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 60 years of delivering services to young people in Leatherhead. You can read more about our history by scrolling down to our timeline.
Our Vision A world in which young people are happy, safe and making a positive difference in their communities and the wider world.
Our Mission 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.
Safeguarding Underpinning our vision and mission is a commitment to safeguarding the young people, staff, volunteers and all who we work with.
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 later became our Bfree Youth Cafe Manager.
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. The One to One team, headed up by Jude Crome with support from Alex Ball and Aura Cole, delivers counselling and mentoring sessions across the district with referrals coming directly from Surrey's Children's Services and local schools. In our first year, we delivered over 350 sessions of One to One support right across Mole Valley.
LYP also 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.
2016 was another year of growth for LYP. After launching the new Mole Valley One to One Early Help service in 2015, 2016 saw an exciting new opportunity come to fruition; the launch of the new Bookham Youth Project.
After being approached by Bookham Parish Church, Eastwick Road Church and Bookham Baptist Church, we agreed to re-launch youth work in Bookham with a programme of community youth work in the Bookham Youth Centre and also support some of the faith offer of the Churches. Our experienced Senior Youth Worker, Oli Bell, headed up this initiative and begun preparing the ground ready to launch this exciting initiative in January 2017.
We also welcome Martyina Harnden and Mikey Dicken to the youth work team, who joined Martin Fuller in delivering BFree Youth Cafe and our programme of youth work in Leatherhead. We said goodbye to Kara Davies, who moved back to New Zealand to be closer to her family, and we thanked Kara for the huge contribution she made in her time with us.
We were honoured to start the year with a Royal visit from HRH The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward. Partnering with the Community Foundation for Surrey, we hosted an action packed visit which allowed His Royal Highness to meet young people and youth workers from our projects and even try his hand at making a capuccino! A fantastic experience for everyone involved.
Later in the year we were also excited to achieve a number of 'firsts' for LYP. In June we organised our first ever Gala Dinner which was generously hosted and delivered by our friends at City of London Freemen's School, who went above and beyond and allowed us to seat 70 guests and raised over £5,000.
We also ran our first 'conference' - hosting an evening at Therfield School for parents and young people about internet safety and the risks of CSE.
June continued to be a busy month as we ran Into the Wild, a wilderness expedition for young people which involved wild camping in hammocks under the stars!
2018 saw numerous staff changes at LYP with Oli Bell becoming interin General Manager, Dave Tearall starting as Funding and Admin Officer and Jenny Coffin starting in the Autumn as Bookham Lead Youth Worker.
Volunteers raised a record amount of funding this year with cyclists taking on Ride London, friends of LYP completing incredible challenges including numerous marathons and the second LYP Gala raising almost £8k! We also successfully received funding from the National LotteryCommunity Fund which enabled us to continue providing much needed projects.
We saw record numbers of young people attending the Girls Group, BYouth and BFree projects and we were able to take a group of young people out to Romania where they ran games and activities for local gypsy children.
We developed self-care plans for our staff, ran and received numerous training courses and climbed a mountain in Wales as part of expanding our Into the Wild project!
2019 saw over 1,500 hours of youth work delivered in Leatherhead and Bookham to nearly 500 individual young people. Allsaints Coffee Shop turned 5 years old and served 11,180 coffees with a new team of apprentices gaining their customer service qualification. We took young people on a 3-day residential and our Counselling and Emotional Well-Being team provided over 600 hours of counselling sessions to young people struggling.
The year was not without its struggles but we were thankful to end the year on a high as we saw new faces join LYP with Aaron Evans and Hope Bancroft completing our youth work team, as well as new members on the board of trustees generously bringing their expertise and time.
2020 put our youth work to the test in the face of a global pandemic. With new unfolding guidelines, we saw a national shutdown of face-to-face youth work services. The team were adaptable as ever and did not stop finding ways to meet the local needs of our young people.
We did not imagine that by the end of 2020 we would have delivered 2,400 food parcels to isolated families, but with the help of The Mid-Surrey Community Fridge we were able to. We also continued our counselling and emotional well-being work (albeit mostly online) providing 485 sessions without missing a single week of provision. And despite our social enterprise and youth cafes looking different, we were able to open our doors at different points throughout the year, continuing to support local young people during one of the most difficult years of their lives.
This year reminded us of our grassroots origins, where throughout it all we have seen community coming together to serve local need.
Bookham Baptist Church Christ Church United Reformed, Leatherhead East Court Fund Eastwick Road Church Fetcham United Charities Field Studies Council - Kids Fund (Juniper Hall residential) Garfield Weston Foundation Leatherhead Community Association Leatherhead Parish Church Leatherhead Methodist Church Leatherhead Parish Church St Nicolas' Church, Bookham Surrey Hills Trust Fund Surrey County Councillors' Local Allocation - Councillors Tim Hall & Clare Curran ...and all our amazingly generous individual donors.
Your donation will go straight into helping us run projects for local young people. For example...
£20 covers a 5-a-day healthy eating session
£50 covers a Girls Group session for 50 girls
£100 pays for 4 counselling sessionsDonate
We are looking for volunteers now! Volunteers help us deliver almost everything we do.
You will need to be able to relate to young people, build positive relationships with them and buy into our teamwork approach. Please contact us for a role description and to talk more about this if you are interested.Get in touch
We always welcome help with fundraising.
We have previously benefitted from individuals completing sponsored events on our behalf, such as Runs, Cycles and Triathlons. If you would like to raise funds for us, please contact us to discuss this further.Learn More