We caught up with our Head of Youth Work, Neil Sewell, to find out how he has found his first few months at Blackburn Youth Zone…
How have you found your first few months at Blackburn Youth Zone?
The first few months have been both really exciting and busy. The official opening was my first real event at Blackburn Youth Zone and it was great to see all of our patrons, supporters and the wider community show so much interest in The Youth Zone.
What attracted you to the Head of Youth Work role, here at Blackburn Youth Zone?
What attracted me most was the fact that, from inception, young people have been involved in the design and implementation of the building in real terms, not just as an afterthought. Secondly, what attracted me was the opportunity for the team and myself to shape the way that The Youth Zone would be able to interact with the community and young people of Blackburn, which is an exciting prospect.
Tell us a little more about your background…
My background is very much in youth work – which started when I was pretty much a young person myself! I have worked extensively in local authority youth services, almost exclusively in London – in many roles ranging from Detached Youth Worker, Outdoor Education Youth Worker, Area Youth Worker, Youth Work Manager, and prior to moving to Blackburn, as Head of Youth Service in the London Borough of Sutton.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the recruitment of part time sessional staff, the ‘soft openings’ of the centre, and the policy and procedures that will be needed to ensure the safe operation of the building and youth work practice.
What forthcoming Blackburn Youth Zone projects are you most excited about?
I’m not sure there is one particular project; I’m really looking forward to the opening of the building and going where young people take us. I am particularly interested in developing a project/programme of activities for Asian girls and young women also.