Best Project with Lasting Impact Award

At the 2020 Young Advisors Awards, the Sefton Young Advisors team won the award for ‘Best Project with Lasting Impact’. This award celebrates the work of one specific project undertaken by a YA team in the last year that has or will inform local services or change the way in which things are done.

Sefton Young Advisors were commissioned by the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) to undertake research in Youth Violence and Community Safety. The VRP is designed to bring a wide range of partners, including the Police, local authorities, health and education professionals, community leaders and other key stakeholders together to adopt a public health approach to tackling serious violence. The VRP has a focus on reducing crime by preventing children and young people from entering into criminal activities in the first place.

Sefton Young Advisors were commissioned to deliver consultation with children and young people across Sefton. The team has a successful track record of delivering consultation and participation activity with children and young people. This experience means that they were able to carry out consultations with a wide range of groups: tailoring innovative consultation activities to the different age groups and abilities.

Sefton Young Advisors were able to consult with over 500 young people from across all 22 wards within the borough and engage them in conversations about community safety, root causes of violent crime and possible interventions and support.

The findings were fed back to the Violence Reduction Partnership, Merseyside Police, Local Elected Members and the local area committees.

This work has resulted in conversations and strategies on how the police can build and maintain strong and trusting relationships with young people. It has also led to new services being delivered in Sefton to support young people.

Asked why she felt her team should win, their interim team lead said, “90% of the Young Advisors team that delivered this piece of work were in their first 6 months of the role. They worked closely with the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), showed real initiative, and creativity to hold conversations that can be difficult and sometimes personal. I think that this is an exceptional achievement for such inexperienced YAs. This piece of work was also the first piece of youth-led, peer-to-peer consultation led by the VRP.”

Young Advisors Awards 2020- celebrating our teams and individuals.

Young Advisors Awards 2020

At the end of 2020, we held our annual awards for Young Advisors teams and the communities and partners they work with. We would like to share with you some of the amazing individuals, projects and impact our teams have made across England.

We are starting with our Young Advisor of the Year- Katy from Walthamforest.

Of the many Young Advisors awards,‘Young Advisor of the Year’ is one of the most hotly contested.  The winner of this award is recognised locally and nationally for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the charity.

This year’s winner is Katy Thompson, a Waltham Forest Young Advisor and her team’s Streetbase co-ordinator.  

Katy joined the Young advisors charity way back when the charity had just launched (and when she was just 12). Through the years she has worked on so many Young Advisors commissions and projects, from training councillors on how to engage young people to becoming a peer trainer in substance misuse, to be an accredited Youth Mental Health Ambassador and the lead member on the council’s Life Chances Task Force.

Katy took charge of a project called Streetbase back in 2019 when she was successfully recruited in a competitive process to a 3-year contract as the WF Streetbase coordinator and she has shaped the Waltham Forest programme into the incredible success it is today. Funded by the Mayor of London’s Young Londoner’s fund, Streetbase sees young people aged 15-24 head out on patrol in places identified as being hot spots for young people to sign post to career or leisure opportunities.WF Streetbase engaged over 800 ‘at risk’ young people in the borough in its first 7 months (June-Dec 19) and referred over 600 young people onto activities, services and support.

Katy and some of the Streetbase TeamAsked about her recent award Katy had to say “I truly am grateful and was completely surprised at winning the YA of the Year award. I didn’t get a chance to thank everybody who voted for me. I don’t hold this title lightly, as I know there were many strong candidates nominated for the award. So I look forward to the year ahead, in the hope that I continue to lift up the YA/Streetbase brand, spreading sparkles and pink energy everywhere!”

Katy often leads patrols herself and is a positive role model for all the team she oversees; there are now 52 Streetbase-trained YA & YIAG and Katy supports them by maintaining contact, having 1-2-1’s, and distributing work through her patrol schedules, being sensitive to individual needs.

She has also been innovative during the pandemic and led the transition to socially distanced patrols as well as doing new virtual work including increased social media presence, collating youth activities and services in a virtual ‘support hub’ and leading a new Streetbase 121 / peer mentoring initiative working with young people referred through the Adolescent at Risk team within the Early Help Service.

Not only is Katy’s work having an impact on some of the most vulnerable young people in Waltham Forest, she is also responsible for engaging and supporting her team (Young Advisors & YIAG aged 16-25 years), and improving their skills, expertise and life chances.

BLM Statement

As a board/charity we wanted to share our thoughts on the recent Black Lives Matter protests across the UK sparked by the murder of George Floyd in the USA. We share the anger, pain and frustration towards systemic racism in the recent BLM protests worldwide. We want to emphasise our commitment to always stand in solidarity with and champion the voices of black young people across the country.

We are proud of our diversity, empowering young people from all backgrounds to ultimately deliver change in communities across the country. We recognise and actively work to alleviate racial inequality and prejudice in all sectors. This is exemplified in our work empowering youth voices in the criminal justice system, health and education. We continue to advise and consult key national stakeholders ranging from the Metropolitan Police, NHS England and local authorities.

We urge our whole network and beyond to sign petitions, donate money and have conversations about racism with friends and family. As a youth-led charity we understand the importance of grassroots change. We will always stand as allies to all black people in all communities.

Streetbase WF: Young People Listening to and learning from each other

I am Katy, a 22-year-old from the London Borough of Waltham Forest in London, who leads my local council’s peer-to-peer engagement programme, Streetbase.

I started working with the London Borough of Waltham Forest as a Young Advisor when I was just aged 12. Through the WF Young Advisors, I was able to strengthen my skills in public speaking, build connections with residents and make my voice heard when it came to making decisions about young people.

