A safe haven, without judgement but with a relaxed community feel

- that's how Sean Cook remembers our Young People's Service (YPS) based in the west end of Newcastle.

As a teenager, Sean used to be a regular at one of the young people's drop-ins run by WEYES (West End Youth Enquiry Service) - the old name for what is now YPS.

Today he's a passionate advocate for Children North East, supporting the charity whenever he can. Sean is a customer advisor at Newcastle Building Society's Darras Hall branch in Ponteland, which opened its new and improved premises this July, and he's dad to seven-year-old Josh. 

Cash tips for kids

Along with his colleagues, fellow customer advisors, Joanne Trattles, Stephani Bowman and branch manager, Charlotte Williams, Sean has been down to our young people's allotment in Benwell to help plant and tidy up and he's also given a presentation to our FAB group (the Fantastic and Brilliant group for youngsters with disabilities).

* Above: Sean (left) gives the FAB group tips on money management

Sean says he's just really pleased to be able to give something back to the charity that was there for him when he was young.

I think there's a great need for this service, especially in the social media-led world we live in. Support is definitely needed for our youngsters. We did some great trips when I went to WEYES - one in particular was gorge walking in the Lakes, which was brilliant.

21st birthday appeal

Children North East youth worker, Teresa Bromilow, who has known Sean since he began coming to the drop-ins, says it's lovely when people who've used the service come back to say hello and as the project on Graingerville, Westgate Road, prepares to celebrate its 21st birthday in October, she's encouraging people - past staff and visitors alike - to share their memories. Any old photographs from 1998 onwards would be great to see.

Teresa added: "I just think its fantastic to see how well Sean is doing and what a great man he has turned out to be, which, I always knew he would.  When he first came to the project he was always wanting to help out his peers.

He was always looking for opportunities to achieve great things. He worked hard to find funding to do the Tall Ships Race and then he sought funding to get football strips for his Sunday League team.   We didn't really do much except listen and help him and his friends do what they wanted to do.  I feel very privileged to have met Sean and see how the 'bairn' has turned out.  I love the fact he still wants to visit me and tell me about how he and his mates are doing. 

We'd LOVE to hear from other people who used to come to WEYES. If you have good memories that you'd like to share - please contact Teresa Bromilow by email on [email protected]

There's more information about the Social groups and drop ins at our Young People's Service here.