to Paul Burt and David Shepherd, whogave up their time to film the project. Copies of the excellent filmare available at Knights for £10. 23
  23. 23. Snow camp Snow Camp is a youth charity providing young people from London’s inner city areas with the chance to experience mountain sports. As well as skiing and snowboarding, Snow Camp also includes a life skills course designed to enable young people to reflect on the key issues that impact their lives. Knights member Symon wanted to go to Snow Camp, and applied to the Youth Opportunity Fund for support. The bid was successful and, in early April 2010, Knights Youth Centre went to Vars, a stunning location nestled high in the French Alps close to the Italian border. Symon, Josh, Denis and Stu from Knights joined 170 other young people from London to learn to ski and snowboard and take part in evening sessions linked to what they had learned on the slopes.  The first two days took in the basics – involving a number of ‘face plants’ in the snow – but the group didn’t care.  By day three, the Knights four were ready for a red run – the second hardest slope you can go down. Despite the best efforts of a raging blizzard, the group all made it to the bottom in one piece. By the end of the week, and with injuries mounting, everyone was completing red and blue runs from the very top of the mountains. KnIgHTS In nuMBERS23 the average age of Knights youth workers 24
  24. 24. Snow Camp: A tiring but unforgettable experience forall. Check out a video of what we got up to
  25. 25. Changing attitudesKnights has taken young people to When Knights – or any of the youthHindleap Warren – a London Youth groups we work with – bring youngoutdoor education centre set high in people from these backgrounds toAshdown Forest – for over 20 years. Hindleap Warren however, the newTony Smith, Centre Manager at environment gives everyone anHindleap, explains how getting out of opportunity to start again. In addition totown helps young people to think something that is fun and exciting, wedifferently. are very good at creating a ‘safe’ experience where young people are freeI remember Knights bringing young from their social norms, won’t be judgedpeople to Hindleap Warren since my and can achieve successes. earliest working days at the centre sometwenty years ago.  It’s all about encouraging the young people to take a risk and deviate fromWhether in 1990 or in 2010 however, their normal behaviour patterns. We doKnights members have come to Hindleapto experience something totallydifferent. Whether on a ‘residential’ or aday course, each member has facedpersonal and team challenges that havegiven them new perspectives on life backat home.Many disadvantaged young people feellike they haven’t got a chance.Vulnerable and locked into hostileenvironments, they feel that they have tobehave in a certain way to survive. Formany, a fear of failure is so acute thatthey simply don’t try.  28
  26. 26. that through setting challenges which are them taking new attitudes to peers,made fun, allowing them to more easily youth workers and even authority. take a risk and focus on possiblesuccesses. We facilitate discussion too, Changing the attitudes of some of theplanning tailored sessions that challenge most challenging young people is a greatyoung people to consider questions thing to aim for, and it’s an aim we sharearound what is important, difficult or with Knights. For as long as I’ve workedcourageous and how this might vary with them, I’ve never known Knights takefrom person to person.  the ‘easy’ option. They work hard to create good relationships and provide aIn this ‘safe’ environment, pre- strong, sympathetic and supportivedetermined behaviour and relationships service for every young person thatcan be reassessed. The young person can comes through their door.ask themselves if, out here, they reallyhave to follow the behaviour pattern We look forward to providing adventuresthey follow at home. Having the freedom and successes for Knights’ members forto try things in a new way often results in the next twenty years.KnIgHTS In nuMBERS68 the total number trips that took place outside the centre during 2009/10 29
  27. 27. 2009-10A year at Knights
  28. 28. “I come to Knights to play with myfriends and meet new people. I likedoing different activities likecooking, sports, going on trips andvisiting new places”Treyvelle, 11
  29. 29. Climbing mountainsHaving joined It’s been a big twelve months for Knights. Stu Thomson, YouthKnights as Senior Service Director, gets out his crampons.Youth Worker inJanuary 2000, Stu At our annual Knights Youth Centre Team Weekend in OctoberThomson 2009 we started preparing for 2010, developing a strategic plancelebrated tenyears at the centre for our service. Six months later a team of members and leadersthis year. would take on the French Alps for real, but we felt encouraged and equipped to climb our own metaphoric mountain.  Over the last twelve months Knights has climbed many such mountains. We’ve had to juggle the competing demands of maintaining funding levels, continuing team development and strengthening management whilst keeping a resolute focus on sustaining our core offer and providing targeted services for the very hardest to engage. Climbing takes team work, guts and training. Each ascent has required all of us to overcome barriers which might otherwise get in the way. Climbing, as it turns out, is bloomin’ hard work, but reaching the top, admiring the view and breathing in the sweet air makes the toil worthwhile. Moving into the second half of 2010, the youth and community sector is facing its toughest climb for a couple of decades. Sadly, many won’t make it. There have been some significant changes to help ready us for theKnIgHTS In nuMBERS17 the average number of young people attending Knights sessions this year 32
