Reach Up Youth was established in the Burngreave area in 2013, hoping to build bridges between the community, residents and young people. It provides a mixed programme of social education and recreational activities within a safe and secure environment, which encourages young people to reach their full potential.
It is passionate about community cohesion and equality and provides a local network group that encourages and enables members of the BAME community to participate more effectively within their local area.
As Burngreave is a diverse community and one of the most deprived areas in Sheffield with discrimination, poverty, high unemployment rates as issues of knife crime, the organisation is aiming to help young people in the area to prosper with tailored programmes. It works to empower young people using leadership programmes and to divert attention from gang crime and anti-social behaviour with activities aimed to develop life skills and resilience, and supporting positive mental health especially during the pandemic.
Reach Up Youth uses mentoring schemes such as Big Brother Burngreave which was set up by young people for young people. In this, older members of the group act as ‘buddies’ to their younger peers.
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The group takes part in sports such as football and basketball and there are also frequent sessions to discuss and educate youngsters on issues such as knife crime, gang association and anti-social behaviour.
A new mentoring scheme has now been introduced called Sisterhood aimed at young girls aged 11 to 20 years old. It is targeted at girls of BAME heritage as they have restricted access to practice sports and activities. Some of the life skills young girls are taught differ from self-defence training, structured leadership and identity training.
A spokesperson for the group said: “Our success is measured by our easy access to resources and pathways. It’s not a just a project for us; it’s a lifestyle.”
Through sports, Reach Up Youth wants to create leadership, community champions and confidence in young people. Its aims are for the girls to become young leaders and help to build their self-esteem as there are lack of young girls represented in the professional world and the community.
The spokesperson added: “Our strategy is aimed at moving forward with alternatives for young youths and our communities. Including, employment skills, leadership programmes with qualifications, suicidal training and other safeguarding and creating small mental health hubs for young people.”
As well as going ahead with activities within Sheffield, the organisation also gives youngsters opportunities to go on trips outside the city, creating long-lasting memories. Last year these included a London day-trip and camping and filming for the Clinical Commissioning Group.
The organisation has links with people such as Sheffield Sharks head coach Atiba Lyons, Mark Ansell from BBC Look North, Coun Abtisam Mohammed and former MEP and Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Magid Magid who was with Big Brother Burngreave from its beginning.
The project has already helped more that 500 people in Burngreave, has been classified as the number one BAME Youth Organisation in the UK and has looked after 300 young people in school term events.
To find out more, visit www.reachupyouth.co.uk