An update on our outreach services

We like to keep our friends and supporters informed about our work and thought you might like an update about our outreach services.

Back in December 2011, with 5 year funding from the Big Lottery Fund, It’s Your Choice launched a new outreach project with the aim of improving overall support for young people in remote areas of the New Forest.

Specifically, we aimed to improve their:

physical & emotional wellbeing

access to mainstream & voluntary sector services

integration with the local community

health & social care employment opportunities through volunteering

What did we do?

Over the 5-year lifespan of the project, we delivered weekly information, advice and guidance (IAG) drop-ins all over the New Forest and delivered emotional health and wellbeing workshops in virtually all the secondary schools in the region. We also trained and supported young volunteers to work with young people.

What did we achieve?

Here are just a few ways in which we achieved the aims of the project:

2,332 young people accessed IAG on a wide range of emotional and practical issues, ranging from personal relationships and sexual health issues, to homelessness and serious mental health problems.

1,962 additional young people attended emotional health and well-being workshops at school, in the final year of the project, alone.

34 young volunteers received training and gained direct experience of supporting young people via our outreach services, supporting 747 young people during the lifetime of the project. 10 of these young volunteers went on to find  permanent employment in related support services as a result of the training and experience we provided them with.

What next?

Although the Big Lottery funding has come to an end we are pleased to report it is our intention, with support from the local community, to maintain our outreach service via weekly drop-in sessions from April 2017 onwards. We are currently aiming to provide 6 drop-ins a week across the Forest.

Chris Carey, Chief Executive of IYC says:

‘What this project has shown is that – year on year – there is huge demand from young people for open access, weekly drop-in support in the New Forest. Young people continually tell us they like to be able to access advice and guidance in this way rather than through formal appointments. They like the immediate response our staff and volunteers can provide, to deal with their worries and anxieties. Drop-ins also act as a front door for young people experiencing more serious problems, enabling It’s Your Choice to refer them into our other longer term support services or where necessary external specialist services. 

It is vital we keep these weekly drop-ins going. We are hugely grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for supporting us in the last five years but now this funding has come to an end we need replacement funding. Donations from the local community  is what will enable us to carry on this important work so if you can help in anyway – however small the donation – we will be hugely appreciative!’ 

Find out how you can support IYC here.