  30. 30. challenges ahead. Simon Minott has joined us as Senior YouthWorker and we have taken on Angela Robinson to manage ourgirls@Knights and Juniors programmes. Simon and Angela nowhave responsibility for the face-to-face programme at the centre –you can read more about them on pages 34 and 44 respectively.I now have a new role as Youth Service Director. This means I willbe focusing more on sustaining performance and capacitybuilding at the centre, including staff development, qualityassurance, funding and developing new and current partnerships.I will still be involved with Seniors for the time being.These changes will help us stay fit for the climb. Along the way,we’ll try new, and perhaps precarious, routes. We’ll certainly haveto adapt our climbing techniques, and find new partners to helpus get to the top. This section of the report talks through some of the ‘peaks’ fromthe last year. Hopefully it will show how Knights can reach itsmountain tops and, far more importantly, help each young personto reach theirs. Enjoy.My thanks to Ros, Ella and Megan for so much support, love andjoy. 33
  31. 31. Ziggy is 15 years old, lives on the Clapham Park Estate andattends Knights every week. His siblings – and there are quite afew – come each week too. We like Ziggy a lot. He has always been the centre of attention,but not always for the right reasons. We’ve started to see achange in him over the last six months however, and now hewants to become more involved and is very serious aboutjoining TYLAP when he is older.We’ve started to talk with him about what this means and he isresponding positively. He’s starting to show signs that he couldbe a positive role model in the group.Ziggy is moving from ‘me, me, me’ to ‘us, us, us’. He was recentlygiven a Jack Petchey Achievement award and with it £200 tospend on the youth centre. When asked what he wanted tospend the money on, he said: “Something which Inters canremember forever”. 
  32. 32. Sex FactorForget Simon Cowell, embarrassing auditions and one hit Did you know thatwonders. Forget telephone votes and Cheryl Cole’s hair. Lambeth has one ofThis is Sex Factor. the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the UK? The rate ofIt is often worrying to hear how little young people know about 15-17 year oldsthemselves and the opposite sex. Most of what they know falling pregnant inthey’ve learned on the street – and much of it is misguided and the borough wasunhelpful. 71.5 in 1,000 in 2008.So we created Sex Factor, a six week programme for six girls andsix boys aged between 12 and 15, that provided an opportunity tolearn about sexual health and relationships. The programme wasfacilitated by Angela Robinson, Knights’ Young Women’sDevelopment Worker, supported by Stu Thomson and funded byLambeth Primary Care Trust’s Teenage Pregnancy and ParenthoodTeam.This wasn’t a place for the prudish or faint-hearted. A big part ofthe project revolved around getting both genders to share viewsand experiences, and setting sessions up in a format basedaround establishing a relationship with someone.In week one of the programme we threw the young people in atthe deep end with a ‘first date’ night at Pizza Hut. Sitting in boy-girl pairs, each couple needed to complete a number ofconversational objectives. The programme culminated in a twoday team building residential trip to Hindleap Warren.In addition to debunking a few myths, Sex Factor’s lastingachievement was the confidence it has given young people todiscuss relationships and sexual health more freely. 35
  33. 33. Challenges and trophiesSimon Minott, Knights’ newest recruit, of more ‘targeted work’, but my job willtalks us through his role at the centre be to work with the team to take itand views on youth work. forward. The RIO programme and increased street-level engagement willYou joined the centre back in April. be a core part of what I do. Where have you come from?Before joining Knights I was involved Knights is obviously a very wellwith a number of projects in the London established youth centre, but hopefully IBorough of Lewisham. For nearly 20 can bring new drive and vision to theyears I have worked mainly with more table. I will bring different ideas and‘challenging’ young people, for example theories about how to have an impact onoffenders or those who have been the lives of young people.excluded from school.  I’ve had plenty ofexperience working with young men in What’s your biggest challenge?particular, and helping to prevent their I think the biggest challenge we’re allinvolvement with gangs.  facing is around being trusted by young people enough to really talk about theirHow does Knights differ? issues. Our youth work needs to helpKnights is unique. It has a long history young people get over the paranoia andand a great heritage to go with it. The natural distrust that sometimes emergesmanagement, who have been in it for as a result of past experiences. If we’reyears and bring huge passion to the really going to engage with the morecentre, are a breath of fresh air. The challenging young people, we need tofacilities are great, too.   find ways to dig a bit deeper.And how do you see your role? How do you go about building trust?Knights has already got huge experience A big part of youth work in this context isKnIgHTS In nuMBERS38 the number of awards Knights gave to young people this year 36
