We are leading on plans to develop a Hub for young people – a drop-in, centralised safe space where young people can access all the information, advice and support they need, delivered by a partnership of services, under one roof.
Led by young voices, plans for the Hub centre around providing open-access, drop-in, free, mental health support, counselling, mentoring, life skills training and opportunities in the community.
Young people have said ‘resilience is built through community’, and ‘somewhere people could help me with my problems would make a massive difference as I transition into adulthood’. This ‘resilience through community’ is now being modelled by local people across the Reading community who are joining forces to raise funds to support the Hub!
Stuart and Amanda Stephens, the parents of Olly Stephens who tragically lost his life in January 2021 through violence that escalated on social media and resulted in knife crime, have shown their support for Reading Young People’s Hub by raising £2,200 for its development through an angling event for young people.
We have been further honoured by the approval of a £2,200 match funding application from the John Sykes Foundation, who are long-term supporters of No5, and who recently donated a COVID-19 Relief Fund Grant which was utilised for No5’s 50th Anniversary Creative Expressive Wellbeing Project.
About the fundraising, Stuart said, “Southlake Angling Society came to me with a question of how they could help. That inspired them and the local community to hold the ‘Olly Stephens Charity Match and Memorial Fishing Event’ which was held around Southlake in Woodley, at the end of last summer. Alongside raising money for charity, the event was an introduction to angling for over 50 children and their parents with the mental health benefits of being in the outdoor environment, learning about the natural world around them.”
“Many of those taking part had never held a rod, let alone caught a fish. Through this event the foundations for future events were laid. We hope to hold another event at the end of the summer this year. The generosity of the companies we approached, and from the general public was overwhelming, and we thank them whole heartedly. With match-funding, each of our charities received nearly £4,500.”
Showing their support for the Hub, Stuart and Amanda said, “Over the last 2 years we have met and been introduced to many dedicated youth and child services providers. Reading needs the hope that the No5 Hub will bring.”
John Sykes, Founder and Chair of Trustees of the John Sykes Foundation, commented, “There was no hesitation from our Board of Trustees in promptly approving this application of a match funding donation of £2,200 to No5 Young People following the amazing fundraising efforts of Stuart and Amanda Stephens at their Angling event in memory of their beloved son, Olly.”
“We’re dedicated in supporting the young people in Reading and recognise the exemplary and valuable work that No5 are doing within our town. The number of those requiring counselling and mental health support is ever-increasing.”
“Open-access, drop-in hubs for mental health act as a net that catches the young people who fall through the gaps, as well as giving opportunities to meet others, share ideas, and engage in activities and build relationships with safe, trusted adults. Access to these hubs reduces the burdensome task of managing mental health alone, and we know Reading Young People’s Hub will provide a safe space to receive early support.”
About the community support, Carly Newman, Operations and Relationships Manager at No5 Young People, said “We were absolutely honoured to have been chosen as one of the three charities to benefit from Southlake Angling Society’s event, and for the opportunity it gave to local young people and their parents.”
“We are extremely grateful to the John Sykes Foundation for their match funding, doubling the impact of this fundraising and really demonstrating the power of local people, communities and organisations coming together in support of this vital Hub project.”
Stuart and Amanda also made the decision to donate £2,020 from the Olly Stephens GoFundMe account, set up by Billy Baker, when Olly was taken. They said, “we have told those that donated and continue to donate that every penny will be carefully spent with children’s needs at the heart of every donation. The work and services that No5 provide to our young people is remarkable and very undervalued by society as a whole. Children are literally our future, and with the pressures they now face growing up, people like No5 are in desperate need.”
This has meant a total of £6,420 has been raised by partners across the community towards Reading Young People’s Hub.
We are hoping to raise even more money towards the development of the Hub with their upcoming fundraising Gala at the Hilton Hotel, Reading on Saturday 22nd April.
They will be releasing further information about tickets, and sponsorship opportunities, for the Gala soon.
How you can be part of developing Reading Young People’s Hub:
If you are aged 11-25 and share this wish for a safe place to go and be yourself you can join in on No5’s Young Voices work!
The hub is being designed by young people for young people and we are continuing to hold focus groups and building a Hub Steering Group. Please email email@example.com to get involved!
If you support young people’s vision for Reading Young People’s Hub, you can:
Share your voice across your networks– share why you think #ReadingYoungPeoplesHub is needed or why you are supporting it! Do this via a Tweet, Facebook or LinkedIn post, Instagram Reel or TikTok video, Instagram story or however else you like! If you would like to share your voice anonymously, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay connected, follow and share this campaign on No5’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram – @no5youngpeople
Come to our Gala on Saturday 22nd April or make a donation – www.justgiving.com/campaign/ReadingYoungPeoplesHub
Invest in the Hub – If you are interested in investing, please contact Alyson Wylding via Alyson.email@example.com or 07713317142
Stay up to date:
Sign up to No5’s newsletter here to continue to hear the news about Reading Young People’s Hub and how you can continue to support it. Our newsletter also shares young people created mental health content as well as news of current events and youth offers in the community (such as youth clubs and after school workshops)!