What they say

Meet Matty...

Matty* is a young person local to the community and member of The Avenues. The opportunity arose for Matty to join our in-house Youth Work Level 1 Qualification course. With a little encouragement, Sean joined the course and started the journey alongside his peers to gain an understanding of what it took to be a youth worker. It is safe to say that this course was transformative for Matty, who, as the months went by became more confident, comfortable, and showed signs of him believing in himself. The 12-month course taught him the practical, social, and emotional skills that a youth worker needs, and Matty welcomed this learning with open arms. At the end of the 12-months, the group attended a residential to have some fun and consolidate their skills. Our youth worker mentioned that Matty shone:

“He was first up in all activities and took leadership in his pairing/groups. Even when some activities seemed difficult or scary, he was first to try and had a positive attitude towards it all and encouraged others to take their turn afterwards. He was the only person to reach the top of Jacobs Ladder – the most difficult activity of the weekend due to it being an individual task with lots of people observing and physically difficult. It wasn’t easy to complete but he persevered and continued. He confidentially and calmly figured out a way to complete it. This was a standout moment for both Matty and the group and we were all very proud of him”.

Matty is now a Junior Support Worker who works at our Sporty Saturday sessions.

*Names were changed for anonymity.

What our members (and former members) say…

“I feel like Avenues has helped a lot [with my mental health]. Lots of people there I trust and before I didn’t know where to go if I needed help. Avenues helped with that.” – Young person, aged 15

“I’ve felt more comfortable talking to staff and mates from Avenues than anyone else – I genuinely feel like I can talk and be heard. They are genuinely there for you. I love the connection there, it’s like a second home.”- Young person, aged 16

“Avenues showed me how to see the difference between friends and people who won’t bring anything to your life. It taught me how to respect myself.” – Young person, aged 16

“The best thing about The Avenues is the people because everyone helps each other. Both the staff and the children, whoever you are, they will help you.” Young Person, aged 11

“It’s like your second home and you get to learn new stuff, like you get educated in a fun way.”
AA, 14

“I think in The Avenues you feel a sense of community. It’s easier to talk to people,especially if you have mutual ground. I might know I can go to this guy and continue the conversation there.” – Isabel – Young Person

“Avenues has made me feel proud of myself.”
RW, 10

“I now feel more comfortable to just talk. Now if there’s no conversation I’ll find something to talk about. I feel more confident with being myself as I see I make people feel comfortable.” – Maya – Young Person

What parents say….

“Avenues for the children is home from home. I say that they are my son’s second family. The staff, the encouragement, the mentors, the group work.

Young males growing up in the urban community, they can see there’s more to life than the environment we’re living in. There’s opportunities and it makes their minds more focused, you live what you learn. When you go through the doors at Avenues it’s like a safe haven. Avenues for me has been a life saver.”

“I knew how important Avenues was before, because I never had to worry about what I would have to do in half-term and I always knew my daughter was learning new things and interacting with people. But the Coronavirus food service became more personal, the relationship is much deeper, the appreciation is much deeper. It is like a family, a deep-rooted community belonging. It’s not just a youth centre, it is a community belonging and safe-haven. I am really happy, appreciative and I am really grateful.”

“Avenues is essential, and not many facilities have ways of including children with varying disabilities, and Avenues really makes sure [my daughter’s] welcome and treated like everyone else. It’s a staple of the community.”

“Avenues is a fantastic initiative and we commend you and all of your team for the brilliant work you’re doing.”

What others say…

“The Avenues is an exceptional Youth Project, which has earned respect for the work it delivers from the young people it serves, the wider community and the Council. It is located in an area of significant need, with high levels of serious youth violence, and it successfully engages and diverts young people (8 – 18 years) into positive activities. As an organisation it is constantly developing its staff and looking for new and innovative opportunities for their young members and the staff have excellent engagement and outreach skills.

Avenues is now integrated into a wider network of Early Help services, which is knitted together through a trauma informed approach. Avenues always go that ‘extra mile’ to meet the needs of young people whilst also ensuring that they have robust plans in place to report back on progress. As an organisation they have much to share in spreading good practice.”

Jayne Vertkin, Head of Early Help and Youth Offending, Family Services, City of Westminster

“I am one of the Dedicated Ward Officers for Queen’s Park Ward. I have worked closely with The Avenues Youth Project for over ten years and have seen the great work they put in to divert young people from crime and gang membership.

The Youth Centre is situated on the border of two gang territories and people can be targeted simply for being from one area, or being friends or related to someone.

The Avenues offers a safe area for Young People to better themselves and creates opportunities where there would be very little others.”

PC Dave Hammond, Metropolitan Police

“Thank you so much for taking the time to show us around The Avenues and talk to us – it was so brilliant and everybody left really buzzing about how good it was!

We all came away feeling inspired and so pleased we were able to visit such an incredible organisation delivering amazing support.”

Daisy Ryan, Regional Officer, BBC Children in Need