‘Aren’t you just a youth club?’ ‘Silx is for Kids isn’t it?’ ‘I don’t know what it is that you do’……. These comments have all been said to us more than once so with that in mind we thought we would shout from rooftops exactly what it is we do, well we are not actually going to get up on the roof but this blog post is sure to do the trick…..
Silx Youth Project was primarily set up as a Youth Club back in 1996 but fast forward 21 years and we are certainly much more than that!
For a number of years now Silx has ran three projects: Teen Bar which is open Monday-Thursday 5pm until 8pm for young people aged 11-19. We also have our detached project where our detached team work out on the streets of Blyth every Wednesday and Friday with the aim of building positive relationships with young people who may choose not to access any centre based youth provision. Finally we have our Silx Employability Project which is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 12pm-3pm for 16-25 year olds and thanks to LA7 ESF funding our employability project will now also be open on Thursdays from 5th October.
Our Employability Project attracts lots of young people every session, infact in the last year 174 young people accessed the service, we have trained youth workers and an information, advice and guidance worker on hand every session to help support the young people with CV writing, Job Search, Job applications, Online training, external training and Apprenticeships but as well as employability we offer a lot more than that….
We have a caring ethos as Silx so although the project is called ‘Employability’ the workers also offer support and advice on Debt, Housing, Benefits, Budgeting, Drugs, Alcohol, Health & Hygiene, Mental Health, Sexual Health and anything else that may be a barrier to the young people progressing. We work very closely with training providers and other support services so if we cannot directly help with an issue we always refer the young people to someone that can and continue to offer our support.
Since 2016 Silx has been an AQA Accredited centre and we offer a whole range of Awards through their Unit Award Scheme that the young people can complete in house with a worker. As well as the AQAs we also have lots of online short courses that the young people do such as Asbestos Awareness, Manual Handling, Working at heights, Health & Safety in the workplace, Safeguarding, Equality & Diversity and more. Over 150 awards and courses have been completed in the last year.
Obtaining a CSCS card is something that everyone that wants to work in construction needs to complete; the process is very expensive and for a young person that is unemployed its highly unlikely that they could afford to do it. Silx Employability Project can fund this entire process, we offer the IOSH Working Safely course in house and once that has been completed the young people can then go on to sit their CSCS test and get their 5 year labourers card. This scheme has proved very popular and we have helped over 100 young people obtain their CSCS card since 2013.
CV, Job Search & Applications
Young people can complete their Job Search in our sessions and have access to the internet, laptops, telephone and printing facilities. Our workers are also on hand to help with CV writing and filling application forms. We have helped 61 people get a job in the last year.
Housing,Benefits & Budgeting
Housing and money are major contributing factors that stop a lot of young people progressing. We have created a young tenancy guide in collaboration with Northumberland County Council and Homes for Northumberland, this guide shows young people how to do things like set up their utilities, how to clean, how to pay their bills, how to cook and how to budget. Workers can also support young people with benefit claims and regularly do budgeting exercises with young people so they can manage their finance and not get into debt.
Interview Support & Expenses
We understand that going to interview or an appointment can be a daunting experience for some young people, we also understand that bus fare and work clothing can be things that our young people simply cannot afford when they are unemployed so we can supply travel money, work clothes & PPE and our progression worker can take our young people to appointments and offer support while they are there if this is needed.
We are very proud of what we have achieved here at Silx and we must be doing something right as young people that we have supported always come back to let us know how they are doing and we are the always first place they come if they need any further support. We are so pleased to have received the funding to offer an additional session on Thursdays and we have no doubt in our minds that this session will prove just as popular and useful to our young people.
So, after reading this post we hope that now when you hear the name Silx you will think of more than ‘just’ a Youth Club…..
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