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The Albion Foundation's Head of Engagement Hayley James discusses her department's 2017 and previews what lies ahead for the new year...

2017 was a new era for the Foundation as we formed the Engagement Department and @Youth Sandwell project.

We want to bring work in the youth sector up to date and make it relevant by offering free sport and non-sport youth activities for young people of Sandwell.

We aim to give the younger generation a voice about the activities they want to do, rather than some of the older, more traditional options that aren't as popular as they used to be.

Bringing that together has been the priority and trying to set up new sessions and projects has been both the biggest challenge and success.

There are lots of things going on in Sandwell but often at a cost which deters a lot of our young people.

I believe this is why some of them go down paths that society doesn't want them to.

I'm not saying we're going to solve this, but we will definitely make an impact into that because it gives kids something to do.

Since being formed in September, we've achieved quite a lot in a short space of time.

Moving forward into 2018, it's time to really focus on giving young people more opportunities.

They already turn up to a youth club and participate, we now want to involve education in these sessions.

We hope to have worked with 5,000 participants from September 2017 to April this year.

We've got an ethos in our team to provide for young people - it's part of our duty to give them that little bit more and we want to give them further opportunities in 2018.

We've got a huge audience readymade that are engaging with our services. 

Both participants and wider organisations have bought into what we are trying to achieve.

We're optimistic and ambitious about really making change for young people in Sandwell.

We're looking at where the gaps are and listening to young people to put them all together.

For more information on the Engagement Department, please follow @YouthSandwell on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, or email


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