About the Organisation
Young Lewisham Project (YLP) has been running since 1975 providing services and support for vulnerable young people in Lewisham and surrounding boroughs.
Last year, YLP provided almost 1,400 hours of accredited programmes and activities to around 300 young people aged 11-18; this year we expect to reach at least 350. The majority of our young people come from low-income households (80% of our school referrals are eligible for Free School Meals) and all of our young people are disadvantaged in some way: excluded from school; involved with the youth justice system; at risk of gang activity; Looked After Children; or have mental health issues or Special Educational Needs (SEN). All have low self-esteem and confidence and are not achieving their full potential at school.
YLP fills gaps in local services by offering unique accredited programmes and activities, such as motorcycle and bicycle maintenance, carpentry, joinery and upcycling, digital media, music production, arts and crafts, cookery and gardening. Other Alternative Education Providers in the area only offer curriculum-based support, which for many of the most disengaged young people just isn’t working. By offering hands-on activities, we support young people to become active citizens, take self-responsibility and ultimately give them the skills, knowledge, confidence and self-esteem to make positive future life choices and increase their aspirations.
Lewisham, where YLP is based, is ranked in the top 20% on the Index of Multiple Deprivation and is the 6th poorest borough in London (based on households with income below 60% of the UK median). Our programmes benefit some of the most vulnerable and at-risk young people in our community, the majority of whom are from low-income households. This includes Looked After Children and we are working hard to improve the poor outcomes of this group; shockingly, in Lewisham the life expectancy of Care Leavers is only 45 years.
The Covid pandemic, followed by the Cost of Living crisis has taken a huge toll on young people’s mental health and this has led to a surge in demand for our service from our partners (local schools, Pupil Referral Units, Youth Offending Service, Social Services and the Leaving Care team): referrals have increased by 46% in the last year.
We have a strong track record in delivering to our client group. We are well known, respected and supported by our local community and referral partners. We work in close partnership with our stakeholders (referral partners, parents/carers, young people) and are constantly sharing good practice and taking on new ideas and ways of working. In recognition of our ongoing dedication to supporting young people in the borough, in 2022 we were chosen as the Lewisham Mayor’s Charity of the Year.
Our key outcomes are improving skills, knowledge, confidence, and self-esteem though activities to enable young people to have better life chances.
Young Lewisham project occupies two buildings on a residential road in Forest Hill, London SE23 2ER. One x two storey premises and one x single story (floor plans available)
They have agreed a 15 year lease with Lewisham Council and a three year peppercorn rent. This has enabled them to successfully raise funds towards refurbishing their buildings, some of which has already been invested in meeting some of the compliance requirements for the building, which includes fitting a new boiler, new electrical distribution board, new flooring, and undertaking some roof repairs.
They have also recently had their toilets refurbished for free and they are in receipt of a grant towards refurbishing their kitchen.
However, numerous reports and a building survey have been undertaken and they are aware that the property is need of further significant refurbishment, to establish a more welcoming and fit for purpose space. As well as the buildings themselves, the grounds outside need levelling and a platform for the trailers needs to be created, as well as making more storage for bikes and a place for young people to engage in fitness and sports activities like basketball.
The charity would therefore be grateful for offers of pro bono support to look at creative ways to optimise the buildings and outside space, to enable them to grow their service in response to growing demand, as well as to help ensure that they are compliant and safe.
The charity is flexible but there are repairs that need undertaking, so they would be grateful for support as soon as is convenient.