For the Diversity Trust, Jacob Gregg-Harris is a full time Youth & Community Worker.
Jacob, a qualified youth and community worker, is inspired by a powerful quote that he came across on his degree course: ‘Be the person you needed when you were younger’. This guides his youth work practice.
While growing up, Jacob formed a strong bond with his youth worker, who helped him through some difficult times. In time, Jacob became a volunteer young leader at this youth group. When the leader left, Jacob and the other volunteer leaders stepped into the breach until the new worker was recruited, planning and delivering the club’s programme. This convinced Jacob that this was the career path that he wished to pursue, eventually leading to him enrolling on a youth & community work degree.
Part of Jacob’s degree course involved a placement to develop his youth and community skills in a real-life setting. This was where his engagement with LGBT+ youth work started. Growing up, Jacob wished that he had had access to a specialised provision for LGBT+ young people, as he feels that this would have had a positive benefit on him in his formative years. Determined that other young people should not have to miss out on this service in the way he did, he set about developing a specialist provision through his placement. Initially, Jacob did this as a placement student but, having managed to secure some funding, he was then able to do it on a paid basis.
Jacob also realised that there is only limited LGBT+ youth work training built into the youth and community work degree curriculum. This is another area that he would like to see addressed to ensure that LGBT+ young people will be offered services that meet their needs (including a safe space) by having aware and empathetic youth workers supporting them. He also advocates that young people should have more input into shaping youth worker training, by asking them what they would like from their youth workers, as the service is designed for them.
Jacob has worked on various youth work projects from the Newport Community Youth Project, a multi-funded initiative, with various different youth work strands, such as girls, marginalised groups, mainstream youth work and then the LGBT+ provision which he founded.
In 2021, he joined the Alphabets youth project, based in Yate, for a period. This involved working in their LGBT+ provision and delivering LGBT+ awareness workshops in schools. He also supports the Diversity Trust’s CEO, Berkeley Wilde, on Voice and Influence projects.