What we do
1. Street Based Youthwork:
On Three evenings a week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) Teams of trained staff and volunteers meet at a base to prepare themselves and then go out on the streets of Perth City Centre to meet and have conversation with young adults. Most of these encounters are with known young people and so the conversations can be quite varied, and yet recently we have met some groups who are new to us. We sometimes give out cards or information about other agencies in the town, but most of the time we listen to the young people, ask questions about their situation and suggest strategies for dealing with things. Ususually we have two teams out in the City centre on a friday and one on thursdays and saturdays as they tend to be quieter. By about 11 when most of the young people have left the city centre on the buses the teams head back to the base and spend about an hour talking about their experinces on the night, reflecting on the highs and lows, recording brief details of the evening and actions needed in the future.
2. Schools Based Youthwork
In Two schools, St Johns Academy and Perth College, two of sidewalk team walk around the school playgrounds during the lunch break, and , in the same way as the street based youthwork, meet and have conrsations with young people but in a school setting. Often conversations relate to the stresses of school life, teachers, pupils and exams, for others it is a chance to let off steam or to talk about anything else. Similarly where we can give advice we do, and again the team return back to the base to briefly write up the events of that session. In Comparison to the street based work it can be more difficult developing conersation in the school playground as it is obvious that the lunch time is the time for the young people to catch up with their friends after challenging mornings in the classroom, and so it is often wise not spending too much time with groups unless they are up for it. Yet the work in the school has complimented the street based work, many young people we see in both settings and others have got to know us in the school and then developed relationships on the streets where there is more time to do so.
3. Street Based Youthwork in North Muirton
Fortnightly since October 2009, the Sidewalk project has worked in the North Muirton Area of Perth. This involves the same working style and practice as the City Centre work, but in a smaller area. Usually the sessions start at 8 and we are finished by 10.30 as the critical times tend to be about 9-10 when the shops are shutting and young people leave on buses. The project has worked alongside staff at Riverside Church to do this as they have recognised the need to build relationships at a voluntary informal level with young people in the estate. Because the relationships with young people are quite new ( with the exception of Keith who knows everyone from Street Sports) most conversations revolve around football, north muirton and school which is great to begin with and as we are more well known things may develop further. The empasis is the same as the city centre work with information, guidance and support offered. Links between the work in North Muirton and The City Centre have been varied, on a couple of occasions young people have seen The sidewalk teams in two venues as they have started a night out in the City centre then gone home and seen us in North Muirton! With the City Centre being slightly quieter recently it has been good to see how young people are staying in their community rather than be in the city centre, and many young people have recognised us from the city centre work.
4. One to One work
Another focus of the work is to develop individual relationships with young people, often this is done through the time spent with them in sessions as described above, we can the offer to contact the young person, arrange to meet up or have conversation online through the BEBO site or just phone every now and then. Some young people have been known to us for over two years now and have meet with us both formally and informally in that time. Some young people we have met we have arranged with them to go to specific alcohol counselling ( connect) or refer them to college, employent, courses at Perth YMCA or the Princes Trust. As with all the work with the project the intention is to respect and support the young person, journeying with them through the ups and downs of their situation, forming a relationship that in the long term with help the young person.