Introducing… Willow, The Door’s Pioneer Community Youthworker.

Hi Willow!


First things first… what does it being a Pioneer Community Youthworker mean?

I go into new spaces where The Door is not yet established to set up relationships with the local community. I also take charge when we are setting up a new youth club or working in a new school. The goal is that once I have everything set up I can hand it over to the youthwork team and move on to something new.

At the moment I’m getting to know a new community in the Cotswolds. I’m running lunchtime sessions in their secondary schools and talking to the young people and teachers to better understand the needs of their community. This way we can be led by their needs rather than our ideas. I also use digital spaces like Instagram accounts (@CotswoldsDoor) to share updates on what The Door is offering to local people.

So, what are your favourite parts of your role?

That’s so hard! Firstly, I love meeting new young people and building professional relationships with them. I especially enjoy working with those who feel they are given negative messages by other adults in their lives. We don’t mind if they have been excluded or are having a tough time, we’re here to listen and help no matter what.

Youthwork is special in that way because we’re not an adult that’s part of school or home, we don’t have any agenda other than to be there to support young people where they are at; it’s a privilege to be welcomed into their lives.

My other favourite part of my role is being an advocate for young people when I’m talking to stakeholders. As youthworkers we can make sure that those making policy or spending budgets are aware of the needs of the young people on the ground.  We can pass on their real voices and concerns and ensure young people are not forgotten about.

And that’s a vital part of what The Door is here to do. 


So if those are the best bits… what are the more challenging aspects of your role?

It’s sometimes difficult to explain to stakeholders that we are here for all young people no matter what’s going on or where they are at. Lots of services are so busy and overstretched that their criteria for helping is really high. When you’re a youthworker walking round school at lunchtime we have just as much time for someone that’s fallen out with their friends at break or had a tough maths lesson that morning as we do for those with deeper issues and challenges. 

It can be frustrating when the first we hear about a young person in need of help is when they are at breaking point. So we are doing our best to deliver early intervention and prevention as well as be reactive in our work.

It’s great that young people can approach you and the rest of the team no matter how big or small their challenge may be.

Yes and it’s those relationships built on the small things that build trust for if the big things come along.

So true!

Now, as a pioneer you must always be looking forwards to the future, what have you got your eye on at the moment?

I’m looking forward to seeing what the future looks like for our work in the Cotswolds, we are still quite new to the area and it’s already clear how much need there is for The Door’s services. I’m excited to see what youthwork provision will look like for that community. And deepening the relationships we have with stakeholders and young people in the area.

I’m also excited to see which area I will be in next, to be able to meet a whole new community of young people and offer them what they need. One of the best parts of my job is to show young people that their community cares about them. There’s always this period of disbelief when you say to young people that someone whether it be local councils or a trust fund is willing to pay for something so they can access it for free.

I think that’s enough of the ‘serious stuff’ time to get to know you a little better with some more light-hearted questions.

Fire away!

Firstly – if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?

Oh! I was up all night thinking about this one! So the plan is for it to be a roast dinner. That way I can pick and mix all the different parts of it throughout the day – broccoli for breakfast, beef for lunch and potatoes for dinner. All with plenty of gravy of course!

Of course! Not sure about broccoli for breakfast though!


What about sports? 

Um… No. Not Applicable. I mean I go swimming but that’s about it. 

Fair enough, and finally is there anything you would like to share a quote or saying perhaps?

“Do what you enjoy. Don’t do what you don’t enjoy. Unless it’s maths then you have to do it!”


Find out more about the rest of The Door team by visiting the Meet The Team page. Or read more of these interviews in the news section.

Introducing… Willow

One thought on “Introducing… Willow

  • May 4, 2023 at 3:36 am

    Willow is one of the best! I’ve known her a while now and she’s so supportive! She is an amazing woman!


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