Current Programmes

  #iwill Community Spaces

    • Positively Pally
    • East Middlesbrough
Funded by the Co-op Foundation, the Positively Pally programme originally supported local young people in improving the design and use of a community space in the Pallister Park area of Middlesbrough which has received extremely positive feedback from community members and from partners.
Through Positively Pally young people have delivered a range of social action projects that benefit not only themselves and their peers, but also the local community. They take the lead in the planning and delivery of every stage of the projects they undertake and have delivered projects ranging from local heritage photography to food hampers to an Eco Shop.
We are currently expanding this work across East Middlesbrough into areas that face similar issues to Pallister Park, such as lack of youth provision, low income households and low levels of deprivation.
Youth Focus North East set up a competition for the local young people to design a logo, a group of young people came together to judge the logos, and the winner was chosen. Gabriella Saunders created this amazing logo for Active Tees Valley eco shop.
East Middlesbrough is made up of a number of wards: North Ormesby, Pallister Park, Parkend, Berwick Hills, Brambles Farm and Thorntree. Similar to Pallister Park, the wards above are in the most 10% deprived areas in the country which are made up of mostly council housing and have developed an historic reputation of crime and anti social behaviour and crime. 
For more information, contact

    Half a World Away

In this project, funded by the Co-op Foundation, we focus on loneliness and isolation from the point of view of young people living in urban and rural communities across the North East. We bring together young people from these areas, who are either unemployed or at risk of unemployment, to share a deeper understanding of what it is to be lonely and unemployed in rural and urban settings. We then use this understanding to share learning and develop practical, preventative solutions.
Through Half a World Away young people have come together to develop ideas to tackle some of the issues they themselves have raised, as well as taking their own solutions and ideas into communities in order to raise awareness of issues regarding loneliness and isolation.
Through our approach we are creating links between two different worlds, helping young people build connections, helping them explore what they have in common and how their lives are different but related.
For more information, contact

  Local Challenge #iwill

This is a three year funded project by Virgin Money Foundation. Young people are delivering 50 local challenges in 50 communities across the North East. Each project looks to link people together through social action focusing on the environment, health or culture.
Youth Focus North East staff support them to decide, develop and deliver a project that makes a positive difference to their own community. The group is given £300 to bring their idea to life.
So far we have seen social action projects delivered in areas ranging from Seghill on the Northumberland border to Middlesbrough, and from Pelton Fell in County Durham to Stepney Bank in Byker.
These social action projects are not only fun, they also help develop confidence, reduce isolation and foster positive relationships within the community.
For more information, contact

  Our Community Matters

Our Community Matters, funded by the National Lottery Reaching Communities Fund, is a programme designed to address isolation and loneliness.
We worked in partnership with Tees Valley Rural Action to enable us to include a number of isolated rural villages across the Tees Valley in our delivery, and to bring these together with groups from urban areas adding to foster connections.
The project was delivered through an intergenerational ‘wellbeing challenge’ approach – young people aged between 13 to 25 work with groups of people aged 50 and over to develop and deliver community events and activities to increase wellbeing and improve community cohesion. Understanding and empathy between the different groups has improved, and real friendships have formed as a result of connections made.
As part of the programme we have developed our Talking Head Squad, a group of young people who have each participated in projects throughout the year and who helped to plan, design and deliver the annual Celebration Event. Taking part in project management training and learning to present to huge audience numbers has improved their confidence levels significantly. They have also supported the evaluation and feedback of the projects using interview techniques and reporting back to the delivery team to inform on-going learning.
For more information, contact 

  Youth Endowment Fund – Positive Pathways

Working in partnership with Safer Communities we are delivering the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) funded ‘Positive Pathways’ project in East Middlesbrough. The YEF mission is to prevent children and young people becoming involved in violence. They do this by finding out what works and building a movement to put this knowledge into practice.
Positive Pathways aims to direct young people away from anti-social and criminal behaviours, to enable them to learn new skills, understand their own ability, and help them make well-informed choices. We aim to help with building confidence and self-esteem, creating a sense of purpose and learning to exercise critical thinking and self-control, whilst also building awareness of issues relating to gang and knife crime.
The project is delivering a range of pop-up outdoor activities including sports, music, social action, one-to-one sessions, group work and health and wellbeing projects; as an approach to informing behaviour and raising aspirations beyond gang and crime culture. We are delivering in places where young people meet such as parks, shopping centres, on the streets, to suit their group and individual needs.
For more information, contact


We are working in partnership with Musinc to provide access to music making for young people in the Tees Valley.
By organising sessions at venues attended by young people, the aim is to provide opportunities to take part in musical activity, promoting music projects that are adaptable to young people’s individual and common interests.
By increasing participation in community spaces connections are made, and within a safe environment new skills can be developed, as well as providing an opportunity to signpost information about other essential services. Within this project young people are provided the opportunity to design, create and deliver their own social action project using music for the benefit of their local communities.
For more information, contact

