Leatherhead Youth Project is a youth charity in Surrey, offering a diverse range of projects which address a particular local need whilst providing holistic and long-term support and opportunities to the disadvantaged local young people.
In the 12 years since it began, LYP has gone from one youth worker running an afternoon youth club to having eight members of staff, leading faith and community projects for over 350 young people across Mole Valley. They even received royal attention in February when the Earl of Wessex visited.
One of LYP’s latest initiatives is Allsaints Coffee Shop, based at All Saints church, a social enterprise that provides jobs and training for young people. This is on top of BFree Youth Café – a safe, positive place for young people to hang out after school, which has been running from the start of the project.
The LYP team has a combined total of 40 years’ experience in delivering youth work to Leatherhead. A fifth of those come from general manager, Joe Crome, who has been with the charity since 2009.
Jo said: “LYP is about providing community. It’s about offering young people the support they may need and opportunities that they may not usually have. And really the goal is to take them all the way through their teenage years, and get them to adulthood with good mental health.
“We love it when those coming through become volunteers in the future.”
Martin Fuller is one such member. He started attending LYP when he was 12 years old and eventually became a youth worker after seeing its impact.
Martin said: “I remember being outside and thinking ‘why do I want to be in a church?’ I ended up going almost every day for five or six years.
“I noticed something about the youth workers here, something else in their lives, I asked them about that and they thought it was probably their faith. So I did a Youth Alpha course, got baptised when I was 18 and it just felt right to become a youth worker and go down that route.”
More information about LYP can be found here: www.leatherheadyouthproject.com