At Gendered Intelligence, we are proud of our services working with young people, their families and trans adults in our communities. We have been working with transgender and gender-questioning young people for almost 15 years; each year, over 500 young people attend our youth groups and receive mentoring or other 1:1 support from our trained youth workers and mentors. We provide a supportive and safe environment, where young people can meet others in a similar situation in a facilitated space.
All our youth work & youth support, takes place in the context of well-established youth work practice understanding in the UK. We are endorsed by UK Youth, London Youth, and work in partnership with the Youth and Community Department at London Metropolitan University , a nationally recognised provider of youth work qualifications. We are also supported by — and work in partnership with — many other senior youth work practitioners and organisations around the UK.
There are existing guidelines and frameworks which shape the work of thousands of youth groups across the country, including residential youth trips for mixed age ranges. We follow, and are no exception to, this National Youth Work framework.
We believe that the health, welfare and safety of children and adults at risk is paramount and that all people without exception have a human right to be protected from abuse of any kind regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, gender identity, lifestyle or family make-up, or beliefs.
Effective safeguarding of children and adults at risk begins with staff and volunteers being well informed and aware of safeguarding issues. We induct all our staff and volunteers on our safeguarding policies and procedures, as well as run regular updates to these procedures. After every session involving children and young adults we hold a debrief space for the team to discuss any issues, or potential issues that they experienced during the session. This then escalates through our Senior Youth Work Practitioner team, to our Designated Safeguarding Leads as appropriate.
It is made clear and straightforward to all Gendered Intelligence staff and volunteers that they are required to report any concerns of potential abuse or risk to self or others immediately, through the procedures outlined in our Safeguarding Policy.
About our Youth & Community Work Practice
We have always run split age youth groups as part of our services and we regularly review these age bands to ensure they are the most appropriate for attendees.
Our youth groups are split by age as follows:
- 8-11-year-olds group in London, as well as a separate group online (see below for online section)
- 11-16 year olds group in London, as well as a separate group online
- 16–20-year-olds group in London, as well as a separate group online
- 12–21-year-olds group in Leeds
- 13–17 and 16-25 year olds groups called TPOCalypse for trans, gender variant and questioning young people of colour
Groups that sit alongside our youth service, but which are framed more as part of our community work and are regulated/run with more structure, staffing and boundaries on social interaction are:
- 11–25-year-olds group for our Community Saturday, with increased staffing, parents and carers group running alongside and siblings in the same age range welcome to join in.
- 18-30 year olds peer-led group (with staff support)
- Special and additional projects often age split as appropriate to the topic and/or format
Wider age ranges
On occasion we carry out activities with wider age ranges, including our Youth Board, Swimming, Pride trips, and Imagining our Futures sessions.
On these occasions, the space is staffed with more youth workers and trained volunteers than usual and have strict policies and rules around how the attendees share the space.
This includes: facilitated discussions led by large teams of youth workers and volunteers, toilets separated by over and under 18 age limits and no closed off/ unseen areas. Our workers are briefed in detail about supporting all ages to share and be in the space, and all young people are supervised at all times by at least two workers.
Online Youth Work Sessions
During the coronavirus pandemic, we moved all our youth work sessions online and have since kept that practice in place, offering both in person and online groups. We saw the immediate importance to put strict safeguards into place around our online work.
There is no way in our online spaces for young people to privately message each other; therefore there is no possibility for sharing details. Entry into these groups is vetted through our usual Youth Work procedures. Our workers are briefed in detail about supporting all ages to share and be in the space and all young people are always supervised by at least two workers.
Young people between the ages of 13-16 go through an assessment process to access our services – which ensures they understand the service they are accessing and that it is safe for them to do so. We seek parental / carer consent where possible. All young people under the age of 13 have parental/carer consent to attend our sessions. We communicate regularly with parents and carers over all matters concerning their young people who attend our services.
Residentials and Swimming Group
Our swimming group and residentials have strict rules and regulations that the workers and young people understand. Changing rooms and sleeping areas are split into various age ranges to keep young people separated according to existing national laws. These age ranges are as follows: under 16s, 16-17s & 18+ spaces.
Our camping residentials every summer have a minimum of 18 youth workers to 36 young people, which is a ratio of 1:2. We run two camping trips, one for young people aged 11 – 17 years and the other for 16 to 25-year-olds. The young people are dividedinto the following age categories for sleeping, youngers camp: 11-13; 14-15; 16-17 and for the olders camp: 16-17 and 18+. As you might expect, we have a ban on any kind ofsexual behaviour and the consumption of alcohol on our residentials. For any other one-off residential trips we run, the same age split sleeping arrangements are made as above.
We always require that young people under the age of 18 have consent from a parent/legal guardian in order to take part in our overnight projects. Before we go away, we invite young people’s parents/carers to a meeting so they can listen to our project plans in full, ask questions and meet the team of workers as well as the other young people. For swimming sessions or any other youth group sessions, parents and carers are invited to drop their young people off and talk to workers at that point. Please see more details in our Trans Inclusive Residential Guide for how we run our trips.
Our safeguarding qualifications
We have a robust safeguarding policy in place which applies to everyone who works with young people, including volunteers.
Our Designated Safeguarding Lead Teams
Our Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL) are Finn Greig, the Director of our Youth and Communities Services and Jake Kelly Head of our Youth & Families Services.
At Board level, Dr. Leni Goddard holds safeguarding responsibilities and is also a qualified DSL.
Finn Greig has a First-Class Hons Level 6 Youth and Community Work BA, as well as 16+ years’ youth and community work experience and Level 3 Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) qualification from Child Protection Training UK, Safeguarding Children level 3 (Designated Safeguarding Lead), as well as. Child Protection Training, Designated Safeguarding Lead update training, NSPCC.
Jake Kelly, is our co-DSL and carries out the majority of safeguarding inductions. He has worked as an LGBT specialist support youth and community worker at Portsmouth City Council (PCC) as part of the Early Help and Prevention team and used to Lead the PCC’s LGBT Youth Group. In addition to this, he has 11+ years’ youth work experience, a level 3 Youth and Community Work qualification, a Masters in Applied Theatre and 6 years experience working in various school and college settings, including Inclusion Officer at a large secondary school in Hampshire. He has Designated Safeguarding Lead update training and attends additional annual safeguarding training in his role as a foster carer.
In 2021, 4 additional members of the youth and community team received DSL training.
In terms of external review or contributions on specific issues, our work is informed by safeguarding and child protection expert Ann Marie Christian. Ann Marie helps schools, organisations, charities, churches and childcare settings to implement their statutory duty and responsibility in keeping children safe. She set up Child 1st Consultancy Limited in 2010 after working for a local authority in frontline child protection since 1996. She works in partnership with colleagues in various settings and supports them in offering bespoke intense support via training and consultancy.