The YMCA St Paul’s Group West London youth team are celebrating success in two categories at the first ever Young Ealing Foundation Awards. Youth Worker Ryan Kennedy was named winner of the Young Leader Award, whilst the YMCA SPG Crime Diversion Project won the Youth Violence Intervention Award.
The awards ceremony, hosted at University of West London, celebrated young people who have made a difference to their community, and the organisations and projects who support Ealing’s children and young people.
Ryan’s journey with YMCA SPG started after a family bereavement made him decide to attend YMCA Hayes youth boxing sessions as an outlet and escape from constantly feeling sad and negative at home. After a period of homelessness and sofa surfing, Ryan moved into supported accommodation at YMCA Hayes, where he engaged with the youth team. This opened his eyes to a new way of life – meeting friends and positive mentors – which encouraged him to volunteer with the youth team.
Since then, Ryan has developed from volunteering to taking on a Kick Starter Youth Worker role and is now an employee within the Youth Team. The Young Leader Award is recognition of him as a young role model who demonstrates exceptional leadership and has, through his passion, commitment and motivation, inspired other young people and those around him.
The YMCA SPG Crime Diversion Project supports young people facing immense challenges and barriers to reaching their goals. The young people the project supports are largely involved in complex serious violence, crime, gang affiliation and other challenges.
Our youth workers, through their approach, skills and lived experience, break down barriers and lead a positive path forward for these young people and integrate them into our larger open access youth programmes, including sports, employability, creative and youth sessions.
Charlotte Bawden, Youth Development Manager at YMCA St Paul’s Group, said:
We are so proud of our West London team being recognised for the impacting and meaningful work they do in the community. The Crime Diversion Project has helped dozens of young people and families through some of the most difficult times in their life. Ryan is an outstanding leader and we are excited to see what further achievements he will gain as he begins his youth work career.
The Crime Diversion Project was made possible thanks to a grant from John Lyon’s Charity, promoting the life-chances of children and young people through education. For further information regarding future funding and sponsorship opportunities within our youth work division, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org