  34. 34. being able to show you understand. I’m How does Knights tackle this change?looking to bring something to the centre Knights has to aim to provide youngthat I’m calling ‘real talk’: essentially people with positive and dynamictalking shops for members.  options to compete with the negative ones – and it does. Crucially, youngYou don’t have to be black, from the people also need ‘trophies’. same estate or even from the same area,but shared experiences and genuinely Trophies?enjoying their company matter. You have Sure. Knights needs to be a place whereto let young people connect with you. achievement and success is possible. Knights is already great at this, but it’sAre things changing for young people? something I really believe in. I’m not here to bash anyone, but thingsare changing. Schools, for example: in Everything we do should involve ayears gone by, exclusion would be a very balance of fun and achievement. Yes,different experience - there was a Knights provides the things a younggreater chance of rejoining school life. person needs – fun, fulfilling and healthynow excluded young people are far more stuff in a safe environment. But we needlikely to rebel even further.  to make sure that we continue to blend that with offering achievement andDisadvantaged young people need to success, whether we’re playing football,feel like there are still positive options for camping or climbing in the Alps. them. unfortunately, the options foryoung people on the edges of society are That mix leads to new life skills, positivegetting far more dangerous. Young opportunities and attitudes for youngpeople are getting caught up in more people, and a youth centre playing itsrisky behaviours. Kids pushing drugs are part in the Every Child Matters agenda.getting younger. It’s what we’re here for.  37
  35. 35. Reachin’ Out In the wake of increasing concerns about anti-social behaviour and knife crime amongst young men, Knights piloted its Reachin’ Out (RIO) project in September 2009 to provide positive opportunities and alternatives. After a successful pilot, Knights secured funding from the Home Office Community Fund to continue RIO for a further three years. Devised by Knights in partnership with the Clapham Park Project, RIO has already made a remarkable impact on the lives of young people. It offers regular one-to-one support, guidance and advice to young men, emphasising that they are unique and valued and reaffirming that they can still choose to have a positive future. RIO also offers ‘positive risks’. There is considerable theoretical evidence to argue that young people are less likely to engage in negative risky behaviours if there are appropriate, positive alternatives. We had direct experience of the theory in action when we took five young men to the Peak District in April 2010, who have since been nicknamed the ‘Peak Five’. Once marginalised and lacking hope, they are now fully involved at Knights and eager to try new things.  By engaging young people through the RIO programme, Knights continues to provide avenues through which young people can reengage with mainstream services. ultimately, it will help these young men to envisage a different – but positive – future.KnIgHTS In nuMBERS15 the number of targeted group sessions that took place this year 38
  36. 36. Three of the ‘Peak Five’
  37. 37. Ron SaundersIn February 2010 we mourned the sad or coordinating mammoth bi-annualpassing of Ron Saunders. fundraising jumble sales, Ron threw himself with a contagious enthusiasmRon was the life and soul of Knights into all aspects of Knights life. He wasYouth Centre for over half a century. aided throughout by his equallyJunior Leader and Club Secretary before committed and selfless wife, Pat, who hehe was 20, Ron moved on to looking met at the club.after Inters in the sixties and Seniors inthe seventies. At that point Seniors was Ron continued to visit Knights regularlyattended by an average of 80 members to help maintain the building well intoevery week.  his older years. He enjoyed striking up new relationships with TYLAP trainees,Ron acted as Chairman in the eighties, testament to how his ever-friendly,but always preferred to ‘get his hands loving and non-judgemental personalitydirty’. Whether managing five football was addictive to people of allteams, masterminding trips to the Island generations. Ron edited a history of the 40
