On Friday 4 June, YMCA enjoyed the privilege of hosting Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran MBE, at our Community and Activity Village in Newark to show support for the launch of the charity’s Y’s Girls youth empowerment programme.
Baroness Barran was given a full tour of the Village whilst learning about the Y’s Girls mentoring scheme, which is calling for volunteer mentors to become positive role models by offering support to young women and girls at risk of developing mental health issues.
Working with social workers, schools and local police, Y’s Girls will connect vulnerable young women aged 9-14 with mentors from a range of different backgrounds in Nottinghamshire to positively influence their lives and decision making as they enter adulthood.
The programme adopts a youth work approach by providing proactive and preventative intervention to young women seen as most at risk of developing mental health issues, with mentors being recruited and trained by YMCA.
Speaking to Y’s Girls Project Coordinator Asma Iqbal at the event, Baroness Barran commented: “I think the very clear, very targeted mission that YMCA is bringing to the Y’s Girls by situating it within an incredibly ambitious project in Newark has intrigued me.”
Mentors will meet up with their mentee regularly over a 12-month period, no more than once a week for two hours, offering an informal environment with the opportunity to discuss anything that might be worrying them, from family and personal relationships, to lifestyle and education.
Nottinghamshire YMCA Group CEO Craig Berens said: “It is a real privilege to welcome Baroness Barran to our evolving YMCA Village to show her how we plan to transform the lives of young people and families across the region.
“With one-in-six children aged 5-16 in the UK now identified by NHS Digital as having a probable mental health condition, we are all too aware that mental health issues among this age range are rising dramatically.
“The additional pressures of the pandemic, coupled with consistent and damaging cuts to youth services over the last decade, have left many young people isolated and without essential support.
“Projects like Y’s Girls offer an invaluable chance to provide meaningful support to vulnerable young women at a critical stage in their development.”
Y’s Girls has been made possible by generous funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Tampon Tax Fund and the Garfield Weston Foundation.