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National youth work award for Brighton’s Jan

9 October 2018

A Brighton woman whose work with young people in the city has boosted their political engagement has been recognised for her efforts with a national award.

Jan Weston collecting her award from Foyer Federation CEO Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa

Jan Weston, deputy local service manager at Sanctuary Supported Living’s (SSL) Brighton & Hove Foyer, was presented with the Foyer Legend Award at the 2018 Spark Awards.

Jan was one of four people shortlisted for the category and received her award at Birmingham’s Fazeley Studios.

The awards, organised by the Foyer Federation, recognise the achievements of staff and residents alike at foyers across the country, which provide supported housing for young people aged 16 to 25.

SSL operates three foyers, including Brighton & Hove’s, where Jan has worked since 2002, starting her career as a volunteer before taking a paid role as project-worker after a year and later progressing to deputy local service manager.

Since then, Jan has implemented the Foyer Deal of offering “something for something”, ensuring young people living at the service understand the rights and responsibilities their supported accommodation entailed.

Alongside this work, Jan has been the driving force behind a range of innovative programmes and social activities at the Foyer, including co-ordinating Lloyds Bank’s Money for Life project to help residents better understand money management.

She has assisted residents to lead the housing conversation in Brighton by supporting them to produce a leaflet – ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go? – which provides young people with informed choices about whether to leave home and was distributed to schools and other agencies in Brighton.

Jan has also worked with local politicians to promote civic engagement among residents, organising a political speed dating-style event where residents could quiz councillors and the local MP. Ninety-six per cent of eligible residents registered to vote for the following general election.

Jan said: “My time at Brighton & Hove Foyer has meant so much in terms of what I’ve been able to do with residents. I’ve greatly enjoyed seeing them grow as people during their time here and knowing I’ve played a part in that.

“I’m honoured to have been put forward for the Foyer Legend award and humbled to have won.”

SSL local service manager Stephanie Smith added: “Jan been central to Brighton & Hove’s Foyer work with our residents for the past 16 years. In that time, she has not only ensured residents have access to first-rate opportunities to develop themselves but has helped them to engage with the community and even lead the agenda on some local issues.

“She’s enjoyed some wonderful achievements in her time here and fully deserves this recognition.”

I’m honoured to have been put forward for the Foyer Legend award and humbled to have won.

Jan Weston, deputy local service manager

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