At the end of last month, we said farewell to Daniel Chery, who had been managing our SW!TCH Minds programme for the past two-and-a-half years. We’re sad to see Daniel go, as his passion for supporting young people and drive for improvement were truly invaluable to the team.
We wish Daniel all the best in his future endeavours.
I started working at LifeLine back in September 2019—I remember I was interviewed on a Thursday and started the next Monday as the new SW!TCH Minds Manager. I was Head of Youth Work at another organisation before, and I had a lot of experience working with local authorities and charities, and they said that was a big part of why they chose me.
I had spoken with a couple of people that had worked with LifeLine before and they said I’d really get on with Nathan. He even invited me out to dinner after the interview, which is something I’d never seen before.
My first impression of LifeLine was it was that it really felt like a family, but it was very quiet at the time. The Youth Team was quite small then—there were only three youth workers and only one was full-time. But we were looking to grow this side of their operations and we had just got some new funding in.
Of course, this meant I had a lot of work to do in quite a short space of time. I had to get our service into 18 schools in the area. There was a lot of pressure at the beginning—I had seven weeks to hit my targets and I was writing reports for the funder in my first month. It really was straight in at the deep end.
I have a background in DJing, through which I knew a bit about promotion and marketing. I took some of what I knew and applied it to youth work, especially ideas which would work best for young people, like social media. When I started, we had less than 100 followers on Instagram, now we have over 1000.
I don’t think things have ever settled down since then. It never stopped being busy, but that’s truly a great thing.
The most enjoyable part of my job has been working with schools and commissioners, and getting to influence those services. Convincing people that they need our services is something I like doing—I’m not a born salesman or anything, I’m just passionate about things I believe in. The positive activities our team deliver in the community is something I feel is unique to LifeLine and really makes a difference to young peoples’ futures. If I didn’t love the youth programmes myself, I don’t think I would be able convince people to use them. And I hope I’ve helped improve the visibility of LifeLine’s work and helped everyone learn what we’re capable of.
I’m really of proud of how far SW!TCH has come in my time at LifeLine—just seeing all of our outreach and positive activities, young people becoming Ambassadors and helping their peers, and especially the two young people that became paid junior members of the youth team!
I’m going to miss the whole LifeLine family—not only the youth team, but everyone else that’s has helped to support out work—and the communities I’ve worked with. There are a lot of good people here, and I’m really gonna miss the day-to-day relationships with them all.