In October 2016 we launched a new initiative called “The Young Leaders Programme.” An eight month long accredited course, where certain young people who regularly attend the Drop-in, can join the volunteer team for one day each week, taking on a number of day-to-day responsibilities within the Bell Tower.
Eight young people were selected out of 30 who applied. Each day of the week now has a different “young leader” assigned to help run the session. The young leaders are scored out of 15 for each session in a number of areas including punctuality, use of clean and positive language and being a positive influence on those around them. They can then earn prizes and awards at the end of each term for a culminative score of 80% or above. The young people on the program also keep a log of what they have done each week and must complete certain volunteering assignments over the year. Those who complete the programme will be awarded with an official ASDAN qualification in volunteering through Outset Youth Action.
The Young Leaders Programme has been designed to develop young people in the areas of self-esteem, reliability, capability and leadership skills in order to create lasting change in their lives.
I love being a Young Leader because I like helping and it is fun and I like have the opportunity to serve people and take responsibilities like taking money to the shops to buy stock. My day to day job is serving refreshments from behind the snack bar and organising the making of milkshake and hot chocolate on the days we give it out free. I take the numbers on a piece of paper and then prepare cups and make the right amount for everyone. I also clean, hoover, wash up and make signs for the bell tower like behaviour rules and other notices. I have to have good manners to be a good example and be nice to the staff. If there are any issues, I am always on hand to help. Chloe.”
“I spent the first few Fridays on the programme learning how to use things like the coffee machine and learning the routine. I also used this time to become more familiar with the staff, volunteers and regular visitors to the Bell Tower. By about week four, I felt very familiar and comfortable with the work, staff and volunteers. I was also greatly enjoying my work there. I felt I was also getting to know the drop-in and how my role made a difference. A few months into my role, I was asked to devise and run a volunteering event to take place during one of the Bell Tower sessions. I chose to run a healthy eating session and we made different fruit smoothies for the young people using a big blender. I researched recipes and with the help of the team leader, it was a success. The staff were generally a great help throughout my time at the drop-in and gave clear guidance. Looking back at my time at the drop-in, I feel that I have developed several new skills. I have also enjoyed the experience and learned the value of pushing myself and of service to others which gives me great pleasure. Sam”