The Abingdon DAMASCUS Youth Project has recently marked its 20th anniversary, youth worker James Quartermain explains ADYP and how it helps
The Abingdon DAMASCUS Youth Project (a voluntary and registered charity) enables young people to make a positive difference in their personal lives and in the communities in which they live.
The project has been embedded in the rural villages of Drayton, Appleford, Milton, Sutton Courtenay and Steventon for almost 20 years though, by request, recently widened their constitution and can now work throughout South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse districts. Current work is focussed in the five villages and South Abingdon.
To mark its 20-year anniversary and celebrate the achievements of the project and all the young people involved, the trustees of the Abingdon DAMASCUS Youth project (ADYP) hosted an award ceremony as part of their AGM, attended by more than 70 people where certificates were presented to 18 young people by the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Lady Jay of Ewelme.
Also, in attendance at the event were county, district and parish councillors of the five villages; police officers including Chief Inspector Matthew Bullivant and PCSO Alison Blood; Matthew Barber, the Deputy Police Commissioner; three head teachers including Chris Harris from Larkmead; and Vale council officers, as well as lots of young people and their relatives who came to see the awards handed out.
The ADYP offers a variety of different approaches to ensure the highest impact in the different communities in which we work.
We are out till late, in the parks or outside the shops under the gazebo. We are on the ground and available to directly respond to the issues young people raise in the sessions and work alongside them and their community to find a sustainable solution. These sessions are invaluable for those that lack the confidence or social skills to access services that require them to enter a professional setting.
We find that low confidence and self-esteem are among some of the biggest hurdles to young people’s positive social development and being able to value their ability to contribute. Many of those we support we do so one-to-one, working with an individual closely to identify and build their skills and strengths. We have helped many young people (and the occasional parent…) to take the next positive steps in their life, whether that be in the form of a career, education or further training.
Working so closely in the heart of the community and building strong ties with residents we are in an advantageous position to identify and respond to issues affecting the neighbourhoods we work in. Most recently we designed and delivered a workshop exploring the realities of county lines drug gangs and the exploitation of young people to which we invited both young people and parents to do their part in reducing the risks of child exploitation in their area.
Throughout the villages we work in we open weekly drop-in sessions for the local young people to come and socialise. These sessions provide a consistent and safe environment for young people and provides the opportunity to develop their sense of community.
Working at the preventative level we work closely with the local schools to offer support for those at risk of exclusion. We provide educational workshops in an informal style that aims to present a style of learning that is accessible and engaging for all participants.