The Enthusiasm Trust has been operating for over 20 years, delivering projects working with young people who are most at risk of exploitation and offending. They predominantly work in the Derby, Nottingham and Manchester areas and the organisation is led by Joe Russo, the founder.
When asked about what is at the core of The Enthusiasm Trust’s programme, Joe explained they have three main focuses: Youth Delivery (place based, direct delivery with young people and high-risk children), their Get Connected programme (a 6-9 month programme working with police and local professionals on developing their current strategy) and Influencing (shaping local and national policy to alleviate poverty and tackle crime).
A usual week for Joe and his team involves plenty of home visits and check-ins with their service users, hosting dance groups and youth clubs. In addition to their direct youth work, the team will be responding and reacting to their service users (antisocial behaviour, crime and relationship breakdowns to name a few of the issues that may need to be dealt with), working with professionals and agencies such as Social Workers and the Police, as well as getting on the road to secure funding and new business. Joe explained that his team deal with emotionally taxing and complicated scenarios, which means that as an organisation they must invest heavily in team culture and activities to avoid normalisation of troubling day-to-day cases.
The Covid-19 crisis has meant that much of Enthusiasm Trust’s service delivery has had to be adapted, but they are working endlessly to ensure that none of their young people are left feeling isolated, alone or unsupported during these uncertain times. In some rare cases (and exclusively for extremely high risk and vulnerable service users), Enthusiasm Trust are delivering 1-2-1 meetings in person, but they are still having to observe the strict self-distancing guidelines and deep cleaning procedures in shared spaces. These sessions are not taken lightly and are only run when absolutely essential.
Enthusiasm Trust are trialling a virtual Youth Club, offering team-led dance sessions and FIFA tournaments, as well as general chatting and socialising. One of their initiatives is a ‘bake-along’, whereby the Enthusiasm Trust team have sourced ‘baking packs’ with all of the essential ingredients, doing social distancing drop-offs at youth club member houses for the group to bake together, all via video technology.
All in all, the service users are responding positively, most of them look forward to social contact and the offering of virtual escape from often dysfunctional and difficult homes. Enthusiasm Trust have been trying to find the balance – many of the youth they work with are fed up with being at home, which can lead to antisocial behaviour and rebellion, therefore the team are doing their best to break the cycle and continue being an outlet for youth energy and trust.
If you would like to know more about Enthusiasm Trust:
Contact Founder, Joe Russo at email@example.com