Can you tell me about yourself?
I am 16 years old, I live in Brighton and hove and go to Blatchington mill school and I’m about to start my GCSE exams. Also I love the colour purple 😉
How long have you known Helen for?
I have known Helen for a few years now, I first met her when I went to the young woman’s group for the first time.
What got you involved in the youth work project?
I got involved in the youth work project when I first moved to Hangelton as some of the friends I made at my new school went to groups with them and brought me with them.
What were your first impressions of Helen?
I liked Helen from the minute I met her, my first impressions of Helen was she was a very bubbly, funny and caring lady who was understanding and not patronising.
She was very motivational beforehand and made me less anxious.
Is the relationship with her as a youth worker different in any way to other relationships that you have with other professionals?
I think of Helen as a friend as well as a youth worker, I do not have any relationships with professionals, like teachers, like I do with Helen, I can trust her with my life and always feel comfortable around her.
In terms of your participation in the youth work project and the campaign what support did you get from Helen?
Through out the youth work campaign I had non stop support from Helen, when I went to Hove town hall to ask questions at the council meetings, she was very motivational beforehand and made me less anxious.
What role have you taken?
My role in the campaign was more speaking to the local politicians and asking questions, holding decision makers accountable and showing up at debates and meetings to support the campaign rather then making banners.
If you were to sum up what being involved in youth work meant to you and your relationship with Helen what would you say?
It has been amazing as well educational and motivational and the campaign, as well as Helen has given me a confidence boost in many ways, especially in expressing my opinion and sticking up for what I think is right.
by Pauline Grace (2017)
Pauline Grace is a youth worker and head of the MA programme youth work at Newman University in Birmingham/UK.
Photos: Portrait © Maddie, Demo © ProtectYouthService Campaign