My Week: Patrick Daniels will be marathon-ready - but isn't yet

The head of engagement and support at YouthNet recounts his week

Patrick Daniels
Patrick Daniels

Monday: My week kicks off with our weekly virtual meeting - over a cup of very real coffee - to review activity across our services over the weekend. We've had queries from young people worried about information they've received from their job centres. It's also a chance to debrief about how our new trainee online moderator is coming along. She is already making a massive contribution to the smooth running of our Sunday evening support service by chatting online with 25 to 30 young people.

Tuesday: I spend part of the day looking ahead to our weekend training session for our young group of leaders who are helping us to develop our support website TheSite.org. It's a chance for about 15 young people from all over the country to spend the weekend together. Much is discussed, including a vote for our group activity on Saturday evening. At the moment, it's odds on that we'll be going to a fireworks display.

Wednesday: Today we have a quarterly meeting with our eight advice partners. Many of them have seen a big increase in enquiries, especially through newer text services. In the evening, we celebrate 16 years of TheSite.org at the Royal Academy of Arts. It's been a work of art to which many have contributed, so it's a fitting place to mark the occasion. It's amazing to think that the service has run for 16 years.

Thursday: Lots to catch up on today, but I find it hard to concentrate as I'm slightly daunted by tonight's running team meeting after work. YouthNet colleagues have gone running crazy and their enthusiasm is rubbing off on me. I'm not sure I'll be ready to run a marathon in 2013 - maybe in 2014.

Friday: Today we begin finalising our good practice guide, to provide peer support for young people who self-harm. As we dot the i's and cross the t's in the guide, it's an opportunity to check in with our partners in the UK and those in Denmark, Italy and Slovenia. The collaboration is fruitful: it's a good end to the week.

YouthNet provides advice and support to people aged between 16 and 25.

Patrick Daniels is head of engagement and support at YouthNet

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