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Aldwyck Volunteer Youth Worker Case Study - Ria Stanford

Since 2013 Ria has committed her time voluntarily to Aldwyck Housing Group. Her confidence has improved immensely during her involvement at the Sandringham Drive Youth Hub and she's a true inspiration to other young people in the community.

Ria Stanford is 17 years old and from Houghton Regis. She is an Aldwyck Volunteer Youth Worker at Sandringham Drive Youth Hub.

Ria has been a committed volunteer for Aldwyck Housing Group since 2013 and works as part of a vital team of seven every Friday between 5 and 9:30pm.

When Ria joined us as a volunteer she had very low self esteem and struggled to communicate with others. To encourage her to reach her full potential, the Community Involvement Team set her the task of delivering an interesting session to other young people to build her confidence.

Ria held an arts and crafts session for around 20 people which was a huge success and has built her confidence enormously. She now regularly helps out at the Youth Hub to look after other young people and is a positive role model to other residents.

She is an inspiration because she now has the ability to encourage others to reach their full potential as she has. She has since recruited 5 volunteers of her own and is building a wider network of support for other young people in the area.

Ria has taken part in a number of activities, including a community skip day, which encouraged people to remove large items of rubbish from their properties and litter picking around the estate. Her new found confidence meant that she had the ability to go around the neighbourhood knocking on doors asking residents if they would like to get involved or if they had anything for the skip.

Ria Stanford has been shortlisted to the final at the Central Bedfordshire Council Cheering Volunteer Award on the 2 June 2016. Ria also has been awarded several community grants from Houghton Regis Town Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Volunteer Centre and many more for the Youth Hub.

In her own words…

“Volunteering for Sandringham Youth Hub I have learnt how to communicate and speak to the young people. I believe that young people learnt a lot such as respect, kindness and how to work as a team and support each other. I think the young people have progressed a lot and all work together well. The young people’s relationship towards the community has changed immensely.

We all participated in a community skip day where we all went out litter picking around the estate that The Youth Hub sits on and knocked on all the neighbouring houses asking if they had any rubbish for the skip. We filled two skips and everyone bonded as a team. We also did a connect challenge day where the Aldwyck connect team did a good job with us. They taught us and guided us to do activities such as plumbing, electrical, tilling and building a kitchen unit. This was another day where all the young people bonded and worked as a team.

I think the young people’s behaviour has changed immensely. When the Youth Hub first opened the young people were hard to control and all misbehaved. We had a lot of problems with the young people, especially with the older group at the start, but everyone’s behaviour has changed. We can finally get through to everyone and they listen to us. I am part of a great hard working team of seven that work and volunteer at Sandringham Youth Hub on Friday nights between 5pm and 9.30pm.

I give a lot of credit to Hafi, Tommy and Damien, as they helped me to develop into a volunteer at my pace and they gave me the support to take lead in sessions, especially during the difficult times when we were starting the project from nothing.

I think this project was needed because it got all of the young people, especially the older group, off the streets and out of trouble.

The older group used to get themselves into trouble but since the Youth Hub opening, they haven’t got into as much trouble as they used to. This is just one of the reasons I think the Youth Hub was needed and has been very useful.

I think this project has helped the community believe in the young people and they now trust them more. I feel that the young people have enjoyed the project and all the activities we do with them. I have got very involved with the young people and helped them in many activities such as, making paper mache, playing on sports tables, mask making, planning Youth Hub weeks, quizzes and I helped them to fill out one of these outcome sheets. I think we do lots of fun activities with them and get very involved in the sessions. With the younger group, our assessment objectives was to complete an activity plan with the young people whilst being observed by Hafi.

We struggled with keeping the attention of the young people and getting them to listen to us and as a result got quite annoyed and wanted to give up, however we battled through and managed to meet our assessment objectives.

I love volunteering at the Sandringham Youth Hub and I couldn’t do it without the support of the team.

Everyone works hard to make the young people smile and have fun. They enjoy coming to Sandringham Youth Hub and we all enjoy working and volunteering for the young people.”

Please tell us your experience and changes that have resulted in you, and your household being involved with Aldwyck

“Being a volunteer has massively increased my confidence levels. Before becoming a volunteer I was unable to speak out to others if I hadn’t met them before. Furthermore I am now able to speak out to a group of people and help others when they need it.”