2 Working with minority ethnic young people in Swansea
EYST (Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team) Wales is an organisation working mainly with black and minority ethnic young people in Swansea, South Wales. The video that you are going to watch for the following activity features a cross-section of EYST’s work and staff and volunteers from the organisation. You will also see an extract from a film made by the organisation about the experiences of young migrants.
Watch the video now and, as you do so, make notes in response to the questions that follow.
1. Which communities and groups of young people does EYST work with?
2. Why is there a need for an organisation specifically aimed at young people from minority ethnic communities?
3. What kinds of needs and issues do the young people who come to EYST face, and how does the organisation address them?
4. What role does EYST have in relation to mainstream services?
5. How does the organisation help young people to develop a strong sense of identity?
EYST works mainly with young people from the local Asian and Muslim communities. However, the organisation also runs activities aimed specifically at young migrants and refugees from other ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Staff at EYST argue that there is a need for an organisation specifically aimed at minority ethnic young people, because parents from some communities do not want their children to go to mixed-gender youth clubs and are generally wary of mainstream services, which they do not feel address their cultural or religious needs.
The young people who attend EYST experience a variety of needs, including confidence issues and a lack of support in relation to education and employment. Some of the young people have experienced racism, and the organisation provides them with a safe place to share their experiences and to be safe from discrimination.
The staff see EYST as a bridge connecting young people from minority communities to mainstream services: in the video, we see young people attending a scuba diving class and learning about support services in relation to mental health issues, for example.
The organisation supports young people in developing a strong sense of identity by providing a safe space where they can share their experiences with others from a similar cultural background. However, they also learn about the cultures and beliefs of other communities: the video made by the young people and the exhibition of photographs about being ‘young, migrant and Welsh’ were examples of this.