Youth First is a community benefit society that spun out of Lewisham Council's youth service in September 2016. Born from the passion of both the staff and the council to create a means to sustain and ideally grow youth work in Lewisham, during a climate of continuing cuts and financial pressures across the public sector which elsewhere have served to end more traditional universal youth provision.
We set up a community benefit society where staff and young people are the owners of the not-for-profit organisation. The adopted participatory structure provides a framework to galvanise this passion and direct it to best meet the needs of young people. Staff and young people are directly involved in our management, meaning we’re truly young person centred and have a committed workforce.
We provide youth work to over 5,000 young people every year, delivered by over 50 directly employed staff working from 5 adventure playgrounds and 5 youth centres. Alongside our direct delivery we aim to be an umbrella for youth provision across Lewisham and to this end fund and partner with a range of other organisations who share our values and aspirations in a variety of ways.
We provide Lewisham’s young people with a universal open door youth offer of:
- Safe places to go
- Fun things to do and learn
- Help, support and early intervention from professional and passionate youth workers
Put simply, our vision puts Lewisham’s youth first.