Step by Step is a young people’s charity, supporting young people who are going through hard times, including homelessness. Step by Step provide accommodation, personal development opportunities, and specialist support services to empower young people and prevent homelessness.
The idea of ‘Fun Friday’ was two-fold. Firstly, that the young people living in accomodation get to choose to do something fun; giving them a chance to interact in a relaxed environment. Secondly, it was an incentive to engage in training and development sessions by building a good rapport with their peers and staff members.
The majority of the young people who move into Step by Step are going through a traumatic and difficult time. Moving into accommodation can be scary and lonely. Being able to socialise with other people also living at Step by Step helps reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. It also gives the young people a chance to socialise with support staff which helps build trust and a better relationship.
As the project ran, Step by Step learnt things that helped them tweak the project:
The fun activities have had a very positive impact on the young people. It has also improved communication between staff and the young people as it has provided a relaxed and fun alternative of interacting beyond formal sessions.
The fun activities have encouraged young people who have low engagement to be involved in another way. The relaxed approach to these sessions has been a very useful starting point in opening up a dialogue of interaction and has helped staff approach the lack of attendance in sessions in a more accessible manner. It has been able to publicise the training sessions that are happening in that week as well as promoting attendance - an all round success!
Anda Chiu, Corporate Partnerships Manager, commented: “We encourage young people to access local services to help them feel like they are a member of the community. This fund has enabled young people to access local leisure facilities which may have been outside of their financial reach. This in turns creates opportunities for the residents to interact with new people as well as it benefiting the local economy and supporting businesses. Young people seeing what is available locally can also raise their aspirations by giving them an opportunity to experience what you can do if you work hard and earn money. I think it’s fair to say we have definitely impacted the aspiration levels of these youngsters for the better.”
Step by Step have started to run social activities in the evening, which has a higher engagement rate than activities run during the day. Evenings can be a lonely time for young people who are not surrounded by family and friends. We have found evening activities to be very well received and has been invaluable in providing young people the opportunity to form friendships in a natural setting. In addition, the evening activities has reduced the likelihood of anti-social behaviour through the community during these evenings as the young people now have an alternative to hanging around. The purposeful activities are engaging have helped tackle loneliness, whilst promoting a sense of belonging. It has also improved the relationship between staff and the young people through positive engagement and communication opportunities, directly benefiting key skills such as communication.
Giving young people the opportunity to do something in the evening has reduced the likeliness of groups of young people living at Step by Step who may be bored and hanging around in the community by giving them a purposeful activity to engage with. It has reduced the likelihood of anti-social behaviour in the evenings.
The activities have had a very positive impact on the emotional wellbeing of the young people living at Step by Step. Having fun activities available has improved their motivation levels and reduced the sense of loneliness. Nobody wants to be in the position of homelessness and moving into supported accommodation can be very upsetting and frightening. Sociable, leisure activities provide useful bonding experiences for a group of young people who have found themselves living together at a time when they are facing difficult or traumatic circumstances. These activities play a big part in reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Activities during the day are usually attended by 2-5 young people, activities in the evening are usually attended by 8-10 young people. We are now running two evening sessions a week and ad hoc day time group activities. So on average there are 9 young people each week that are benefiting from the grant.
One Senior Step worker commented: “The young people all look forward to Tuesday and Thursday evenings where they can mingle, play games, watch TV and just socialise with each other.”
Dinner at Prezzo
"Having these donations enables us to provide opportunities to give young people a nice night out that they might not otherwise be able to have. The young people enjoyed a group dinner at Prezzo. Many of them got dressed up for the event and were excited to eat out together as a group. Some of the young people who attended couldn't remember the last time they went for a dinner out, the funding has been greatly appreciated." - Staff Member
"It was lovely and nice to do something different. I'm so full!"
"It was great to get everyone together and socialise!"
"The food was lovely and it was a really nice change to being at home."
Step by Step Bake Off
"It helps the new people to feel welcome when we do an activity together." - Staff member
“It’s fun learning how to bake, I really enjoy it.”
“I like being able to cook new things.”
Visiting the Equestrian Centre
“Everyone had a brilliant day. It was good to be able to do something off-site” - Staff member
“It increased my level of confidence!"
"It was fun and adventurous!"
" it was fun and challenging!"
" Very fun and tiring!"
“ I think we all are looking forward for the next adventure!”