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Published on Mar 19, 2012
With increasing cuts to youth services in the local community and the lack of engagement with young people from services and other agencies, Maaike was motivated and inspired to make a change. Her response was helping the establishment of 'Off The Bench' whose core aim and the mission has been to "Empower young people through positive activities."
Through Maaike's hard work and endeavour, a number of initiatives and projects have been put in place to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime in the local area. This has included the sourcing and securement of funding for a £43,000 coffee shop and youth engagement venue which is due to open April 2012. Other projects have seen Maaike and Off The Bench develop and maintain the running of several youth clubs across the city, the establishment and progression of a volunteering base of over 100 people, and work across the county with those young people whom have disabilities.
Maaike's infectious enthusiasm and 'can do' attitude has seen the team build around her and unite a workforce that has grown from just two people in April 2011 to 22 people in March 2012. This has helped in putting 21 other people into employment who also share the same goal as Maaike and are able to enhance the lives of young people in the community.