“Before coming to CATCH, I’d hang around with boys on the streets, not far from here. I was in high school at the time, but I wouldn’t really study. I was more interested in passing the time doing anything else. One of the volunteers came to talk to us about the youth centre. I came here a few times but found myself getting bored again. I didn’t want to go back to hanging around on street corners. I knew it wouldn’t lead anywhere good. I thought about how I could change my life. I spoke to Ash (CATCH’s Founder) and asked whether there was something for me to do. He put me in charge of a session and it went well. That’s when I started to volunteer – seven years ago. And now I’m a facilities leader.
When I first started I remember being very quiet. Not speaking to anyone; not having the confidence. One winter, Ash asked me to make a speech at the Christmas meal. I’d never done anything like it before. I hated it of course, I’d freeze and not say anything. But gradually, having done a few events now, I’ve improved massively. That’s how I’m able to speak to you so confidently now, and tell my story.
One of the challenging and memorable experiences was a sailing trip. It was five days, day and night, on a boat. There were five of us in total, and we all had to work as a team to make it work. The first stage took us from South Shields to Scarborough. I’ll never forget it because everyone was so sea sick. We got used to it after that and started enjoying ourselves. It’s an experience we’ll never forget and it was all because of CATCH.”
CATCH is a volunteer led organisation based in Harehills that works to raise the aspirations of local young people. The Foundation supported the organisation through a Healthy Holidays grant, enabling attendees to broaden their food horizons and gender attitudes towards cooking, as well as offer nutritious meals to over 90 young people that attend their weekly Youth Club.
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