  38. 38. centre to mark its 70th birthday in 2006, Ron requested that friends attending hisand continued to enjoy the company of funeral make donations to Knights ratherthe Knights ‘Old Boys’ right up until he than bring flowers. If you would like topassed away.  make a donation in Ron’s memory, or would like an e-copy of his Knights’It is impossible to say how many people, history, ‘Three Score Years and Ten’,young and old, have benefited from please get in touch.Ron’s leadership, sense of humour andhard work, but hundreds attended hisfuneral on 26 February 2010. TwentyTYLAP trainees and workers stood behindKaris, one of TYLAP’s first students, asshe recited a poem she had writtenabout Ron and Pat a couple of yearsbefore. The same trainees applaudedRon as he was carried out of the churchat the close of the ceremony.Driven by his faith and a passion formaking a positive impact on the lives of Three Scoreother people, Ron considered it a Years andprivilege to ‘serve’ at Knights and withKnights’ people. The club held a very Tenspecial place in his heart. There will notbe another like him - he is sorely missedby all at Knights.  41
  39. 39. Thinking positiveEducation and personal development Here they go unchallenged, nurtured byconsultancy Mentivation Services is negative lifestyle conditioning:helping Knights’ male members think materialism; sexualised movies andmore positively and avoid getting music that glamorise violence; andsucked into gang lifestyle. Michael computer games that encourage theDawswell talks through how they’ve view that anti-social behaviour isworked with Knights. rewarding.Recent research commissioned by Mentivation Services is an education andLambeth Council found there were 40 personal development consultancy thatgangs operating in the borough. aims to tackle those negativeResearchers linked the growing number assumptions. We work with some of theof gangs with rising levels of violence and most difficult young people from all ages,crime among young people.  backgrounds and cultures in some very challenging settings. In Lambeth, weThese are shocking figures, but figures have been tasked with supporting youngthat have their root in changing people experiencing difficulties incircumstances for young people. Young education, the community or in themen in particular feel disenfranchised home, helping to reduce serious youthand marginalised from mainstream violence and reoffending.society, leading to low self-esteem,confidence and education or To do this we join with other agencies,employment aspirations. These issues groups and organisations alreadyfeed into a mindset that society has working with young people. Working innothing to offer them and ultimately that partnership with those organisationsviolence and crime are acceptable means allows us to identify those young peopleof achieving material goal and peer who need help the most. We can helprespect.  them find ways to cope with the issues they encounter through workshops andA great deal of these negative one-to-one mentoring.assumptions are sown in early years. 42
  40. 40. Youth centres such as Knights are crucial‘clients’ for us. Partnership working helpssmaller organisations pool theirresources and expertise to create betterand lasting relationships with youngpeople – relationships that willultimately influence them in a positiveway.Knights Youth Centre works with ‘hard toreach’ young people. Some of itsmembers, if not most, are not ineducation, training or employment. Theymay be involved in or vulnerable toantisocial or criminal behaviour. Knightshas a great track record of attractingyoung people who need support most to people who attended our sessions stateda respectful and engaging environment. afterwards that the programme was helping them to reject or rethinkWe were commissioned to facilitate our previously held attitudes. six-week Fix up! programme at thecentre to complement the work they Whilst some would describe manywere already doing. Fix up! is a series of Knights’ members as being ‘hard togang awareness workshops that provide reach’, our experience was of workingan in-depth analysis of the influences with a group of young people whoand consequences of gang culture. Each wanted to engage with adults andsession was aimed at examining and organisations who care about them.challenging Knights members’ thinking, Much of this is down to the dedicatedparticularly on any potential team of professionals at Knights whomisconstrued acceptance of gang have created a safe and comfortablelifestyle. environment for young people, and developed trusted relationships withStarting in January 2010, the workshops them.addressed a range of issues from gettingto grips with the law and the impact of Mentivation Services will be running acarrying weapons through to the prison further eight-week rolling workshopexperience and understanding the programme at Knights from Septemberinfluence of the media.  An 2010.overwhelming majority of the youngKnIgHTS In nuMBERS1 the number of London mayors shocked to see a group of lads pile out from a Knights minibus on Pentonville Road 43
  41. 41. “Being the youngest MP in London and representing one of theyoungest constituencies demographically in the country, I take aparticular interest in young people. Youth centres play a hugelyimportant role, and Knights Youth Centre does great work in thelocal community.I have been particularly impressed by Knights’ Trainee YouthLeader Apprenticeship Programme (TYLAP), training andmentoring the next generation of youth and communityworkers.Empowering and providing opportunities for future generationsis at the heart of what work with young people is about and Icongratulate Knights’ pioneering approach in this area.I am proud to represent an area with such vibrant, forward-looking organisations working with young people like Knights.”Chuka Umunna MP, who visited Knights in April 2010
