The Salmon Youth Centre

The Salmon Youth Centre

At a glance


  • Children / families
  • Mental health
  • Sports
  • Young people

Other details

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Geographical remit: 


Salmon Youth Centre (SYC) is a large youth centre in Southwark, south-east London, in part of Bermondsey ranked in the top third of the most deprived areas in England.

It is an inner-city project making a profound long-term difference to the lives of disadvantaged young people. SYC is not just an outstanding recreational facility: it is a mission which transforms their aspirations, prospects and achievements. SYC is attended by about 1,250 children and young people aged 6–25 each year. SYC is open weekdays from 4:00-10:00pm for age- and activity-defined sessions. After school is when gangs are most active and antisocial behaviour is common.We are one of the largest youth centres in the country. Our facilities feature a large four-court sports hall for badminton, basketball, football, and trampolining; a gym with weight-, cycling-, rowing- and running machines; a games room for pool and table-tennis; a music studio where recordings can be made; a dance studio; an art room for creative arts; a performance area with stage, sound and lighting systems; an IT suite used as a homework area; a large kitchen where cooking skills can be developed; a counselling room; a bicycle workshop; and an external climbing wall.


Young people come to Salmon for fun, whether to play a sport, make music or art. But they soon form friendships with others and our staff, mentors and volunteers. Forming healthy relationships with supportive adults is for many a new experience.
This helps them to develop their communication skills, become more reflective, and manage their relationships. We aim to help them develop their gifts and dreams, and realise their full potential by setting goals in order to achieve their ambitions. Many often describe Salmon as a family!

30 day trips- Day outings have included Go Ape, go-karting, paintballing and rafting. Visits have been made to art galleries, festivals, theatres and companies such as Gallup and PwC.

10 holidays - A week at PGL for 7-13s, yachting for 14-19s, and camping at a Christian festival are just some examples of the ten residential activities we organise each year.

Trauma - Many of our young people have experienced domestic violence, physical and emotional neglect or abuse, or live with adults with alcohol or drug abuse problems. These issues have far-reaching impacts on their learning, behaviour and health.
Our youth workers are trained to identify and support children who have complex Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) such as these. Staff are trained in mental health first aid and professional therapists help children to manage their emotions and responses. Our staff provide sensitive and sustained mental health support.

Mentoring - Weekly 1-2-1 mentoring sessions are available to those aged 9 or above. Areas covered include becoming employment-ready through education, training and jobsearch support; health issues regarding alcohol, diet, drugs, sex and smoking; how to avoid a criminal record, or for ex-offenders, help to develop a crime-free life.

NEETs - We help young people who are not in employment, education or training with CV writing and interview training, and take them to job fairs and similar events.
Each year 30 young people take part in work experience activities.

Inclusion of Young People with Disabilities-We welcome young people with disabilities to our mainstream sessions and Mixables disability activity club where wheelchair users and others can engage in activities with their able-bodied peers. Our highly trained and experienced staff support their integration and offer them 1-2-1 mentoring. We work closely with parents, carers and special needs schools to enable them to develop their communication skills, money management, personal safety tactics, independence and leadership, etc. Our aim is to be an ‘in between’ space between their home and school settings and the chaotic world outside. We encourage them to step out of their comfort zones and gain confidence.

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