Tigers Trust 30 Stories: Kayleigh Jackson on her childhood, volunteering and her role as a youth worker.
Posted on 5th November 2021 at 17:08
It's fair to say that Kayleigh Jackson is very much a Champion of Youth Work.
To mark Youth Work Week 2021, we are going to look at Kayleigh's story with the Trust and how she's developed from participant to influential role model within the Hull and East Riding community.
Where it all started...
Kayleigh's involvement with the Trust spans over twenty-six years, having first been involved as a participant in 1996.
"My first memory of the Trust was when they came into Craven Primary School where I attended and delivered football activities, such as a sponsored penalty shootout."
"Firstly, I'm not sure why my Mum has kept hold of the certificate [right] for this long!
"This is from when I attended one of the Soccer Schools at the Stadium back in 2003 when I was around 12 or 13.
"I regularly attended the Soccer Schools as a youngster, whether that be at Easter, in the summer or any other opportunities I was able to do so!"
Kayleigh admits that she wasn't the best behaved child at school and was often "up to no good".
"I was often in trouble, I was quite mischievous and Mum would always be getting calls home from the school.
"When it came to Year 11, I had to gain work experience and I think it was to no surprise to anyone that I'd not really bothered to find one."
This was when Kayleigh's Mum stepped in and rang the Trust who welcomed her with open eyes.
"I did my two-week work experience and absolutely loved going into primary schools and seeing the difference that we are able to make for the kids.
"After that, I continued to volunteer on a Saturday morning and it provided a bit of structure to get up earlier and get myself here on the bus.
"I did end up getting a job elsewhere after this though which meant my volunteering sadly had to end."
Premier League Kicks
Fast forward a few years and Kayleigh's association with the Trust would return after she was informed of the Premier League Kicks programme.
"In 2011, I was contacted by someone I knew from school, Paul Sarel, and he had a chat with me and explained what Kicks was about.
"I felt like I could really relate to it, especially with me getting up to no good as a teenager.
"I liked the fact that people could now see me out there in the community as someone who could make a difference".
From this conversation, Kayleigh would end up volunteering again which soon led to casual work and she was also put through her FA Level 1.
After her early work on the Premier League Kicks programme, she soon realised that she wanted to progress further and develop her work.
"I never wanted to be seen as just a generic football coach, I wanted to go down the youth work avenue.
"I wanted to make my role a bit broader and be that positive role model. I felt like I could really relate to the kids and speak to them.
"I used to my own experiences and used that in my power. It's not all about being academic, it's about being hands-on."
Kayleigh's fantastic work with young people around the city saw her earn a full-time role at the Trust in 2016.
In 2017, she was promoted to Social Inclusion Lead Officer and two years later became Social Inclusion Manager.
Premier League Kicks Targeted
Kayleigh works on the Premier League Kicks Targeted Programme with colleague Mark Morton.
This programme has been designed to divert young people away from serious youth violence, knife crime, gang membership, child criminal and sexual exploitation by forming trusted relationships with those identified at being at risk.
Working alongside Hull City Council’s VEMT (Vulnerable, Exploited, Missing and Trafficked) Team, Kayleigh and Mark are able to identify young people who may need early intervention and they then work closely with the young people to support them.
Last month saw Kayleigh and Mark deliver detatched youth work at Hull Fair, looking for any young children that might be vulnerable or at risk.
With this week being Youth Work Week, Kayleigh believes that it's important that everyone celebrates the work that youth workers do.
"It’s important that we pay tribute to occasions like this because youth workers play a role in the community that nobody else does,” she said.
“We are not teachers, we are not parents, we are there as a role model.
“Our role is to support young people and to help them achieve their full potential.”
We are incredibly proud of your journey Kayleigh, and you are an absolute inspiration for all across Hull and East Riding.
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