Sidewalk Youth project is a registered charity (700733) that has been working in Scarborough for over twenty years. Founded by Churches Together in 1989, Sidewalk's emphasis is on 'meeting the needs of young people where they are'. We aim to challenge, support and encourage young people to build better communities together.
Sidewalk is currently headed up by Andrew Skinner along with our amazing team of sessional workers and volunteers!
As a youth work project our focus is on informal education and we engage with young people in a number of different ways:
Detached Youth Work
Detached youth workis as a unique and radical way of working with young people that has been at the heart of Sidewalk since its creation. Detached youth work differs from the traditional youth club in that instead of young people coming to us we go out to them and engage with them wherever they choose to meet.
We currently go out on the streets three nights a week building trusting relationships and drawing alongside young people, in an open and non-judgemental manner to support them in any way we can. Sometimes all we can offer is a listening ear, other times we can provide information and advice on particular issues. Working with other local organisations we can also signpost young people to various opportunities and resources.
Throughout history detached youth work has focused on the value of informal learning through conversation and dialogue. We encourage young people to talk about the issues that are most relevant to them. This could include anything from their interests and hobbies to drugs and alcohol or politics and relationships. In exploring these topics we encourage young people to voice their views and challenge them to explore their values, attitudes and
actions in relation to the world around them. As relationships develop we can begin to see the real needs of young people and work with them to meet these needs. This could be setting up a 5-aside football team or even helping them preparing for a job interview. We have to be flexible and respond to the ever changing situations.
Our interactions with young people on the street and in schools often act as a stepping stone to developing exciting opportunities. We work with young people to grow their ideas into experiences. Previous examples of group work include dance workshops, cooking projects and even 'Reality babies'.
Mentoring is also a key part of what we do at Sidewalk. We currently work three days a week in a local school. School can a tough place for many young people; academic pressures, fall outs with friends and problems at home can become a heavy burden to carry. Our trained mentors are there to listen and support young people, giving them the opportunity to get things off their chest and help them find practical ways forward. There is a great need for this support in our schools and we run at full capacity for much of the year. We are also hoping to develop a mentoring service outside of school open to all young people.
'Play' is an important part of life for both young and old! We organise activity trips that give young people the opportunity to venture beyond the borders of Scarborough and try new experiences. Previous outings include trips to skate parks, ice skating, rock climbing, kayaking and even a trip to York Minster to meet the Bishop! These experiences give young people the chance to develop new skills at the same time as developing confidence and awareness.
What it means to be a faith based organisation?
Sidewalk is faith based organisation that is founded on Christian values. Our vision is one of compassion, justice and fulfilment for all people regardless of ethnicity, culture, religion or sexuality. This vision is inspired by the life of Jesus and we seek to live this out in practical ways.
Our goal is never to coerce or pressurise anyone, it is to help and serve in any way we can. Sidewalk employs both 'Christian' and 'non-Christian' workers each with their own unique view of the world. We do not try to impose our worldview, whether secular or religious on anyone but instead seek to explore the common good and what it means to be human in the world today. The big questions of life are a central part of youth work and we encourage young people to be critically reflective on their journeys. We fully respect their right to make their own choices and develop their own views.
Where are we?
We are based in Scarborough. Our administration takes place at the Community Arts Centre Office at St James Church on Seamer Road which we share with FISS and the Arts Co-ordinator for the Centre. As a base for our detached work we use The Rainbow Centre on Castle Rd.