A message from Jenifer Cameron, CEO
December is always a time for reflection as we look back on the year just gone.
Last January we were living with covid uncertainty as omicron arrived following a quieter-than-usual Christmas season. That uncertainty hovered over us for the next few months; was there going to be another lockdown or were we able to drive forward with the world opening up? At Action4Youth a great deal of our work is with or through schools and schools were cautious in their planning until after the Easter holidays so there was a knock-on effect until May.
From January we began to rebuild our teams which had been so badly diminished during the pandemic and it was great to welcome back old colleagues and many new team members. Their new energy was a real boost to those of us who had battled through the crisis.
From spring we were in full delivery mode with all programmes going flat out, a remarkable change of pace and focus after the siege mentality of the previous pandemic period. Having emerged from covid we were faced by war in Europe and the consequent economic pressures. It has felt like crisis upon crisis for anyone trying to run an organisation.
Action4Youth remains robust. In financial terms this year takes us back to pre-pandemic turnover and close to the same number, 25,000, young people with whom we have worked in the year. We look forward with optimism despite the difficult economic conditions and continue to plan to grow, extend and improve our provision for young people.
The Caldecotte Xperience provided a much-needed safe haven.
Bursting at the seams the summer saw over 5000 young people making memories.
Libraries have been seen in a new light! Our innovative partnership was shortlisted for an award. The Junction provided a safe warm place for thousands of young people in High Wycombe seven days a week. With the cost of living crisis and mental health higher than ever, The Junction has record numbers.
Over 1000 young people took part in the National Citizen Service that captured hearts and minds raising over 24k for local charities. A bumper summer and autumn programmes enabled thousands of young people to raise their potential.
With rising numbers of stabbings, The Breakout programme has been tackling tough questions and challenging attitudes towards knife crime and gangs. Great to visit the powerful 27ft Knife Angel statue in Milton Keynes with A4Y Ambassador Sir Francis Habgood, former Chief Constable of The Thames Valley Police.