We held our first AGM on 22 March at the TNG Youth & Community Centre in Sydenham.
Over 100 staff, young people and partner organisations came along to hear about the progress we've made in the first year of operating as an independent community benefit society.
Youth First is 70% owned by its staff and 30% by young people of Lewisham and so it was great to see new staff getting their share certificates and our youth directors accepting theirs on behalf of young people across the borough.
Directors and staff representatives answered questions about the organisation and its plans for the future; peer mentors from Deptford Adventure Playground described their role and what it meant to them; and everyone watched the new video about the work we do.
CEO Mervyn Kaye praised staff for reaching significant milestones and positive change in a crutial year of transition from council to independent mutual, noting that "all of these achievements are on top of business as usual. They are in addition to the daily delivery of brilliant experiences, early intervention and support to the young people who come to our sites and projects."
Mervyn Kaye was honest about some of the major challenges which included:
- Increasing activity (Target of 5000 reach & 800 regulars by Aug 18)
- Increase funding outside of the London Borough of Lewisham (target of £400k by Dec 18)
- Removing infrastructure blocks (Solving ICT and property issues)
- Workforce Development (ensuring Youth First is a happy workplace)
- Improving further marketing and partnerships (embed ourselves in the community and with stakeholders that matter - Schools, parents, etc.)
- Future options/LBL bid post Aug 19 (How do we win another contract and what does that look like?)
The budget has clear capacity to fund investment which will help us meet these challenges and the presentation concluded with a positive outlook on some of the upcoming plans and activities:
- A new street based service
- A volunteer and alumni coordinator
- New workforce strategy
- Pilot for a new way of delivery at Bellingham Gateway
- Pilot 1-2-1 service for teenagers at risk
You can read our annual report (here) which was launched at the AGM and watch the mini-documentary video above.