For the last 10 years, I have been a strong advocate for including young people at the heart of everything the council does. Now, being a mother to a 2-year-old, I am even more passionate about making similar opportunities open to young parents and independent mothers.

This is where Streetbase comes in.

What is ‘Streetbase’?

Streetbase is a programme funded by the Mayor of London’s Young Londoners Fund, which was set up to help reduce violent crime in the city. It has been running successfully in Southwark over recent years, and we, Waltham Forest Young Advisors, thought it would work well in our borough.

Thirty six Young Advisors and Youth Independent Advisory Group (YIAG) members, all aged 16–25, receive training in conflict management, risk assessment, observational awareness, self defense and how to make an incident referral.

We work alongside our partners — including the local youth engagement police officers and the borough’s Anti-Social Behaviour team — to find the places where young people are hanging out. Being young people born and educated in the borough, we tend to know most of the places where young people tend to meet.

Once these ‘hotspots’ are identified it is my job as the Coordinator to devise a rota and send our Streetbase patrollers out to those areas where they then engage with the young people. Our patrols go out 3–5 times a week, and for 3 hours per patrol. We have four Streetbase members on each patrol, each with a lead who is at least 18, is DBS checked and has safeguarding training.

Engaging with young people

During our engagement we find out five key things from young people: their age, postcode, interests, suggestions for the borough, and whether they would be considered “hard to reach”. For example they may have special educational needs, attend a pupil referral unit, are not in education, employment or training, are in care or a care leaver, or a young carer.

Waltham Forest Young Advisor (and Streetbase Patroller) Benji, engaging in a ‘hotspot’ location in the borough

Waltham Forest Young Advisor (and Streetbase Patroller) Benji, engaging in a ‘hotspot’ location in the borough

I say, “hard to reach”, as this is often said about the young people who fit in these categories. However, during my experience as a Young Advisor and Streetbase Coordinator, I found that young people in these groups are very willing to be involved and part of whatever comes their way. They just need to be considered, as they are often overlooked, and approached in the right way, by young people who often have similar life experiences.

Not all young people have access to the council or know how to go about creating change in their community. Streetbase has given often underrepresented voices the chance to shape the future and a sense of ownership over their borough. This is especially by giving each young person a chance to suggest something that’s missing from their neighbourhood, for example a youth space, cooking classes or career fairs.

With these five main pieces of information we are able to track the needs of young people and understand which cohorts we are engaging and who we are missing out.

Using the data

After we have received the above information and it is recorded on our ‘Streetbase Referral Forms’, we then upload it on our contact database, so we are able to signpost them to activities of relevance as and when an opportunity arises.

We select these activities from our ‘Streetbase database’, which stores information on all activities, clubs, events, apprenticeships, vocational courses, workshops in the borough — you name it, we’ve got it. It is a live document, so it is constantly updated and being worked on.

Building relationships

The 36 Streetbase patrollers all have their own background stories and journeys, which any young person on the street may be able to relate to. Therefore, all Streetbase patrollers are encouraged to build connections and maintain relationships, with the young people they encounter. This way, most of the young people we engage with, can feel supported and listened to by someone who’s been in their shoes.

On one of my first ever Streetbase patrols, we were at an event in Leytonstone, when I came across a young girl holding a little baby in her hands. As I went over to her, all formal introductions dropped, and we instantly connected as soon as I said, “I’m a mum too”. Through our casual chat, we were able to relate to each other on our experiences of being a young mum and the hardships we have gone through.

But this wasn’t just about looking back — it was also about our plans and aspirations for the future; not just as mums, but for ourselves as aspiring individuals. Although she was just 17 years old, with a 9-month-old baby at the time and I am in my early 20s with a 2-year-old, we understood each other on a level our parents and close friends couldn’t. Since meeting each other in June of this year, we have stayed in contact, had playdates with our daughters and I often pop up to her with the latest services offered by our Early Help department, for which she is always grateful.

Streetbase Waltham Forest on BBC News in August 2019

Streetbase Waltham Forest on BBC News in August 2019

This is not the first, and most certainly not the last, you will hear of stories such as mine, where strangers on the street are able to connect and confide in each other.

Tackling violence in our borough

Imagine young boys speaking to a Streetbase patroller who has been a part of a gang or been through the criminal justice system. Think of the impact their experiences can have on their lives, in just a matter of minutes.

This is exactly how Streetbase can help tackle youth violence.

We link in with the young people on the streets and can direct them to a positive path that may secure their future. I believe if we continue to work in ways like this — having relatable people for our young residents to look up to — people who will not give up on them and give them a kick up the backside when needed — then sure enough, we will begin to see a turn around of young people’s attitudes and behaviours.

Right now, we need to see reducing violence in our borough as something that we all need to take responsibility of. Not just label it “youth violence” and exclude ourselves from the issue, as that will also be removing us from the solution.

That’s why we are so enthusiastically part of the Violence Reduction Partnership, because it clearly sets out how we can all move the dial by working together.

Moving forward

I believe Streetbase has something special, something that cannot easily be replicated. Part of this is that we are entirely youth-led. Part of this is our openness to partnership — we are always looking to link up with different organisations and people who want to work alongside young people and reduce youth violence.

Although Streetbase is only five months in, we have received an incredible amount of publicity and support, which will only continue to grow. We’ve been invited to speak at City Hall, attend Youth Justice Board conferences and many community events, but we don’t want it to end there.

Do invite us to events you are organising, conferences you are holding and meetings you are having so we can raise the profile of Streetbase and work in partnership to reduce youth violence: contact us at:

Streetbase is a peer-peer engagement program trademarked to the Young Advisors. Interested in running it in your local area? Contact to find out how to setup a Young Advisor team!