Training & Education Project of the Year – Youth Matters Awards 2016

YMCA Positive Placements is a YMCA DownsLink Group (YMCA DLG) initiative which secured the award for Training & Education Project of the Year at the Youth Matters Awards 2016.

YMCA DLG runs the project in Horsham, Mid Sussex, Brighton & Hove and it is soon to start in Guildford. As a training and education project it sets out to support disadvantaged young people aged 16 – 25 years old to obtain education, employment or training. It achieves this by connecting young people with mentors in their local communities.  It then provides the support necessary for them to overcome their barriers and achieve their goals.

This is achieved by recruiting and training local volunteer mentors and then matching them with a young person who needs support. The mentor and mentee meet at least once a week for at least one hour to identify the mentees goals and formulate step-by-step action plans to achieve them. The relationship continues for up to one year.

Positive Placements is particularly innovative.  It unites YMCA DLG’s priorities of transforming communities, tackling youth unemployment and the positive impact of meaningful occupation. In addition, the support is one to one and tailored to a young person’s individual situation and needs. Not only can it support a young person’s readiness for work but can also enable them to:

  • Build confidence & self-belief
  • Develop & recognise their potential
  • Gain new experiences
  • Develop an understanding of their responsibility to their community
  • Develop social skills
  • Build work related skills

Key Achievements

Positive Placements has established strong partnerships for referral and signposting across our local area, being able to reach a diverse range of young people.

  • YMCA accommodation services
  • Job Centre Plus
  • Youth Offending Teams
  • Mid Sussex Think Family initiative for marginalised families, organisations working with youth and community groups.
  • Work & learning groups, across local authorities


YMCA Story:

Lucy was struggling with homelessness and other issues – Positive Placements is making a difference.  Read more here.