When it came to choosing a charity there was only one choice for me – it had to be Leatherhead Youth Project (LYP)! I have been a regular volunteer for over three years and jumped at the chance to support this charity further and give back half a day of my time for such a worthy cause.

This charity is passionate about helping young people and provides a variety of youth services in Leatherhead, Bookham and across Mole Valley, which aim to respond to local needs and help young people to be safe, happy and make positive changes in their lives.

LYP runs 21 exciting projects for young people to get involved in and I usually volunteer at ‘Girls Group’ which sees around 40 girls come together every week! For the last three years I have also helped at the residential activity camp ‘Freestyle’ where we take up to 50 young people away for an action-packed four days of games, swimming, sports, workshops and the legendary talent show.

Giving back my time as part of Jellybean’s 12 Days of Giving allowed me to learn about some of the other projects the charity runs and the impact they have. I started my day by helping at the social enterprise AllSaints Coffee Shop which employs young people through an apprenticeship scheme and provides them with training to prepare for mainstream employment.

One of the apprentices showed me the ropes and although initially nervous – admitting later that she struggles with social anxiety – she soon relaxed and was a fantastic teacher. Showing me how to make all the different types of speciality coffee, her confidence was clear to see and it was a great example of the big difference AllSaints makes to young peoples’ everyday lives.

After the coffee shop closed, I got to see how the place transforms into the relational hub ‘BFree’. Running Monday – Friday it gives young people an opportunity to hang out in a safe environment, make new friends and build relationships with the LYP community youth workers.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to get see another side of LYP and how all of the projects work together to have a such a big impact on the local community.

To find more about the charity visit www.leatherheadyouthproject.com

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