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Visiting Youth Services in Basildon: Feb 2022

Police Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Roger Hirst and Cllr Louise McKinlay, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community, Equality, Partnerships and Performance at Essex County Council visited the Basildon Hub of Essex Youth Service on Monday.

Essex Youth Service is an informal education, social and personal development service that supports young people across Essex and as such runs a wide range of activities, groups and opportunities for young people to access and be part of. The Basildon visit was to see some of the specific groups running out of the Hub and meet the young people directly supported by these services.

Both Mr Hirst and Cllr McKinlay were specifically interested in how the projects are supporting the recently announced Levelling Up agenda, and how through the Youth Work in Hospital Groupwork sessions, money from the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit is helping young people access support within their communities to reduce further hospital admissions.

In this particular session the young people were making Wellness candles with scents and colours that are designed to relax or rejuvenate them. This is just one of many group activities that the young people take part in which are designed to reduce social isolation, build on their confidence, self-esteem and resilience and generally let them have fun and make new friends in a safe setting whilst having meaningful conversations with their support staff.

While at the Basildon Hub, as well as attending a hospital groupwork session, Mr Hirst and Cllr McKinlay also met with attendees from the Plan B employability traineeship – a 12 week learning programme that supports young people aged 16 – 24 gain skills and qualification in small classroom learning environments. The young people spoke enthusiastically about the encouragement and support they receive and the chance to work towards formal skills in a more relaxed environment.

Finally, they observed the Young Carers group which is a support group for those young people who find themselves in a caring role for a family member. The group was watching a pirate themed magic show by Flying Seagulls – who accidentally set off the fire alarm with one of their tricks. Mr Hirst in particular was very pleased to see how well everyone responded to the alarm and evacuated!

The visit was a great success, and the young people welcomed the opportunity to share their experiences with both visitors.