Leatherhead Youth Project launched in 2005 to provide much needed services for socially and economically disadvantaged young people in Leatherhead North. Our aim is to help young people be safe, happy, resilient, and able to make positive changes in their own lives and in their community.
We take a relational and positive approach which provides support and skills to young people, helping them to overcome barriers they are facing and build a brighter future. We are a team of experienced youth workers and counsellors who care about the local community, and between us we have a total of 40 years of delivering services to young people in Leatherhead. You can read more about our history by scrolling down to our timeline.
A world in which young people are happy, safe and making a positive difference in their communities and the wider world.
Our Mission is to support young people by providing positive role models, practical and emotional help, and opportunities which empower them to make positive changes in their lives.
Leatherhead is a place we are passionate about and we are glad to be a part of this wonderful community. We launched as a charity in 2005 with the aim of serving the community of Leatherhead North. Statistics show that there is a high number of NEET young people (not in education, employment or training) and some young people face economic disadvantage and a lack of opportunities. As an organization it is our aim to help build on the strengths of our community, whilst helping to address local deprivation through supporting young people and working with partnership organisations.
We see these statistics as an opportunity to understand the needs of our community in order to respond in a way which is informed and in consultation with local people. Our aim is that the youth work we do will have a direct impact on these statistics and help see positive change in our community.
Leatherhead Methodist Church, Leatherhead Parish Church and Leatherhead URC, together with Mole Valley District Council, identified that there was a need for youth provision in the deprived area of Leatherhead North and began discussing ideas. Shortly after, Leatherhead Youth Project was registered as a charity.
After spending a year looking for suitable premises, LYP raised funds to convert the All Saints Church building into a state of the art youth centre. The building, which was named BFree Youth Cafe by a local young person, launched in April 2005 with Andy Gill recruited to manage the project.
BFree soon became a hit with local young people, now open after school Monday-Friday and all day on Saturday. Jay Bristow joined Andy which allowed BFree to grow and put on new activities.
Also in 2006, LYP partnered with Liquid Connection to deliver the first Freestyle camp, a residential trip for 50 local young people.
LYP launched the Total Football project in partnership with the local partnership office for Mole Valley, Christian Guy. The project gave the local boys something to be involved with on Friday nights, and immediately had over 60 young people taking part each week. Joe Crome joined the team in 2007 after volunteering with LYP on his gap year, and soon set up the BLAZE project.
BFree grew from strength to strength, with a growing staff team and diverse group of volunteers ensuring that the 70 young people attending each week were well supported. The BLAZE project thrived, giving young people the chance to give back to the community by completing gardening renovations for local elderly residents. We also launched our first band nights in 2008 and created the MTB mountain biking project.
2009 saw the addition of two projects headed up by Megan Titley and Dani Taylor, offering creative arts opportunities for local teenagers through Leatherhead Dance Company and Photography workshops.
Lucy Greenland joined the team in 2010 and began partnering with Liquid Connection to run BLISS, which supports local young women with girls evenings and trips. We also ran our first Freestyle Survivor event, a survival skills day in the Surrey Hills.
2010 also saw the launch of North Leatherhead United Football Club, a team created specifically to allow young males to access competitive 11-a-side football.
Our first Duke of Edinburgh group launched in 2011, after we raised money to help heavily subsidise the costs of the project for young people. Our group were fantastic and all managed to complete Bronze after a final expedition across the Surrey Hills.
Catherine Diffey joined the team as Business Manager in 2011, helping LYP to become ready for new commissioning opportunities being offered by Surrey County Council.
2012 started a new chapter for LYP as we won the new Surrey County Council Local Prevention Framework commission for Leatherhead, allowing us to increase our support for young people likely to become NEET. Oli Bell was employed to head up this work with a strong background in working with at-risk young people.
Seeing education as an important issue to tackle in the local area, LYP partnered with Mole Valley Schools Partnership to host The Link, an alternative learning centre for young people who require some time away from their secondary schools. LYP helped to deliver the curriculum and focused on helping the students gain accreditations such as AQA awards.
During this time LYP also opened the first phase of Allsaints Coffee, which ran as a coffee shop during BFree Youth Café and was managed by Martin Fuller, who is now our Student Youth Worker.
Lads Night, a new Friday night project for local boys, was being attended by 40 young people each week, providing them with positive activities and a hot meal each week. We also began our community allotment project Dig It, which gave young people the chance to learn how to grow vegetables and maintain a plot.
2013 also featured our first Romania trip in partnership with Liquid Connection and Regenerate. 12 of our young people ran a summer camp for Roma teenagers in Transylvania, and it was a truly life changing experience.
The team also completed the Three Peaks Challenge, raising £2,000 for LYP.
2014 was another fantastic breakthrough year. After nearly 10 years of working alongside each other in partnership, the Liquid Connection staff of Joe Crome, Judith Crome and Alex Ball along with all Liquid Connection projects transferred over to LYP to work together as one team. This move allowed us to provide even better and expanded youth services for local young people. Liquid had been working closely with us for many years and in particular brought a wealth of experience in one-to-one work, with Jude being a qualified counsellor and having provided thousands of hours of one-to-one support to students at Therfield School.
We also broke new ground as an organization by launching our first social enterprise, Allsaints. After years of dreaming about being able to employ young people who have the least opportunities, we raised sufficient funding to realize this ambition and start our own coffee shop open to the public. After a year of preparation and planning, Allsaints launched in October 2014, with Andy Gill leading a team of 3 young apprentices.
2015 started off with the news that LYP had been re-awarded the Local Prevention commission for Leatherhead by Surrey County Council. In addition, LYP was the successful bidder of the new One-to-One commission for Mole Valley, which started September 2015 and allow us to grow our services across the borough of Mole Valley for the first time. LYP achieved the National Youth Agency Quality Mark, which awards quality youth work delivery as well as good organisational practice.
In March we were able to celebrate our 10th birthday with over 100 friends joining us to look back on 10 years of great memories.
Veolia Trust Fund
Field Studies Council - Kids Fund (Juniper Hall residential)
Leatherhead Community Association
Garfield Weston Foundation
The Henry Smith Charity
The Bellinger Donnay Trust
Thomas Flack Trust Fund
Lloyds Bank Foundation
High Sheriff of Surrey Youth Awards
Surrey Hills Trust Fund
Peter Harrison Foundation
Leatherhead United Charities
Leatherhead Parish Church
Leatherhead Methodist Church
Leatherhead United Reformed Church
Church Urban Fund
Surrey Police Crime Commissioner
Surrey County Council Community Improvement Fund
Surrey County Council Local Allowance - Tim Hall
Your donation will go straight into helping us run projects for local young people.
An example of how your donation will help...
£20 covers a 5-A-Day healthy eating session at BFree.
£50 covers our football equipment for a term of Total Football.
£100 pays for 6 one-to-one sessions between a youth worker and young person.
We are always looking for volunteers who can help us with the work we do.
Suitable volunteers will need to be able to relate young people and build positive relationships with them. Please contact us for a role description and to talk more about this if you are interested in volunteering.Get in touch
We always welcome help with fundraising.
We have previously benefitted from individuals completing sponsored events on our behalf, such as Runs and Triathlons. If you would like to raise funds for us, please contact us to discuss this further.Learn More