  Big Days

Funded by the Co-op Foundation, our Big Days programme is focused on combatting isolation and loneliness amongst young people. We focus our work on the key times of the year – such as Christmas, Anniversaries, Mother’s Day and other times when being alone and lonely can be particularly highlighted.
Big Days is led by a steering group of young people who develop and deliver social action projects aimed at both young and old. Getting involved in this programme helps young people reduce their own feelings of isolation and loneliness by developing their empathy for others in similar situations and through the act of doing something positive.
The steering group and local groups of young people have worked with a range of local community organisations in order to organise Big Day events. Among them are local veterans’ groups, Newcastle Young Adult Carers Group, local schools, youth projects and families experiencing bereavement in Redcar and Cleveland. Our second Winter Warm Up Christmas event in 2019 hosted 200 older people from Age UK Gateshead, Alzheimer’s UK, Home Instead, local care homes and sheltered housing.
For more information, contact

  Erasmus Youth Voice

An EU funded Erasmus project, Youth Voice has brought together three leading youth organisations in England:
Royal Society for Blind Children
Youth Focus: North East
Young Bristol
to support young people who are blind and partially sighted, and their disadvantaged peers, to meet with influencer/decision makers from a range of sectors to discuss their views on the things that matter to young people today with the goal of influencing change.
We achieve this through the development, delivery and facilitation of a range of local, regional and national meetings where young people engage in discussion and workshops with adult organisational and sector leaders. Young people are able to share their thoughts and ideas on key issues, such as transport, well-being and independent living. to raise awareness and discuss improvements that could be made to improve services they receive.
During the course of the project young people build and increase their confidence, improve their communication abilities, and develop decision making and influencing skills. They gain knowledge of local, regional and national services and the decision making processes that regulate them, and have a greater awareness of the processes and structures that can effect change.
For more information, contact


Streetlaw began in the US in the 1970’s; it involves law students going into schools and youth groups to inform young people about legal issues using practical and interactive teaching methods.  
Since 2011 we have had the pleasure of working with Newcastle University to support their own Street Law project.  The project develops and evolves every year, led by the student Street Law Ambassadors (SLAs).  
The SLAs have developed materials on legal issues such as police powers, access to legal advice, rights at school, street drinking and transitions into adulthood.
As a key partner on the project Youth Focus North East deliver bespoke interactive training sessions to undergraduate students from Newcastle Law School on effectively working with young people. The training enables them to become SLAs, delivering discussion and awareness sessions to groups of children and young people in the region.
We have recently provided an additional peer mentoring support service included within the training and programme delivery. During Covid-19 we moved the training online so that SLAs can deliver both in person and online, ensuring they are reaching a wide range of the young people they can support.
For more information, contact

     North Ormesby

   Big Local

Big Local is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and managed by Local Trust, working to build on the skills and experiences of others to provide expert advice and support for local residents. It’s a long term, user-led programme, designed to ensure residents can focus on the things that make a lasting different to their communities.
Youth Focus North East, in partnership with Safer Communities, are proud and pleased to have been awarded the contract to deliver the North Ormesby Big Local Youth Provision.
North Ormesby is a ward area situated in Middlesbrough.
We are commencing our youth provision with detached work in the local area, speaking with young people and community members about what they would like to see from their provision in 2021.
For more information, contact

  DCMS – Young Inspectors

Funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Young Inspectors programme is aimed at enabling young people to participate in making national policy.
Youth Focus North East, Youth Focus North West and Yorkshire and Humber Regional Youth Work Unit are working in partnership to deliver the Young Inspectors programme.
We have recruited, trained and are supporting young people in the role of Young Inspectors in order to give them a voice in the commissioning, monitoring and evaluation of national programmes affecting young people.
We are also supporting a network of organisations either currently delivering their own Young Inspectors programmes or interested in developing a scheme of their own. This network is providing training and peer support.
For more information, contact


  Tackling Youth Loneliness   Resources


We are proud to be the lead partner on a national programme to develop a range of resources to help workers and organisations support young people to tackle loneliness and isolation.
Government and the Co-op Foundation, through the Building Connections Fund, are supporting our National Youth Partnership, consisting of the following organisations:
      • Youth Focus: North East
      • Youth Focus: North West
      • Yorkshire and Humber: Youth Work Unit
      • Partnership for Young London
      • National Youth Agency
      • Youth Focus: West Midlands
      • Youth Focus South West C.I.C
Our Partnership consists of some of the most experienced and knowledgeable youth work practitioners and managers in the country. Each member of our Partnership has many years’ experience in providing training, professional development and strategic support to youth sector colleagues across the whole of the country.
We have developed the Tackling Youth Loneliness Website that brings together research and resources in one place for the first time; we have developed films with young people that can be used in workshops and discussion sessions by workers, and we have developed training packages that we have begun to roll out across the country that help workers begin to understand the issues around loneliness and isolation.
These resources are free to download and will hopefully aid you in your efforts to reduce loneliness and isolation for young people. 
We are keen that colleagues working with young people add their ideas, examples of projects, details of sessions, research and evaluation to help build a central repository of practice and information for the benefit of all.
There is no one way of tackling this challenging issue, so if you have developed your own resources, or have tips and advice that you would like to share with others, please contact us at to discuss adding them to the website.