Young People Guernsey’s The Hub opens to support Guernsey’s youth

September 12th, 2012 by Richard Lord

Young People Guernsey (YPG) held a reception on Friday 7 September 2012 to thank their many supporters, and officially launch The Hub for young people aged from 11 to 16 years old to seek advice, information and help.

The Hub will open between 3 pm and 6 pm on Monday and Wednesday, and between 1 pm and 3 pm on Saturday.

Appointments at other times can be made by calling 724421 or 07781 122959.

Jane St Pier, Chair of Young People Guernsey, and charity spokesperson, said “in an 18 month roller coaster of red letter days so far this is the best.”

On behalf of YPG and Barnardo’s she welcomed everyone to The Hub.

“YPG has commissioned Barnardo’s to provide an information, advice, and listening service for young people aged from 11 to 16 years old,” she said.

“The Hub is a place for a young person to come on their terms, and somewhere where we’ll make their problems our problems. At the heart of YPG is young people.”

“Everyone in this room was a teenager; lots of us have them.  I think we still lose sight and demonise what it is like to be a teenager. They make so many achievements, and we never know what their normality is,” she said.

“Author Patrick Ness framed the issue eloquently,” she said, “when he wrote ‘all it takes is actually bothering to meet a teenager, and you’ll see what I know to be true from meeting hundreds every year. They’re the same curious, sensitive, smart, compassionate, funny, questioning, brilliant people they have always been. Why do we forget this so readily? They deserve more credit. They deserve more care. But mostly they deserve more than the national amnesia that seems to make us forget how very, very hard it is to be a teenager, and what little credit they receive despite their manifest achievements.'”

“What Patrick Ness wrote is right at the heart of what YPG is here for,” Jane St Pier said.

“Everyone on the YPG committee has their own personal reasons for being involved with this charity.”

“The YPG committee are an inspired and inspiring bunch of people. The one thing that is common to all of them is their compassion. And for that I am both very thankful and very proud,” she said.

“Compassion is an undervalued sentiment nowadays and is often derided. Cynics talk of ‘compassion fatigue’.”

“The fact that you are all standing in The Hub today proves that compassion is not in decline.”

“When the fledgling charity YPG explained to Barnardo’s that they would like to commission the UK’s largest children’s charity to provide this service, YPG didn’t have a premises, they didn’t have any funding, and no one in Guernsey had heard of YPG.”

“If I had been sitting in Barnardo’s legal or compliance department I wouldn’t have touched YPG with a barge pole,” she said.

“It took a leap of faith for Barnardo’s to look beyond the reputational risks and agree to work with YPG and write a strategic plan and help YPG raise the funds.”

“Barnardo’s also gave us the most tremendous and free resource in Jeanie Lynch, one of their Children’s Services Development Managers.”

“That was compassion,” she said. “Barnardo’s looked beyond the commercial risks and looked at what was the best possible result for Guernsey’s young people.”

Jane St Pier said “when we wrote to Lynda Walker, the wife of Guernsey’s then newly installed Lieutenant Governor, and asked very cheekily whether she would become the patron of a brand new charity that no one had heard of, Mrs. Walker immediately agreed, and was generous with her time.”

“I think her professional experience as a special needs teacher meant that she could see the value of what YPG wanted to achieve. It has been her compassion for both the charity and Guernsey’s young people that has been self-evident since our initial contact,” Jane St Pier said.

“YPG has received the generous benefit of professional expertise, donations of time, skills, materials, assets, auction prizes, and most crucially cash,” she said. “The harsh reality is that The Hub doesn’t happen without financial support.”

“What I can reassure you about is that we have not used that cash to produce this wonderful facility. Due to the generosity of lots of people, to open this facility has cost about £2000.”

“I assure you that virtually every penny we raise goes to paying salaries and training professionals to give young people the very best service when they walk through the door.”

“All of you I think are interested in YPG for different reasons, but I think it is your compassion that made you commit to us.”

“About a year ago I sent an email to Charles Billson at The Long Port Group. I had never met him and he didn’t know who I was. Within a few hours I had a phone call directly from Charles.”

“Charles’ compassion and generosity made him make a leap of faith and we now have this wonderful facility. While we can raise the funding to provide this service, Charles assures me YPG will have this facility so many thanks, Charles, for your compassion,” she said.

“We intend to make this a viable and valuable service for the long term to support Guernsey’s young people. This is a needs driven project, as it should be.”

On behalf of YPG I would like to give you one promise – whatever resources we receive, we will use them effectively, efficiently, and with compassion,” Jane St Pier said.

Anne Marie Carrie, Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, said “it is my joy and pleasure to be here today. Young People Guernsey are quite an astonishing and remarkable group of people.”

“At Barnardo’s we believe in children, no matter who they are, what they have done, or what they have been through. We will stand up for them and we will support them.”

“At Barnardo’s we have a saying that there is no such thing as a hard to reach child – just a child that is easy to ignore. Your wonderful group of people have said that there are children in Guernsey whose needs are being ignored, and we are going to do something about it, and that has been what has driven you.”

“There are some very, very vulnerable young people on this island. Some people are from very good homes with loving families but they are stuck and they are scared and they are frightened and they don’t have anyone to turn to. Well you know they have got this fabulous, fabulous Hub.”

“Barnardo’s are really chuffed to be here. We have a 150 year history of providing the highest quality services to the most vulnerable children. What we bring is an absolutely experience of quality, and what we bring is an impact. We intend to transform lives. We don’t transform the life that is in front of us. We transform lives for generations to come,” she said.

“You have invited Barnardo’s into the Guernsey family, and the YPG family, and I want to invite you into our family. So I say, friends, it was my absolutely joy and pleasure to be here.”

“I am meeting with young people all tomorrow, which will always be the joy of this. And I ask you to come back in one year’s time to see and hear the testimony of the difference that we will have made to the most vulnerable children and young people in Guernsey,” Anne Marie Carrie said.

YPG Patron Lynda Walker said “many years ago I was a Special Needs Coordinator in a junior school in North London. I had 70 children in my group who had some problems and special needs, and some of the children had behaviour issues.”

“They came from quite difficult homes. Many of the children were very unhappy, very angry, very rebellious, and difficult to deal with.”

“Part of my job was to help these children. We taught them anger management. We always had our doors open for them to come in and explain what their problem was, and we listened to them.”

We tried to steer them in the right direction. When they got to year six and 11 years old they went on to a secondary school. We handed these children over and I never found out what happened to them,” Mrs. Walker said.

“If you’re miserable as a child chances are you’re going to be miserable for the rest of your life unless somebody does something about it, and that was part of my job – to do something about it.”

“We moved to Guernsey 18 months ago now. I have seen lots of wonderful things, and lots of happy people in Guernsey, and it saddens me with such a beautiful place that there are children who are miserable, unhappy, frightened, and angry.”

“I am so glad when I heard that there were some people who wanted to do something about this problem,” Mrs. Walker said.

“I want to thank Jane St Pier and Sue Markham and the rest of the YPG committee for having this wonderful idea and working hard to make their plan a reality.”

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