YMCA East London Launches Peer-to-Peer Listening Service

17th November 2014

A confidential helpline service aimed at supporting young people in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, aged 16-21, through ‘life’s ups and downs’ has been launched by YMCA East London (FYMCA).

Hear4Youth has been launched as a direct response to the results of its Youth Service 2013 Customer Satisfaction survey with young people in the borough, in which 47% of respondents aged 11-19 stated that they would like more support with problems related to family, friends, school, and advice on issues that affect them such as policing, the job market and housing.

Deborah Hudson, FYMCA Youth service Manager, said, “It has become clear that there is a demand for a local service which understands local issues and the needs of young people in the borough. A helpline can particularly support a young person experiencing isolation, or peer pressure. If a young person does not know where to go to for help in fear of being judged, this sadly can lead to them becoming marginalised and disengaged.

“Unfortunately the growing lack of viable youth services locally is resulting in young people not having a voice or being put at further risk. We recognise that young people are more easily influenced by their peers, and we hope to train & use positive young role-models who will influence their peers to be empowered and take positive action”.

A helpline volunteer, said, “I’d encourage anyone who needs help or just someone to listen to them to contact Hear4Youth. No matter how big or small your problems are, everyone needs someone to support them at some point in their life and that’s what we are here for.

“As a volunteer, I have been able to gain a lot from developing and operating the helpline. Speaking with the young people who call in has allowed me to gain insight into the lives of many young people in our community and some of the difficulties that they are experiencing.”

The new phone service will run on Monday evenings from 6:30-8:30pm. The helpline number is 0208 509 4642 and there is also free call back service which can be accessed by texting 07477 698 804. Additionally, young people can send an email to hear4youth@ymcaeastlondon.org.uk.

The Hear4Youth service is currently looking for volunteers between the ages of 16-21 to help with running the service. Volunteers will be fully trained and will receive on-going support from qualified youth workers. For further information please visit the Hear4Youth page or email youthteam@ymcaeastlondon.org.uk