Our Stories

Lauren’s story. In her own words

Where I started…

In summer 2020 I was asked to take part in the Tell Me project. I didn’t really know anyone, it was during Covid 19 so my confidence just felt like it was getting worse as we couldn’t meet.

Continue reading “Lauren’s story. In her own words”

Kaitlen’s Journey. In her own words

My name is Kaitlen and I’m 15 years of age. I am one of the Core Ambassadors at The Youth Association (TYA). I have been asked to write a testimony for my time spent with this organisation. Even though there are many years still to come. So, let’s start at the very beginning, as that is a very good place to start…

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Roma aspirations

With the support of out youth workers, Jessika and Natalia have come on leaps and bounds over the past two years! Natalia is 15 years old, while Jessika is 14. Both are originally from Slovakia and moved to England with their families when they were younger and now live in Doncaster.

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Making Sutton Park a safe space

This year, our youth workers have been in the Sutton Park estate of Halton, Leeds, working closely with young people and their community and making the local area a safer place to spend time. The impact on the community has been huge 

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Against all odds

Aaron is always trying desperately to improve his current situation and prospects; he has had a troubled past that he wants to leave behind. It sometimes seems like the world is against him as circumstances have often put him into a vicious cycle which he is unable to get out of and in the main its through no fault of his own.

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Morgan’s Story. In her own words.

Hi my name is Morgan Drummond and I am 19 years old. Before I joined the Tell Me programme, I was going through a lot and emotionally I was all over the place. I had no confidence and I would not talk to anyone but my mum about my stuff.

Continue reading “Morgan’s Story. In her own words.”

Kim’s 2018. In her own words.

The Youth Association has helped me loads in the last 12 months. I have come very far in just over a year and it has changed me as a person and I look at things with a different perspective. When I first started I suffered with anxiety and a lack of confidence and it was so hard to meet new people. Continue reading “Kim’s 2018. In her own words.”

Amber: From Wakefield to Romania

My name is Amber. I’ve just finished my degree in Social Work and have decided to move to Romania to volunteer at an orphanage called Pro Vita. Over the past 6 years I have changed from a person who was too anxious to even order a take-away to someone who is planning to move to a completely different country with no-one I know.
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Toni’s story. In her own words.

Hi, my name is Toni. I’m 22 and from the Wakefeild area. In short, my story is that I had a really bad relationship with my mother and I have been out on my own since 2 days after I turned 16.

Continue reading “Toni’s story. In her own words.”

Matty’s moving up

Matty began working with us as a Talent Match young person two years ago. He struggled to make friends and had low confidence and self-esteem which also made it difficult to find work. Continue reading “Matty’s moving up”

A sense of belonging

Newly-arrived Roma young people in Barnsley have long felt disadvantaged on many levels. Roma gypsy young people in particular have lacked access to services and are at risks of further marginalisation and discrimination.

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Millie’s Story. In her own words.

My name is Millie and I am 20 years old. I have a neuro-development disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome. Before I became a Talent Match Ambassador, I didn’t feel that I was understood. I found it difficult to communicate with people and that made me feel isolated. All through school I was bullied because no one understood me and how I work. Continue reading “Millie’s Story. In her own words.”

Getting to where you need to be

When Alex Gill first got involved with us as part of the summer NCS programme in 2014, she already had a strong ambition to study medicine and become a doctor in the NHS. She knew that the long road to becoming a doctor is a competitive one and that working with us provided a real opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

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Mel’s story. In her own words.

Hello, I’m Mel. I’m 27 years old and I’m originally from Fleetwood (near Blackpool). I moved out when I was 18 to live in Barnsley with my then-boyfriend, for a short while, before I started university at (formerly known as) Leeds Metropolitan University studying Film & Television Production.   Continue reading “Mel’s story. In her own words.”

Shay’s first year in the UK

When we first met Salome (her friends call her Shay) last year, she had recently arrived in the UK. Shay was born in Latvia, part of a Jewish family and had travelled frequently to ensure her parents could find work. She had moved schools and homes many times during her childhood and teen years. Initially, Shay was really quiet and most comfortable when others would take the lead.
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Young people take the lead

In 2015, West Yorkshire’s Talent Match partnership were doing a great job in supporting long-term unemployed young people across the county, but they had identified that the lack of young people’s involvement in making decisions about the work of the programme was a weakness in an otherwise great partnership.  Continue reading “Young people take the lead”


FE students across our region are struggling with work readiness. Traditional employability programmes in schools and colleges focus heavily on CV building and interview skills.

Continue reading “Sellme™”

Stephen’s story. In his own words.

“Hi, I’m Stephen. I’ve suffered with a lot of mental health, including split personalities, depression and anxiety, PTSD and self-harm, and I’ve lost countless jobs because I couldn’t handle the stress or the amount of pressure that was put on me growing up. I tried to commit suicide a lot in my past, but in 2017 I overdosed and ended up in a hospital because of my actions. Continue reading “Stephen’s story. In his own words.”

Residentials work wonders

When we brought together some very willing young people hoping to form a group of Ambassadors for Talent Match, we knew there would be some challenges. The only things thing they had in common were the multiple barriers they faced and the isolation that comes from long-term unemployment. Continue reading “Residentials work wonders”

Communities come together

At a community meeting in Great Horton, an area was highlighted as suffering from a high level of anti-social behaviour and lack of community cohesion amongst residents. We  were already working with the local housing association, so we began detached youth work sessions in the neighbourhood to investigate how we could help.
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Amber’s Story

We met Amber when she came along to one of our Talent Match Ambassadors sessions, when she suffered with mental health issues, low confidence and self-esteem.

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