About us

Age 13-25 and living in Dorset or Somerset?
We’re here for you. Every year we help…

Young people
Help and advice sessions
Hours of emotional support
Learning sessions

Supporting young people in Dorset and South Somerset. Our team of trained youthworkers offer a friendly listening ear, help and advice on health, housing, money and more and our volunteers help young people gain the qualifications they need to find jobs, join an apprenticeship scheme or go to college.

This page gives an overview of our work and key policies. For more details, please see our Places, Staff and trustees, Funders, Contact, Newsletters and Privacy pages.

Our background

We have been successfully working with disadvantaged young people in Sherborne for nearly 25 years and in Gillingham since 2017.  

We know that life is increasingly challenging for young people who need to be resilient, optimistic and have the skills and knowledge to make a smooth transition into adulthood. It is more difficult for those who lack family support or struggle at school. 

Our mission is to enable the young people in our communities to become happy, healthy and independent adults by helping them to help themselves by discovering and building on their strengths. 

We were set up as an advice and information centre in Sherborne in 1997 when we were originally one of more than ten similar organisations across Dorset. Now we are the only one in North Dorset – and the only centre across the county providing such a broad range of services to young people.   

I live at home but I was so anxious I rarely left the house. The Rendezvous staff talked to me and helped with practical things like benefits. They gave me challenges to boost my self-esteem, like helping an older person as a volunteer maths tutor, because I’ve studied A-level maths. I’m really proud of making a difference to someone else’s life. I feel more positive now and I’m thinking of going back to education. The Rendezvous have stayed in touch through the Covid crisis too.
– Liam, age 20

We continue to adapt to the needs of young people and have increased our knowledge and expertise in supporting mental health issues accordingly. We now work more closely than ever with our partners in schools and in health and social care.

We are known for building positive relationships with young people and despite having to migrate our face to face services to telephone support and move our learning online we have continued to support young people throughout the coronavirus pandemic. 

A snapshot survey in December 2020 of young people engaging in our services revealed:

  • 100% said the Rendezvous had made a significant difference to their lives
  • 92% felt less alone
  • 46% significantly improved their ability to cope
  • 53% had somewhat improved their ability to cope

We are a registered charity and are able to continue our work because of the generosity of local supporters and funding from trusts and foundations – less than 10% of our income comes from statutory sources. We welcome support of all kinds – financial and gifts of time. You can donate to us online or find out about other ways to support us here.

I needed help with housing. I’ve got three kids who went on the social services register when my partner got out of prison. The Rendezvous gave me housing advice and encouarged me to join the young parents’ group. That’s when I admitted I was in a violent relationship but was too scared to get out. The Rendezvous helped me get a rented place and gave me emotional support while I planned my move. They liaised with the police and social services. Now I’m safe and the kids are no longer at risk.
– Becky, age 21

Our local links

These are just a few of the organisations we work with on a regular basis:

  • Ansbury Guidance
  • Children’s Social Care
  • Children and Adolescents Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • Consortium, Dorset
  • Dorset Mental Health Forum
  • Dorset Youth Association
  • Dorset District Council
  • Friends of the Yeatman Hospital
  • Future Roots (Rylands Farm)
  • Gillingham School, Dorset
  • Gillingham Town Council
  • Gillingham Youth Club
  • Gryphon School, Dorset
  • Health Visitors, Sherborne and surrounding villages, Gillingham
  • North Dorset Local Alliance Group
  • Reach – Dorset’s young people’s and adult alcohol and substance misuse service
  • SPACE – Dorset wide group providing support to LGBT+
  • Tinneys – Sherborne Youth and Community Centre