HAYN Network: What has been happening?

by | May 19, 2022 | Young people | 0 comments

The Housing Associations Youth Network (HAYN) exists to work with and for young people aged 11-25 that live in and around our communities. It is a peer network of youth focused representatives from the social housing sector.

The network has recently had 2 events, an online showcase and in person event where members had the opportunity to get together and discuss the best initiatives to help young people across the sector. As plans of the network grow, we wanted to reflect on the work that has been done already and what is to come.

For the network to work most effectively, three sub-groups have been set up to cover different issues:

  • HAYN volunteering academy
  • HAYN mental health
  • HAYN VAYP – Violence affecting young people

HAYN Volunteering Academy

March 2022

Since October 2021 we have expanded our Youth Social Action programmes as part of the HAYN Volunteering Academy, with the aim of embedding youth voice and action across social housing communities.

Our Community Ambassador Programme is a 12-month programme for teams of up to 10-12 young people aged 11-20 who are passionate about making a positive difference in their communities. Since October we have invested in 19 programmes – engaging 169 young people in meaningful Youth Social Action.

The Community Ambassador Programmes this year have started to highlight key themes that they would like to work on, Intergenerational, LGBTQ +, Environment, Bullying, Internet Safety and Citizenship and Politics, Food & Fuel Poverty, Disability and Job Opportunities & Employment.

Mini Community Ambassadors Programme (Mini CAP) is twelve month programme for teams of up to 10 children aged 5-10 and provides an introduction to Youth Social Action for children in our communities who want to start their social action journey through small-scale projects and events (e.g. intergenerational, litter picking). Between October and Feb 2022, we funded 10 new programmes. In total, 89 children have been engaged so far with the main social action themes being intergenerational, environment and helping your community.

Additionally we have launched an innovative Social Action Youth Connectors Programme (SAYC) for 18-25 year olds looking to transition from volunteering into paid work. As a SAYC, a young person:

  • Gives additional support and social action expertise for youth organisations
  • Helps to connect and signpost young people to social action opportunities, activities and other youth programmes in their area
  • Conducts regular research and knowledge sharing with their peers
  • Raises awareness of internal and external services available for young people
  • Is part of the UK Youth Movement and working towards a Level 1 Youth Work qualification.

To date we have funded 50 young people as SAYC’s with a new cohort being launched in September 2022.

HAYN – Mental health sub-group

The mental health sub-group is the newest HAYN sub-group, and therefore still in an scoping phase. We’re open to new members of the sub-group, and there is space for members of the group to shape the direction.

In my day job, I’m the Director of the Spotlight Centre, in Poplar in London. We have a wide range of programmes for young people at the centre, including various projects which focus on young peoples’ health and wellbeing. These include Healthspot, our in-house confidential GP service for young people, a mental health ambassadors programme which works with young people with experience of poor mental health to create and spread resources to inform others about mental health, and sports programmes with mental health and group sharing elements.

We will discuss these services and those of other HAYN members within the mental health sub-group, and consider whether we can collaborate, replicate, or modify these initiatives to fill gaps in the delivery of HAYN members.


The HAYN VAYP partnership with the GLA Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) launched fully in the summer of 2021 with the appointment of 2 new roles: Project Manager and Project Coordinator. These roles were funded by 9 Housing Associations and have been working within the VRU over the past 7 months.

The overarching purpose of the partnership is to begin to explore how we could use our collective assets to do more to reduce the violence that affects young people and local communities.

The work completed so far has provided a greater insight into the root causes and complexity of issues that fuel increased levels of violence. We are now in the process of developing a ‘public health’ (in line with the VRU strategy) approach that involves all stakeholders and places young people and communities at the heart of solutions.

The programme of partnership work is focused on 3 key objectives for the next 5 months in preparation for year 2:

  • To improve the joint working of HAYN (and its partners) with local authorities through the Violence and Vulnerability Action Plans (VVAP)
  • Amplifying the voices of young people (Delivery)
  • To record and share all learning and identify recommendations and a business case for phase 2 (2022-2023)

Join the HAYN Network

If you’re interested in joining the HAYN Network, you can learn more and find out how to join via the HAYN website or contact HACT Network Lead, Adam Chester adam.chester@hact.org.uk