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Young Advisors




Helping homeless people in their community

Young Advisors, Michael Fowler cooking up a treat

On the evening of 13 December 2010 a group of seven young people volunteered at the Highway of Holiness Church on Fountayne Road in Tottenham, preparing and serving a meal to local homeless people in Haringey.

The Young Advisors group, who are supported by Haringey Council’s Neighbourhood Management Service, are volunteering as part of the Young Londoners Friendly Neighbourhoods project, delivered by Groundwork London’s youth workers and funded by the Mayor of London’s office. The fund champions young people to make decisions about activities which they would like to see happen and supports them in taking charge of planning and developing their projects.

The group, aged 15-25, wanted to undertake the activity to benefit others in their community. They met with Reverend Alex Gyasi of the Highway of Holiness Church in Tottenham who invited them to work alongside the regular volunteers one evening preparing and serving a meal for a group of 40 homeless people who sleep at the church each night. The holistic programme provides them with breakfast and hot meals, English lessons, bible classes and access to the internet in order to look for jobs. Over 200 people have been involved since the project began over one and a half years ago.

The Young Advisors chose to make lamb and vegetable stew with dumplings, followed by cake for dessert. They shopped for all the ingredients and prepared, cooked and served the food. After clearing up the kitchen Reece Taylor, 19, shared that he felt a sense of achievement and said: “The volunteering was great fun, a positive experience and we learnt something new.”

Reverend Alex Gyasi said: “This project helps people on our doorstep who are suffering. It is refreshing that the young people have come and contributed to this cause. To have the desire to come and do something for homeless people is quite unique and is a very grown up, commendable attitude.”

Regular volunteers Pearl Asare and Mary Essuman were very positive about the extra assistance. Pearl commented: “I am really grateful for the young people who came here today to help us out. They are helping those who are homeless and on the edge of society and preventing them from falling into a downward spiral of drugs and alcoholism.”

The youth programme encourages the participation of young people in positive, practical changes within their neighbourhood to develop confidence, bring a sense of pride within their local communities and promote social cohesion. Research shows participation in extra-curricular activities promotes education attainment including low rates of school failure and dropout and improves motivation for learning.