There are over 120 young people aged 16 – 25 living in supported housing in hostels near Mill Road in Cambridge.

Rich Beckett, our Lead Youth Development worker for South and East Cambridge, talks about the work he has been developing to support young people who are living in three local hostels.

Richard Beckett

Through our work to be alongside with young people who are marginalised and experiencing disadvantage, we have been engaging with young people living in The Foyer, Railway House and YMCA.

Earlier this year, Romsey Mill received some funding to provide creative and flexible mental health support for young people in the YMCA and Railway House through group activities and 1:1 provision.

The year’s funding came from Fullscope, a consortium of organisations supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

In partnership with these hostels, and the young people themselves, I have been developing a range of weekly activities to help engage with them; provide opportunities to ‘get out’ and do things they would like to do; and provide support for their wellbeing. This has included offering one-to-one support for the young people; running a drop-in/detached session at each hostel; organising a football project on Parker’s Piece; music studio sessions; a boxing skills project; and setting up a creative space run by Arts & Minds, which is held at Railway House.

These young people have all been through, and are still going through, extremely traumatic situations. Being able to offer them some positive activities or time to chat gives them an outlet, someone to talk to and offer support.

One young person told me that a group we were running was the only thing that got them out of the hostel.

A 19 year-old girl from one of the hostels says: “It’s like therapy where I can open up and vent and they actually listen and try to help. Yasmin and Rich have helped me through a really difficult time in my life and are always there if I need them.”

Bridie Carson, Head of Accommodation, YMCA, says:  “YMCA Trinity Group is pleased to be working on a project with Romsey Mill especially one that supports the young people in Cambridge and their support and mental health needs that have grown during the pandemic. Our young people have struggled with Engagement, isolation and are nervous about attending activities outside of their usual environment. This project develops our community of support around and with our young people ultimately helping them to form community networks to support them through their pathway to independence.”