Nearly four years ago, two PF trustees sat down with Paul Perkins, the articulate and thoughtful chief executive of the Winch, an inspirational youth centre in Swiss Cottage, Camden. There was no agenda – we were simply exploring whether there were any areas Paul was thinking about which might be of interest to us.
Paul was at the early stage of thinking about changing the model of youth provision at the Winch. He had visited a landmark youth project in Harlem and had come back with ideas which seem like common sense – but which too few people are putting into practice.
Over the next few months, these embryonic ideas became the Winch’s Promise Model – the most vulnerable young people are allocated a Promise Worker who gets to know the young person well so that they can coordinate the young person’s relationship with school, youth centre, social workers and other agencies. In some ways, they perform a role that parents can fulfil in fully functioning families – mentor, advocate, and coordinator. You can find out more here.
We were excited by a number of aspects of this work – Paul’s willingness to think outside the box of accepted practice, his determination to make his budget do more for young people and his commitment to assessing the work. We agreed to three years of funding which covered further development work and the first two years of pilot work, which has been ably led by Zenobia Talati. While it is early days, this work has been sufficiently ground-breaking to be shortlisted for an award by CYP Now (details on Paul’s blog) and is endorsed by Camden.
We are proud to have been cornerstone funders of this stage of the work and we look forward to following its development over the next few years.