Member Profile: Youth Start, Rotherham

01 February, 2012

Youth Start is a Rotherham Youth Service project, offering accessible support for young people aged 11 to 25, with a particular emphasis on sexual health, mental health and emotional well being.


Established in 1989, Youth Start’s small dedicated team responds to the needs of young people through a flexible mix of drop in sessions, small group work, appointments and youth clinics.

Youth Start supported over 4,000 young people last year through a range of helping options, offering young people a variety of easy entry points to the support they need.

There are no complicated referral procedures to navigate, young people can make contact themselves or with the support of family, friends, or professional colleagues, in the way they prefer; drop in, appointment, telephone, text, email or facebook and can return whenever they need to at any time up to age 25.

Contraception, Sexual Health and Relationship Support

Youth Start works in partnership with NHS Rotherham Contraception and Sexual Health service, to provide young person centred contraception, sexual health and relationship support, which is neither overly medical or problem oriented. Drop in and youth clinic sessions offer young people the opportunity to examine their own situation and attitudes, as well as providing accurate, non judgemental information, appropriate sex and relationship education and a specific response to individual worries and concerns.

Mental Health and Emotional Support

Our values are person centred but our aim at all times is to help young people feel heard, respected, able to confide their thoughts feelings and worries and to have the opportunity to explore their preferred future. So we draw on different counselling and therapeutic traditions when responding to particular needs, including; Psychodynamics, Solution Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Systemic and Expressive Therapies.

As well as the provision of early intervention support, the service regularly responds to vulnerable young people with complex needs and to young people in crisis.

We strive to provide a flexible service which best meets individual needs; the changing and frequently chaotic circumstances young people may find themselves in can mean they are unable to engage in weekly counselling sessions, so mental health and emotional support is also accessible on a session by session basis and through drop in sessions.


What's new for Youth Start?

Art Therapy

Youth Start is just about to begin an exciting partnership with SY Arts, a Community Art Therapy Project, which will expand the range of interventions available to young people. Responding to the needs of young people who may find it difficult to put their thoughts and feelings in to words; one to one and small group sessions will provide an opportunity for young people to explore their life creatively, without the need to be good at art.


Youth Start has its Champions

In September 2011 Youth Start was selected as the only agency in Yorkshire to be part of the Barclays Money Skills Pilot Programme. This peer education programme aims to help young people build the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to manage their money more effectively. Two members of staff attended a trainer’s event to give them the skills to recruit, train and supervise potential Champions. After several weeks of intense training, two young men now have the skills necessary to roll out the Programme.

By educating others they can help to inspire their peers to take control of their finances, thereby helping to make a positive difference to such vulnerable groups.The programme tackles topics such as opening a bank account; budgeting, saving and spending; and gives practical guidance on what to do when something goes wrong as well as signposting to other support agencies such as Citizens’ Advice.

Both entered the Programme as NEET (not in education, employment or training).Following their commitment to the Scheme and inspiration to build on their newly acquired skills, they have both overcome personal obstacles to be accepted on Rotherham’s Youth Work Apprenticeship Scheme in conjunction with RCAT College. This is real achievement for both these young men as they have struggled to find a career direction and had been NEET for over a year. The skills, knowledge and confidence they gained through participating in the scheme, along with the regular supervision and support offered by Youth Start staff, has helped motivate them to fulfil their potential and develop a more positive outlook on their future.

“It has been very beneficial and has taught me many new skills. I would recommend the programme”. Josh

“It has helped me understand banking more, and it seemed to help the people I delivered the session to as well”. Aaron

For more information about the Barclays Money Skills Programme and how you get involved contact Pamela Verma:


What young people say:

“If Youth Start didn’t exist anymore they would have to reinvent it”

“I have changed my way of thinking a lot and feel more confident about being me”

“Thanks for believing in me I didn’t. You have helped me get my smile back”


How has it helped being a Youth Access Member?

"Change never seems to stop in the world of young people’s support services but what doesn’t change is Youth Access; providing us with the national voice we need and helping us keep up to date with the latest proposal, policy, initiative or idea and the potential impact it may have on the young people we support."

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