Youth Challenging Oxford

Youth Challenge Oxfordshire (YoCO) is a growing charity supporting vulnerable young people aged 13-21.  Our vision is to ensure every young person has the opportunity to develop personal confidence and resilience, choosing to live a rewarding life and contribute to society.  YoCO offers young people an exciting and challenging 18 month programme which helps them to face up to and overcome common life issues, such as pressures of social media; bullying; mental health challenges; influence from peers to take unnecessary risks.

YoCO young people come from a variety of backgrounds – young carers, those with challenging personal/home backgrounds or at risk of being, or already are excluded from, school or college. The programme, designed by educational experts within the charity, is run by voluntary youth group leaders with a professional team in support. Weekly meetings include a programme of education, team-work, leadership, health awareness & fitness, volunteering & community development, fund raising projects and residential trips within the UK and overseas (pre-Covid this has been a 10 day visit to Western Kenya to work with orphaned children supported by the Nasio Trust).

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The programme also supports young people to achieve Duke of Edinburgh Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.  Over the course of the 18 months, the broad reach of the programme enables the young people to develop a greater awareness and appreciation of the lives of others and a greater level of confidence, personal development and resilience so that they can realise their own potential to be effective citizens and to make good personal life choices that will set them up for a bright future.

The YoCO Groups all partake in fundraising (to each raise £800 towards their overseas trip) and important community events, such as helping at a care home’s summer fete, football festivals, running Community Fundays for local families with young children, supporting the community with food donations in partnership with the Oxford Food Hub, bingo, litter picking, tree planting and a spectacular fireworks night.

After ‘graduating’, YoCO continues to offer support, help and advice in areas such as applications to educational courses, apprenticeships/training, and employment through our Alumni Group.

In essence, the support YoCO offers to young people in Oxfordshire continues long after the initial 18 month programme with many YoCO young people continuing to volunteer as young leaders, inspiring others to develop that important resilience and confidence of their own. It is these people, together with our strong network of supporters and volunteers, that gives YoCO its broad reach across Oxfordshire.