We have a dedicated team of youth workers that support the young people we work with. They work across the multiple projects that we run and are fully committed to engaging with young people from their starting points. You can find out more about our staff below!

Darren Simpson – Youth and Community Manager

Darren has worked at Walton Youth Project for 25 years and is the Youth and Community Manager. He overseas the running of the project and works collaboratively with other organisations so that the young people of North Liverpool are given the best support possible.

Why did you become a youth worker?
I originally got into youth work after working at a variety of different outdoor activity centers and I saw the good work that the youth workers back up in Newcastle were doing. I decided I wanted to have the same impact that they did and now here I am!

Why do you enjoy working at Walton Youth & Community Project?
No two days are the same, it certainly isn’t a boring job! I really enjoy working face to face with the young people and that’s something that often people perceive those in management positions are too busy to do. I love the management side of it but nothing beats face to face work, that’s the bread and butter of the job. My favorite aspect of working here has got to be taking the young people to Play Away in Yorkshire for the residential’s, it’s hard work but great fun!

What do you like to do outside of work?
I love getting outdoors in my VW Camper-van. You’ll quite often find me in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales or Snowdonia hiking, camping or sailing!

 

Becky Carroll – Youth and Community Worker

I have worked at Walton Youth and Community Project for 4 years. I am a JNC qualified Youth Worker and completed my MA in Youth and Community Work at Liverpool Hope University. I’m a mum to 3 beautiful girls and I strive to always make a difference and have a positive influence on those that I meet, whether it be in my professional or home life.

Why did you become a youth worker? 
To help young people find their voice in society and to aid them in reaching their goals in life no matter how big or small.

Why do you enjoy working at Walton Youth & Community Project?
I like that every day is different and that we get the chance to work with the young people in an array of different ways.

What do you like to do outside of work? 
I spend my time with my 3 daughters who keep me busy but when I get time I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes.

Katie Duffy – Youth and Community Worker

Alongside working at Walton Youth & Community Project I am a student at Edge Hill University. I study Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health and Well-being. I am passionate when it comes to mental health and well-being because I feel that it is a vital area that we all need to make a priority to look after ourselves in every aspect. I believe that everyone’s feelings are valid, self-care is essential, communicating with others can help, slowing down and taking small steps are progress because how quick you get to where you want to be doesn’t matter because forward is forward 😊.

Why did you become a youth worker? 
Since I was a kid, I always wanted to be a mentor to other people to help individuals through life, however I turned the opposite way and became a make-up artist and a florist. It wasn’t until 2013 that I jumped on the youth work bandwagon as I realised that I should have listened to the younger me because this is what I wanted to do. The reason behind this is that I love helping and guiding people in positive directions, offering support and enabling people to reach goals no matter how small or big they are.  

Why do you enjoy working at WYP?  
Working with the young people to make sure they get the best out of our project. Being able to support in taking all of the young people away on trips and to residential places where they can build up their confidence, social skills and seeing them being themselves whilst being away from today’s societal pressures. Also, being a staff member that can get involved in all of these fun and positive experiences and every day is different.  

What do you like to do outside of work?
Listening to music (couldn’t live without it) and you will more than likely find me at gigs, festivals and open mic nights/local music events most of the time. I also enjoy binge watching t.v series and going to the cinema to watch any marvel or historical/true story movies. Above all of this I love FOOD and frequently go out to eat to all different places and I am always up for trying new cuisines and dishes no matter how weird they are.

Favourite quote?  
“You have $86,400 in your account. If someone stole $10 from you, would you be upset and throw the other $86,390 away? We have 86,400 seconds in every day. Don’t let a negative ten seconds ruin the rest of the 86,390 seconds in your day.”  

Hannah McMullan – Youth and Community Work Student

I am currently completing my MA Youth and Community Work placement at Walton Youth & Community Project. Before my Masters studies, I completed my undergraduate degree in Childhood and Youth Studies and Psychology. I was intending to go into a psychology-based role after I completed my undergraduate degree; however, I chose to continue on my Masters after having a taster session on ‘What is Youth Work’, which I enjoyed and found really interesting. Alongside my studies and placement, I work as a Resident Tutor in university halls, which means that I help students who may be struggling with different parts of student life, and direct them to where they can get help and support.

Why did you become a youth worker? 
I didn’t really know about being a Youth Worker until I started university, but I’ve always enjoyed volunteering my time to help others by hosting fundraisers and helping out in my local community at home in Northern Ireland. I realised when I started volunteering more with young people here in Liverpool that I really enjoyed helping out and making a positive difference in their lives, which is what led me to studying towards becoming a Youth Worker. I couldn’t imagine myself in a role other than this, where I get to work with young people to support them and help them achieve their goals. 

Why do you enjoy working at WYP?
Since I’ve started my placement here, I’ve been welcomed in by both staff and young people. There’s such a good energy and atmosphere in the centre, and it’s the young people that really make every day different. I think Walton Youth & Community Project is a great place for young people to positively grow and develop into their best selves, and the staff are amazing at supporting them to do this. 

What do you like to do outside of work?  
Any free time I have is usually spent trying new baking recipes (and finding people to taste test them!) or else reading a new book with a lovely cup of tea. I also enjoy exploring around Liverpool and finding new restaurants or activities to try out! 

Joe O’Rourke – Youth and Community Worker

I started working at Walton Youth & Community Project last year after completing my university placement here. I recently completed my JNC Qualification and Masters in Youth and Community Work at Liverpool Hope University. This was a real challenge but one that I enjoyed and would recommend to anyone thinking of doing it. My undergraduate degree is in Special Educational Needs and Early Childhood, which again I found challenging but enjoyable. I genuinely believe that all young people have potential and as a youth worker it is my job to help them realise this, then to support them in fulfilling it!

Why did you become a youth worker?
I wanted a job that helps to make a difference to society and the lives of young people. The world we live in is seems to be increasingly fueled by greed and economic and social inequality, every day we see consequences of that. So many of the young people and families we work with do not get the same opportunities as others and as a youth worker I am in a position to help bring about positive change in their lives!

Why do you enjoying working at WYP?
Many of the young people who come to us on our Negotiated Education Programme have had really negative experiences in school and out of school and do not want to engage in any form of education. I enjoy challenging their experiences and eventually seeing them begin to enjoy education and open up to us about their lives.

What do you like to do outside of work?
As anyone who meets me will know, I love rugby and cricket. If I’m not in work, I’m either playing rugby or cricket, if I’m not playing, I’m training, if I’m not training or playing, I’m watching it on the TV. I’ve got a pretty big appetite too, so I’m quite often eating out. I’m a far too frequent customer at Nandos, or anywhere that does a burger.