We are delighted to publish a new Partner of the Week blog, which shines a spotlight on the great organisations that support our mission at Babbasa.
The Partner of the Week blogs talk to the individuals behind organisations, and goes into depth on their values, their career progression, and their work with us.
This week, we speak to Sandy Hore-Ruthven, who has supported our work through Creative Youth Network.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from and what’s your job title and role?
I am the CEO of Creative Youth Network and the Green Party candidate for Mayor of Bristol. The Creative Youth Network is the largest regional youth work charity in the UK and I grew it from a small, East Bristol Charity over the last 14 years.
We run the Station, the city centre youth hub and most of the youth services in Bristol and South Gloucestershire – working with over 9,500 young people each year including those who are most vulnerable. Creative Youth Network works in partnership with a range of other youth providers including Babbasa.
How did you get to where you are now in your career?
I started my career by moving from London to Bristol in the mid 1990’s. I started as a volunteer for Friends of the Earth where I started an environmental youth group called Generation Earth to get young people involved in environmental issues.
I then got the job running the regional office and grew the youth group. We campaigned on issues like clean air, climate change and recycling where we persuaded Bristol City Council to invest in the kerbside recycling system we have today – making Bristol one of the most successful recycling cities in the UK.
We worked alongside Young Bristol where I got a job running a programme involving young people as volunteers in their community. We ran a range of youth led programmes including Youth 4 Youth that reduced crime in Kingswood by 23%.
After a brief time working in East Africa and 3 years as a house husband looking after our two adopted children I got the job I have now. In 2006 I took over the Kingswood Foundation (now the Creative Youth Network). It was a small organisation working with only 20 young people each year.
The organisation has grown and it now employs 200 people and turns over £5m a year. Two key moments in the growth of the organisation was securing funding for the Station (youth centre) that put Creative Youth Network at the Heart of youth work in the city in 2012 and securing the Targeted Youth Service contract in 2018.
I became involved in politics after the Brexit referendum. I have always supported the Green Party and decided to get involved to try and keep the city a fair place. I put myself forward as a candidate for Mayor to extend the impact I could have on our city – making it a fairer and greener place.
Where does your passion and commitment to helping young people come from?
I love young people’s energy and potential. I believe every person has something to offer the world from great artists to great engineers, a good friend, parent, builder or insurance salesman – everyone has something to offer the world. I am passionate about helping people to find their role and helping them overcome the barriers they face to getting there. I see so many young people with facing poverty, abuse, mental health and other issues that stop them from achieving their potential.
What are your ideas and values when it comes to young people, ethnic diversity and equal opportunity?
Everyone has something to offer but some communities have less opportunities than others. This is especially true of those from BAME communities. At Creative Youth Network we aim to each out to those communities and individuals to ensure they have the same opportunities as others. That is why we work closely with Babassa. We believe that if young people have those disadvantages when they start in life because of the structural inequalities they should have extra support to make sure they have an equal opportunity to thrive and reach their potential.
How did you first hear about Babbasa?
I met Poku on a number of occasions and have been impressed by his work and passion for young people. We have worked alongside Babbasa for a long time.
What involvement have you had with Babbasa in the past?
We have worked on a number of projects together and now fund the organisation through the Targeted Youth Service making sure those most disadvantaged young people get the opportunities they deserve.
Have you ever been involved in any Babbasa events/activity before, and if you have, what was it about?
We have been involved in many Babbasa events including meeting the professionals, political hustings and more.
If you were to recommend Babbasa to someone, what would you say?
They are a passionate organisation with a real reach into the BAME community. They have a professional approach that helps BAME young people to get the support they need to get the jobs they deserve.