Youth project marks 20 years with cash boost

Laura McCardle
Monday, October 21, 2013

A long-established detached youth work project has secured funding to enable it to continue its work for a further three years.

Saffron Young People's Project is marking its 20th anniversary this year.
Saffron Young People's Project is marking its 20th anniversary this year.

Saffron Young People's Project (SYPP) in Leicester, which is marking its 20th anniversary this year, has been awarded £303,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.

The project was founded in 1993 by Ted Cassidy, a qualified youth and social worker, with the aim of working with young people living on the Saffron Lane estate in Leicester, one of the most deprived parts of the country.

He wanted to help them challenge the issues of living in a deprived area, including unemployment, racism and social exclusion.

Cassidy worked at De Montford University for more than 28 years, first as a lecturer in social work and then as director of strategic partnerships. He was awarded an MBE for services to culture and the community in 2008.

He is now a councillor for Leicester City Council, representing Fosse Ward.

SYPP works with young people aged between 11 and 19, running sports activities and offering confidential support, as well as providing advice on sexual health and wellbeing.

The project currently has more than 300 young people signed up to its confidential register and works with more than 250 young people every week.

Gary Fox, project manager, explained: “We go out onto the streets, parks and open spaces in Saffron Lane with kit bags containing various information and we talk to young people in their own time.

“I think that’s why it is so successful, there is no appointment necessary. Once we have gained a bit of trust, they open up and tell us some of the issues they’ve faced, and we will offer solutions.”

Fox thinks SYPP’s independence is the key to its success.

He said: “The feedback we tend to get, especially from parents, is that they see us as an informal educator. We haven’t got the strict guidelines of education or parenting, we can be a friend and an ally as well as an adviser.

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