15-year-old Ryan first connected with One YMCA through a project called Y Team – a community project which Ryan believes helps young people to get a better reputation through helping the older generation.

Ryan says, “The group has helped me to build my confidence and self-esteem through meeting new people and learning how to talk to them. I’ve been involved in different projects including a litter pick in my local area, food parcel deliveries to 380 vulnerable members of the community, delivering Christmas cards to a local sheltered housing scheme, and I’ve volunteered at two community fundraising events.

More recently I was given the opportunity to be part of a young persons’ panel which interviewed new YMCA youth workers. I was also elected to join a Youth Forum which helps to plan youth club activities and lets young people have our say on what happens around the area.

Through the Youth Forum I’ve met with the local MP and Councillors and discussed issues in the local area such as expensive bus fares. It’s nice to be listened to for once, as not many people listen to us due to our age.

I was nominated for a Young Persons Achievement Award. I attended the ceremony in St Albans Town Hall, and received the runner up award! It was such a relief knowing that people my age were being recognised for helping out in the community.”

Ryan went on to study public services at college and aspires to become a paramedic.

“It’s nice to be listened to for once, as not many people listen to us due to our age.” Ryan