Reaching out in Winchester

Engaging older children with HAF is always a challenge. Peter Cooper looks at how Winchester Street Reach has adapted its support to literally reach out and bring young people into its HAF programme

Jul 3 2023

Graffiti workshop at Winchester Street Reach

Although Hampshire’s engagement figures for 12- to 16-year-olds is comparable to the national average, it’s an age group that we’re always trying to get more involved.


We know that organisations with a year-round presence are most effective at working with this age group and building an ongoing relationship with young people. That’s why we approached Winchester Street Reach, a charity targeting young people aged 11 to 17 experiencing emotional, behavioural and social needs and those experiencing disadvantage. They were among small local projects that have been encouraged and supported by our Partnerships Officer to become HAF providers – an effort that has paid dividends.


Street Reach were already experts at reaching out to young people, so by reaching out to the organisation itself, we’ve all learned valuable tips about how to pitch HAF to appeal to teenagers – learning that we want to replicate elsewhere in Hampshire.


After working closely with the charity's trustees, staff and volunteers to resolve questions and queries, Winchester Street Reach launched as a HAF provider for Easter 2023 – and achieved 100 per cent attendance, despite working with some of our most complex and vulnerable young people.


The charity’s trustees have actively networked with local organisations to support the HAF delivery. The staff and volunteers are known and trusted by the young people, and it was them who changed their model of delivery from street-based engagement to venue-based group sessions for HAF.


The charity has invested in transport to collect participants from home, but also get them to essential appointments which would otherwise be missed. Activities including music, street art, sports and offsite trips are all planned with input from the young people, and catering arrangements allow them to get involved in preparing meals.


Health and wellbeing support is a fundamental aspect of their work and signposting comes naturally – covering topics including healthy eating and nutrition, friendships and bullying, smoking and vaping, relationships and sexual health, mental health and alcohol and drug awareness.


Find out more about Winchester Street Reach’s HAF scheme here.