My Experiences of The Winch: An Alternative to Gangs


My Experiences of The Winch: An Alternative to Gangs

As part of a series of firsthand accounts of the Winch and our work within the community one of our young people speaks about his experience of first coming to The Winch as a teenager and how it offered him an alternative to joining the gangs in the local area.

"I first came to The Winch from young, like three, I live here so I was always passing The Winch. I went a little bit when I was younger but first started properly going around like 14 or 15.  It was really a place to hang out, speak to staff, play football. I value that because it kept me occupied, it was always an option for me and my friends to go to. I remember like there was a Friday night group with all the young people that would all be around here, so there was me and like all my friends downstairs in the basement, so it kind of went from there.

I still meet with (my youth worker) now, we go to the gym now and he comes to watch my rugby games and I remember I’ve helped him out a few times because I did my work experience here so I helped him out with some youth work with like coaching football and then we done like outreach in our area where you go around the area but you’re speaking to young people. It felt good to be supported, like when I was injured as well, he gave me support, like building my confidence and stuff. My relationship with (my youth worker) has helped a lot because he’s done a lot for me like, keeping me active, playing football, like I was bad at football but he still kept me on the team and playing with all my friends and stuff so like yeah just making me feel a part of something.

With The Winch I feel like I’m always going to be here, I know when I get older I’m not always going to be popping in and out but I will just say the usual hello and stuff, like I done the work experience here and I might do it again but with me with my future I was thinking about going to uni  and I want to get onto a sports placement in like New Zealand and Australia, as like a student but also working but working on what you want to do with sport.

In the local area there was some arguments when I was growing up and trouble with the older generation. Youth workers (and) The Winch always did a lot to stop us from following their path because back in the day there were gangs and I knew people that were there in the gang like family members or friends and like we’d hang around with. The Winch (was) good at showing us there was an alternative to that life."

Click here to find out more about our services for young people aged 11 to 19.

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