  42. 42. Police partnershipKnights is working in partnership with Streatham Police to helptackle anti-social behaviour. Sgt. Paul Gray explains how.The Streatham Hill Safer neighbourhood Team is working tominimise the risk of young people in the area getting involved ingangs or anti-social behaviour. A big part of this is finding ways tobuild a rapport with young people and understand their needswithout stigmatising them. It’s also important that young people’sexperiences of the police aren’t only in confrontational situationsand that they understand what we do and how we can help them.Working with community organisations like Knights is absolutelycrucial to our efforts, and we have built a close workingrelationship with the centre over the past twelve months. Wehelp to run a diversionary programme that identifies and engagesthose young people most at risk of being drawn into negativebehaviours. In sessions facilitated by Knights, we speak with young people atthe centre to build relationships and break down barriers. Wehave also been able to offer advice on personal safety to youngwomen. There’s a community benefit, too: through Knights we have beenable to distribute literature and arrange public meetings toidentify problems and reassure the public through positive action.  We have found the staff at Knights to be extremelyknowledgeable and helpful. We hope to increase our involvementwith Knights, assisting with targeted activities and increasing ourengagement with young people. 45
  43. 43. Building relationshipsAngela Robinson joined Knights in 2008 friends, but there’s an opportunity toto help reinvigorate Girls @ Knights and address important issues with them with the Juniors section, which isnow attended by 40 young people twice What kind of issues?a week. Angela gave us the lowdown on Issues around growing up, mainly. Mosther role and what’s in store for the of the girls that come along are reachingfuture. a crucial period of change in their life and making the transition from primaryYou took an unusual route into youth to secondary school. Of course, thesework… changes bring with them a range ofActually I’ve always done youth work, potential issues. We work with them tobut previously my ‘day job’ was writing build their self esteem and confidence,for the likes of Just 17 and the BBC. I essentially helping them learn how todecided to go back to university to take a handle themselves. Sometimes it’s aboutMasters in Youth and Community Work helping them recognise and thinkand, before joining Knights, was working through how they deserve to be treatedat the head office of a church youth and how they should treat others. Wedepartment. talk about everything from sexuality and body image through to being careful andWhat is your role at Knights? smart.I have always been particularlyinterested in working with young women Slowly, the group is getting older. newand, in addition to leading the Juniors issues, like handling relationships, willsection, one of my first responsibilities appear on the horizon. Of course, manywas to reinvigorate the girls @ Knights of these areas are discussed at school,programme. It’s really grown over the but Knights provides another,last couple of years and we now have a complementary way to get informationcore group of girls who regularly attend - across. Everyone is different, andprobably between eight and ten each a sometimes a more personal, informalweek. Of course, the sessions provide and straight-talking environment suitssomewhere safe and fun to go with their young people best. 46
  44. 44. How do you go about broaching these attracting young people of this age tosubjects? Knights, and not only because we canFundamentally, youth work is relational. hopefully start them on a KnightsRelationships work on different levels – ‘journey’. Even at a young age you seeyou have to get to know the young evidence of potentially negativepeople to build trust and then engage behaviours and attitudes setting in, butwith them, creating opportunities to talk we can take steps to challenge youngwith and listen to them. people’s thinking – essentially early intervention.What are the girls like to work with?They’re a great group and lots of fun to Why is Knights so important?work with. In some ways many girls Because everyone learns differently.these days have huge amounts of Sometimes schools or parents struggle,confidence, but sometimes that and a good youth centre can offerconfidence comes out in the wrong ways. something different to the mix. Knights isOf course, there’s also the very special somewhere a young person has chosendynamic that is created when girls get to come and hang out, and we can usetogether to contend with! Where activities they enjoy to ‘get through’. It’spossible we look to challenge negative informal education.behaviours, and help the young peopleto channel their confidence in the right We can, and do, talk about the ‘big’way. things. Hopefully, we can open young people’s eyes to new things and ways ofYou work with Juniors, too… thinking. I think this is an area whereYes, and in fact many of the members Knights is at its best – taking risks withfrom girls @ Knights also come to the most challenging young people andJuniors. It’s probably Knights’ biggest building relationships with them.section, with up to 40 young peopleattending twice a week. It’s very muchtheir time, a place they can chill and getinvolved with a number of activities likearts, sport and cooking. Many of theolder young people have seen theirfriends go onto different secondaryschools – Juniors is great place for themto keep in touch.That’s a lot of young people.It is! But it’s fantastic that we areKnIgHTS In nuMBERS132 the number of ‘street sessions’ delivered by Knights during 2009/10 47
