Story: Saleema Imam
Streetworx, one of Burngreave’s most successful youth projects, will come to an abrupt end at the end of May, after Sheffield Futures announced there is no longer any funding available for the project.
Streetworx has provided a listening ear, a welcoming base and constant support for young people with difficult lives, over the past 5 years.
Uzma Bibi, formerly a youth worker in Sharrow and Broomhall, returned to her roots in Burngreave as one of 8 workers on the project when it started in 2006.
Over the years, the team worked to gain the confidence of youngsters, many of whom had little support elsewhere. Their base became a second home for some, a place to phone when things went wrong, a place to get tea and toast, a place to gain some life skills, a place you knew you could trust.
“Building self-esteem and confidence is not a short-term initiative; the issues themselves are long-term. It’s about relationships. We’ve only just started! The project needs to carry on for the next ten or fifteen years to meet the current needs. We don’t just work with young people; parents ring for help and advice and schools ask for help with specific groups.”
Streetworx has always reached out to young people who others found difficult to engage. Its Hope project took some of these same young people and trained them in youth work, enabling them to organise their own activities. It gave them skills and an opportunity to look forward to a more secure future.
Rayon Ramsay, one of the Hope recruits in 2008, is now a youth worker. He and Uzma are the only two remaining in the Streetworx team.
“We’re from the area, we’ve grown up with these young people and we’re fortunate enough to be able to give something back to the community,”
Young people with no stability and already chaotic lifestyles are not easy to reach out to. Cutting a project like Streetworx will only make things worse for those young people.
A campaign has started to save Streetworx,
if you would like to show your support contact the Messenger on 242 0564.