Big Lottery project launched to improve the lives of care leavers and young offenders

Monday, 3rd September, 2012
Y-POD is a £1million Big Lottery Fund project which will work with some of the most disengaged young people in Leicester city as they leave care or young offenders institutes. Intensive one to one support will improve their opportunities in housing, health, education, employment and training.

Launching today, Y-POD will transform the way that local organisations work together by sharing expertise and enabling new services to be created in direct response to the needs of young people. One of the biggest Lottery grants to be attracted by Leicester in recent years has been generated by the partnership between Leicester YMCA, Leicester City Council, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and Connexions Leicester Shire. The skills of other organisations will also be instrumental in helping young people to develop their own long term solutions.

There is extensive evidence that care leavers and young offenders face many barriers and have poorer outcomes than others their age, for example: overall 6.3% of Leicester’s 16 – 18 year olds were not in education, employment or training in January 2012, whereas it was nearer to 25% for looked after children and 21% for young people known to the youth offending service.

A role for young people
The Young People's Shadow Board have been actively involved in selecting the staff team and shaping the service. Their engagement over the next three years will ensure Y-POD is relevant and can help young people to progress in their lives. The board gives former looked after children and young offenders the opportunity for structured governance training and personal development. (Pictured: Shadow Board Members Sokol, Abbey, Sanchez and Brian)

“I first went into care when I was 11 and was in and out of care until I was 16. The treatment I received in care was very good. When I was 18 I was on a downfall and ended up in Glen Parva serving a six month sentence for a robbery I had felt pressured into doing. Whilst inside I realised that prison wasn’t for me and I’m glad I had a chance to turn my life around. I am currently on an apprenticeship with Leicester City Council working in leisure and I am now completing my gym instructors training.

When the Shadow Board first introduced itself last year it caught my eye because I’ve been through a lot myself and to have the chance to contribute back and put a young person’s life back on track attracted me.”
Sanchez, Young People’s Shadow Board Member (pictured left with Sokol)

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