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out of the box sessionsThis article first appeared in the March 2020 issue of Enfield Dispatch.

We have started an initiative called Palmers Green Youth Provision (PGYP) at St John's Church, aiming to empower young people to learn important life skills and get involved in activities which will help boost their confidence and self-esteem. Giving young people a sense of "belonging" can help to prevent gang and knife crime, and we have discerned this as much needed in our community.

Providing support in three ways

PGYP is comprised of three elements, aimed at young people aged from 14 to 18 years. The first is a Friday afternoon session called Out of the Box — starting on 13th March — where young people can come after school to be safe and have fun with others. Every term we will offer a six-week life skills workshop, run by local community volunteers. Enfield Council is the initial provider, we will then have others come in to work alongside the volunteers that we have recruited.

Why "Out of the Box"?

out of the box logo

O.T.B. stands for Out of the Box and describes what we all know - we can't squeeze anyone, especially not young people, into a box or label them. Everyone is their own person; an individual with a story to tell; with hopes, dreams and aspirations and at O.T.B. we aim to be able to provide a space for all 14-18 year olds to come together, grow, take ownership and have fun in a safe environment! It's a preventative measure to get young people off the streets where they can feel vulnerable.

The second provision is called Free Spirit Mentoring. We are in the process of training up volunteers from the local community to mentor young people, involving pursuits such as gardening or arts and crafts. This will be done in co-operation with other agencies and schools.

Finally, we are offering a support group for parents and carers of young people who are vulnerable and have got involved with gang and knife crime. This group will meet every two weeks.

No need to be a church-goer

All three of these elements will be run at the church, but our helpers come from all walks of life and backgrounds. You don't need to be a church-goer to attend. The idea is to bring the whole community together to help our young people be safe and make a difference. We have the support of local businesses and the police and all volunteers will have basic training and are DBS checked to comply with safeguarding regulations.

We are also very grateful for all the support and donations we have received from our local community so far. They say it takes a village to raise a child — in our case it is the wider Enfield community that is coming together to keep our teenagers safe!

This article was amended on 10th March 2020 to update the information under the heading "Why Out of the Box"?

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PGC Webmaster posted a reply #5286 10 Mar 2020 22:19


An update on O.T.B. and the Palmers Green Youth Provision sent to its supporters this week.

Dear All,

After 10 months of planning, meetings, attending training sessions, putting policies together, doing DBS checks, meeting amazing people who have become our volunteers and after receiving invaluable support from everyone in the local community, we are so pleased to announce that we are finally opening the Palmers Green Youth Centre this Friday for the first get together of O.T.B. from 3.30-5.30pm!

O.T.B. is the first part of the Palmers Green youth provision. O.T.B. stands for 'out of the box' and describes what we all know - we can't squeeze anyone, especially not young people, into a box or label them. Everyone is their own person; an individual with a story to tell; with hopes, dreams and aspirations and at O.T.B. we aim to be able to provide a space for all 14-18 year olds to come together, grow, take ownership and have fun in a safe environment! It's a preventative measure to get young people off the streets where they can feel vulnerable.

We are working closely with Enfield Council and have had a training session with them for our volunteers. Enfield will also provide 2 youth workers for the first year so we can work alongside each other and learn and grow together. All our volunteers are undergoing or have undergone a DBS check to comply with safeguarding regulations and to keep young people safe. We have also got a couple of volunteers who are working on applying for grants for us.

Once we are up and running, we will start our Life Skills alongside O.T.B. get togethers, where young people can learn important life skills from local volunteers, so those of you who have volunteered to offer a skills workshop - thank you! - we will be in touch soon!

The second phase of the actual provision will be the free-spirit mentoring, which will start soon. We have had an overwhelming response to our call-out for volunteers who would like to be trained up as mentors and we will be letting them know soon how this part of the project and the training will proceed.

The third phase will be a fortnightly support group for parents and carers of vulnerable young people who have got involved in gang and knife crime. This will also start as soon as we have trained volunteers to be facilitators.

When we were out and about telling people about O.T.B., we also heard from many parents that they wish to see a youth centre for 11-14 year olds, which we are exploring and hoping to open in the Autumn.

We have created an Amazon Wishlist which has already helped us get the many things we need. If you would like to take a look please find it here, there are still some items on there:

www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1A8J01GIQB8TR ?

Please feel free to share our Wishlist with anyone you know might be interested.

If you are still interested in helping on a Friday afternoon and have not been in touch with us or attended any of the training sessions, please let us know by emailing .

If you know anyone aged 14-18 years, please tell them about us

We wanted to thank you all for your support, for believing in us, for your help, encouragement and for all the donations we have received. Without us all coming together, this project would not have happened.

Thank you very much from the bottom of our heart to all of you,

The O.T.B. Standing Committee
PGC Webmaster's Avatar
PGC Webmaster posted a reply #5289 13 Mar 2020 23:53


We were seriously looking forward to bringing the #OTB – Out of the Box Youth Centre to Palmers Green today, but due to the ongoing health concerns surrounding the Coronavirus, we are regrettably having to reschedule the opening until further notice as we know that this virus is spreading fast and we don’t want to open just to close again in a week or two or put anyone at risk.

We will re-assess the situation after Easter and will be in touch with all our helpers and volunteers soon.

We truly apologise for any inconvenience caused to the young people and volunteers.

Best wishes,
Rev Julie Coleman and Jenny Godfrey

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