When I was first elected to the council last year, one of my goals was to set up and run a youth club in my local area.
There was an abundance of evidence that my local community wanted this youth club. Speaking to people on the doorstep over several years – and from verbal requests, surveys and social media – the number one local issue was anti-social behaviour and comments such as ‘the kids have nothing to do’.
We started in March 2020 and ran two sessions – tripling the numbers in the second week – before lockdown put a stop to any momentum.
For the two hours our young people are with us, we split the time between the usual games (pool, table tennis) and team-building sessions to improve their soft skills. As a careers adviser, I firmly believe soft skills are crucial to making young people employable for the future.
During the summer, we have been meeting outdoors to complete a variety of community and sports activities. This has included a befriending programme, and the delivery of accredited First Aid and Asdan Youth Achievement Awards qualifications. This means that, as well as promoting intergenerational activities, our young people gain qualifications in the process.
“Lockdown was, undoubtedly, a necessity, but it has clearly been a disaster for young people”
All these projects wouldn’t be possible without the fantastic grant support from Erewash Borough Council, Derbyshire County Council and Tesco. The support from local councils and businesses has been absolutely crucial to our success.
Lockdown was, undoubtedly, a necessity, but it has clearly been a disaster for young people – educationally, socially and psychologically.
COVID-19 resulted in young people being isolated at home from their friends and family. As the only youth club in our area, we play a crucial part in combating social isolation and anti-social behaviour, and promoting community engagement.
An easing of lockdown has helped us get the youth club up and running again, to bring our community together.