I really enjoyed visiting The Door charity to learn more about their work and services. A councillor colleague put me in touch with the wonderful Victoria and Barrie as he is planning to work with them with one of his council hats on.

The Door are well known and loved around Stroud the Valleys and Vale. The basics are impressive with the team holding over 700 youth club sessions each year, hundreds of young people through the doors each week and mentoring young people on a one to one basis. It is however the personal stories from young people that really stop you in your tracks as a reminder about how important it is for young people to have someone to turn to. Here are some sections of a few stories from the annual review.

A: ‘I think it’s fair to say that things in my life have been quite hard. School was really difficult – I never felt like I fitted in…. I was finding things tough with my friends too. Everyone was getting excited about going to college but I was dreading it… Throughout it all I was going to The Door every week… They were really great, listening to me without judging me. They also helped me to get some help from the mental health team.’

C: ‘I was 17 when I first came to The Door. I was struggling with an anxiety disorder and I was unable to control or understand my feelings. I was matched with a mentor who really helped me… I had somebody to unload to out all the baggage I carry on a daily basis – she listened to all the big stuff but the small stuff too.’

Thank you for such a warm welcome and I look forward to attending again.

I just want to include a quick note about youth work generally. I know from research I’ve done in the past and from having discussions with various groups over the years that youth services are seriously stretched. Many local authorities took decisions to stop funding services as the funding from central government was reduced . At the same time, youth teams are seeing more young people who would have historically sought other levels of services.

The government is looking closely at the availability of youth services and opportunities in the context of the tragic knife crime epidemic and a significant amount of funding has been provided. I welcome this work and hope that it will lead to wider support of youth services for the modern world. I am rarely convinced that money should go into creating/buying new buildings, particularly when we usually need to think about reaching people who will not walk into a building and use new technology available. I also favour support for existing groups over new facilities who know the area and know what works with assistance to be able to properly demonstrate ‘what works’.

Young Glos also works with the National Citizens Service summer scheme and I met youngsters on Stroud high street last year who were fundraising as part of that programme. No doubt I will be caught and forced to buy cakes again this year! (Not such a hardship!)