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Chilypep (formerly the Youth Empowerment Project) was established in North Sheffield in 2000 as part of the SRB and Objective 1 regeneration programme for Southey and Owlerton. We were part of North East Sheffield Trust, SPELL North East and The Healthy Cross Community Project, before becoming an independent organisation in 2005 and a registered Charity in 2006, changing our name to Children and Young People’s Empowerment Project.
We have grown from a tiny project to a nationally recognised organisation, having developed models of good practice of youth empowerment and social action work that have enabled young people to influence national and local policy and services, and be instrumental in bringing about changes that improve the lives of other young people.
We have developed a range of training programmes that have helped young people to run their own projects including Peer Mentoring, Peer Research, Young Commissioners and Campaigning and Representation.
Over the last 20 years Chilypep has helped 1000’s of children and young people to get involved in their local community or community of interest, and have their voices heard about the issues that affect them. We worked with young people to develop the first Sheffield Youth Council and ran the Sheffield Youth Opportunity Fund Young People’s Grant Panel, distributing over £600,000 to young people to run their own projects and activities.
We have set up area-based youth forums, school councils, area wide youth parliaments, and a range of groups that support young people to raise issues for disadvantaged young people such as those with disabilities, mental health, and emotional wellbeing support needs, those from Black and Ethnic Minority communities, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender young people, refugee and asylum seekers, care experienced young people, young carers, girls and young women, and boys and young men.
Our open-door policy means that young people are free to engage in the project for as long as they wish and leave and return as their circumstances dictate. This has meant that many young people have taken part in a whole range of projects over many years.
We have also had a wealth of volunteers, both within the projects and as part of our Board of Trustees.
Over the last 6 years we have expanded into Barnsley, where half of our work now takes place, and we have developed social cohesion projects in partnership with others that bridge youth work and community development.