  45. 45. AccountsIn 1999, Knights’ annual expenditure was £35,000. Eleven years on,the figure is nearly eight times that amount. After sustained growthin the range of services we offer young people in the area and theestablishment of the unique TYLAP initiative, we are a quite differentyouth centre with 15 employees.IncomeExpenditure
  46. 46. More recently however, the world in similar reasons, the Jack Petcheywhich we operate has changed Foundation has had to review its fundingdramatically, too, with far reaching strategy. Two years into a three yearimplications for our finances.  award, we are now receiving a significantly lower level of support thanBenefactors, partners and friends anticipated.Despite the uncertain economic climate,funding partners continue to see the These developments gave us an earlyvalue of the services Knights offers young and worrying experience of thepeople. We receive incredible support. challenging economic environment we are now working in. Even immediateLambeth Borough Council funds the housekeeping changes could not help usgirls @Knights Project and Senior avoid a very significant shortfall. OurOutreach Project. We hope their support urgent bid to the Hardship Fund grantfor these posts and other projects will was therefore crucial.continue after the first set of budget cutswhich are now upon us.  The government-backed Hardship Fund has provided Knights with a bridgingIn addition to fully funding the Walcot grant of £88,000. That Knights was oneApprenticeship programme, the Walcot of a modest number of organisations toFoundation also provides significant receive an award from over 500support for TYLAP.  applicants was testament to the importance and quality of our work. We received fantastic support followingthe publication of last year’s Annual grants received from Lloyds TSB, TudorReport, including over 100 individual Trust, Clapham Park, Mercers, Lambethdonations. £2,500 was also raised as Ron Ward and the Elizabeth and PrinceSaunders’ family and friends celebrated Zaiger Trust, enabled us to balance ourhis life back in February. Even though the books last year. nevertheless, we haveamount is modest in proportion to the taken further steps to help us secure thewhole, the continued support of our funding we need - Stu Thomson’s newFriends remains invaluable. role, for example - and reviewed all running expenditure. Managing in uncertain timesIn the space of two weeks last summer, We would like to take this opportunity toKnights lost funding from two of our thank the many organisations andmajor supporters.  individuals who have supported us over the last year. Hopefully this reportWhile we are still in discussions with conveys the huge and ambitious range ofthem, the BBC Children in Need grant is services Knights continues to providecurrently on hold after ten years fantastic young people. Without your support, itsupport due to unprecedented demands would not be possible.placed on the charity. Elsewhere, and for 49
  47. 47. Looking forward
  48. 48. The futureIt has been a positive and exciting year for Knights. As you haveread, we have refocused our work with the most vulnerableyoung people, fostered effective partnerships and maintainedthe innovative TYLAP apprenticeship scheme.There have been some cutting edge projects along the way -projects that have led to the centre being increasingly valuedacross the whole system of organisations working with childrenand families.In the midst of all the good work however, 2009/10 waspunctuated by new challenges. The financial crisis exposed us toan entirely new working environment, and we’ve had to thinkdifferently. More cutbacks are sure to follow, and there is a riskthat they will be even deeper than those experienced by Knightsand youth provision in general in the eighties.As a result, our focus over the next twelve months will be onconsolidation, maintaining the services we currently provide anddelivering youth work of the very highest quality. Behind the scenes, this will involve taking further steps to ensurewe are well positioned to meet the needs of current andprospective funders. We will, for example, adopt a qualityassurance scheme sponsored by London Youth Matters. Stu’s newrole, and Simon’s arrival, will be critical. Most importantly, this means prayerfully continuing to excel inwhat is Knights’ heartland: working with some of SW2’s mostchallenging young people in a safe, nurturing and engagingenvironment. ultimately, it is our fire which drives us to provide aconsistent and high quality service. 51