Youth workers to bridge gap and act as advocates

Emma Edwards has recently taken on the role of community youth worker for Steyning, Upper Beeding, Bramber and Ashurst
Emma Edwards has recently taken on the role of community youth worker for Steyning, Upper Beeding, Bramber and Ashurst

YOUNG people in the Steyning area will be offered a clearer voice in future, with the introduction of a new youth worker.

Emma Edwards has recently taken on the role of community youth worker for Steyning, Upper Beeding, Bramber and Ashurst.

She is part of a new team of six, working with Horsham Matters to support young people aged 11 to 19 in the whole district, in five clusters.

Formerly a youth worker in London, Emma, 26, completed a degree in youth and community work with applied theology at Cardiff University.

She has just moved to Brighton from Bexhill, where she was doing youth work with a baptist church and school.

“We are looking at what is existing and what needs to be added,” she said.

“We will be consulting with young people about what activities they would like to have and will be supporting positive youth activities that are carrying on.

“We are aiming to continue, expand and develop. Watch this space.

“Our motto is standing in the gap, between the community and young people, acting as an advocate for young people.”

Based at the Cuthman Centre in Steyning, Emma will also be working at Upper Beeding Sports Hall and in the field on detached work and projects. She will not, though, be involved with any new skate park, as that is not part of her remit.

An open evening is planned, along with a youth forum for young people to share their needs with the community. The team is also hoping to arrange summer provision, for example a barbecue.

“We will be managing the transition for the young people and ensure they still have stuff to do,” said Emma.

She has been speaking at parish council meetings in the last few week, to introduce herself, and meeting people in the schools, as well as the former youth worker at the Cuthman Centre, Julie Chapman, who is moving to work in Horsham under the youth service.

“We are all starting together, so it is more exciting and we are all getting support from each other,” she added.

“We are all qualified youth workers, of a similar age, and all have our own specialism. I have done a lot of pastoral care, working with teenagers on health and social care. One has knowledge of music, one specialises in autism needs and another deals with self-harming. We are also all being trained in safeguarding.”

She said it was nice to have a fresh start and a fresh pair of eyes. The team is creating new branding, with Community Youth Work as the umbrella name.

“It is a new project for all of us,” said Emma. “It is universal, open to all young people, as opposed to being targeted youth support.”

Volunteers are needed to help run activities. Contact Emma Edwards at emmaedwards@horsham-matters.org.uk or call 07702492828.

“There are loads of opportunities coming up and it is about trying to get a ‘well’ of a team,” she said.