About us

The Rendezvous works with young people (13-25) to help them resolve problems, develop goals and aspirations and help them plan and work towards a positive future.

Our drop-in centre has its own cafe offering a relaxed atmosphere for young people to hang out as well as getting advice, information and support on any issue that is troubling them. We work closely with all the services and so whether it’s health, housing, benefits, education, employment or relationships we can bring in the right people at the right time to provide specialist support.

“The Rendezvous have been there for me every step of the way, seeing me at my weakest and at my strongest, not once giving up on me when I could’ve given up on myself.”

Some young people may drop-in regularly for years, others may come only in times of crisis whilst others just come in to chat and hang out. How the young people use the centre is up to them. Young people trust us and are secure in the knowledge that they will neither be judged nor turned away. Because of this, statutory agencies across Dorset recognise that we are often able to achieve where they fail.

The Rendezvous has an excellent reputation for representing young people’s needs in the area.  We attend the Local Housing Forum and have good connections with Dorset Housing and the local housing organisations.  Our senior youthworker and Housing specialist, Jemma, is well known for her work in the housing field and is responsible for providing the support for young people living in Oborne House (a housing with support scheme in the Castleton area of Sherborne managed by Magna Housing Association.)

We are an accredited OCR training centre for young people who need Functional Skills qualifications but are too old for school.  Twice a week through ‘The Learning Zone’ (Mondays and Fridays, 2-4pm) we offer informal drop-in learning sessions and on a one to one basis our volunteer learning mentors and tutors work with young people to help them gain Level 1 and Level 2 Maths and English qualifications. Our learning programmes go under the umbrella heading of Open Doors which began life in 2014 as a Cabinet Office funded project (you can find out more that project here).  Young people can also gain experience through accredited volunteering and get help with CVs, preparing for interviews. We have been fortunate to attract project funding for elements of this work.

In addition to this we have been commissioned by the Gryphon School to deliver accredited ASDAN courses for students who benefit from a life skills approach to learning. You can find out more and see pictures of the ASDAN programme in action here.

The work we do doesn’t always see immediate results but the young people themselves recognise the role the Rendezvous plays in their lives.  One young man who relied heavily on the staff team at the Rendezvous when he was younger came back to see us recently. Now in his late twenties, he told us,

“I’m now a trainee Housing Officer in Bournemouth.  I did it because I know what Jemma and the Rendezvous did for me and I want to be able to help other people in the way they helped me. .”

Another young person has just celebrated his 21st birthday.  His mum told us that she hadn’t expected him to live to see it and believes that the Rendezvous was key to him being able to get back on track.

If you’d like to find out more about what we do then take a look at our annual report.

>>  Annual Report 2015-2016 (pdf)

>>  Annual Accounts 2015-2016 (pdf)

>> Annual Report 2014-15 (pdf)

>> Annual Report 2013-14 (pdf)

Staff team

Helen Da Silva Wood, Manager
Jemma Turner, Senior Youth Worker – Advice, Information and Support
Sarah Childs, Youth Worker – Personal development
Stuart Moore, Youth Worker and Studio Engineer
Julie Bartle, Learning and Employment
Richard Lund, Alternative Curriculum delivery
Joanna Lowndnes, Finance & Business Administrator


Andrew May, (Chair) – Magistrate
Prof Bob Eccleshall, (Vice Chair) – Professor of Political Philosophy (retired) + Chair of Friends
Linda Bygrave, (Vice Chair) – teacher (retired)
Penny Graham (Treasurer) – HR specialist
Carol Johnson – SEN specialist
Pempy Wallington – Youth worker (retired)
Julie Warren – Marketing specialist
Jim Gower – Assistant Head, Gryphon School
Roy Catchpole – retired clergy

Our partners

These are just a few of the people we work with on a regular basis:
Ansbury Guidance
Children and Adolescents Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
Consortium, Dorset
Dorset Youth Association
Dorset District Council
Dorset Mental Health Forum
Educate, Celebrate – making schools and workplaces LGBT+ friendly environments
Gryphon School, Dorset
Magna Housing Association
Shadows – Dorset’s young people’s alcohol and substance misuse service
Sherborne Area Partnership
Sherborne Housing Forum
SPACE – Dorset wide group providing support to LGBT+
Tinneys – Youth and Community centre, Sherborne