‘Bring Back Friday Night Youth Club!’ was successfully brought back in February 2018, thanks to support from many individual donors who gave generously through the Big Give Christmas Challenge, with matched funding from The Childhood Trust, the Gledswood Trust and the Brocklebank Charitable Trust.
The project is a unique provision, helping to enrich young lives, as the only local Friday night youth facility available to youngsters aged 8-13. This targeted Club night ensures that there is a stepping-stone in place to ease the transitional period between Junior Club (ages 5-9) and Senior Club (9- adulthood) which can often be daunting for members. Friday nights offers an engaging programme providing invaluable experiences and opportunities to build motivation, confidence and resilience - crucial life skills - in a safe space, with dedicated youth workers and targeted activities. The programme changes termly to keep it engaging and stimulating. Activities focus around creativity and arts & crafts, such as making ‘Balloon Rockets’, Hama Beads, designing T-Shirts and making Mothers’ and Father’s Day gifts. Arts and crafts activities run concurrently with cookery in the kitchen, which involves making simple savoury and sweet meals and snacks from scratch, such as ‘Fruit Kebabs’ and ‘Pitta Pockets’.
There are occasional talks, such as one from the Kent Agricultural Society, which was listened to with intent! Much was learnt about farming - grains, sheep, chickens, cattle, bees, badgers, foxes, birds and so much more.
A special trip out funded by the Westminster Ward budgets was to Flip Out, a trampoline park - a tremendous evening of fun and friendship for our members.
Focusing on one particular story – a 10-year-old male Club Member, who has attended on a weekly basis - exemplifies the success of the project. This member had for a long time been struggling at school and presenting challenges for his mother who had been receiving support from professional agencies as well as friends. A friend of the young person’s mother knew of St Andrew’s and heard about the introduction of the Friday night club and suggested that her son attend. Ever since, the young boy has attended every Friday session. He initially struggled with confidence and didn’t interact with peers, wanting to spend the majority of his time on the computer on his own. As the weeks have passed he has begun to join in with the others in creative tasks, including arts and crafts e.g graffiti art and mask making. He is building strong relationships with peers at the Club and immerses and partakes in numerous activities from arts and crafts to cookery to chess. The young boy’s mother and his support network are really pleased with his social progression since he started attending Friday night sessions at St Andrew’s in February.
Thank you to everyone for your wonderful support of this project!