Youth Clubs make an incredible difference to the lives of young people and their communities. We are shining a spotlight on the brilliant work that Warrington Youth Club has been doing to help children and young people in their local area.
Warrington Youth Club has been supporting children and young people since 1952. Over the years, this support has not only increased but has also evolved. We don’t just provide open access sessions such as Youth Clubs and Holiday Clubs, but a variety of targeted services and provisions, which includes delivering the National Citizenship Service as well as a number of befriending and mentoring services.
Warrington Youth Club is a registered charity, so we are independent from the Local Authority Youth Service. We are also a part of the OnSide Network; this means we will shortly be moving into our own Youth Zone where we’ll be able to deliver services for children and young people 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
The aim of each Youth Zone is to provide local young people between the age of 7 to 19 (and up to 25 with additional needs), affordable access to high quality sports, arts and leisure facilities and activities all year round. As we transform into Warrington Youth Zone, the universal offer will be complemented by crucial targeted services that supports employability, wellbeing and health, supporting those young people who need it the most.
Warrington Youth Club has always put the changing needs of young people at the heart of what we do. Subject to funding we will continue to change, develop and implement new programmes in accordance with the needs of young people, and indeed those evolving needs of our community too.
The onset of COVID was testimony to the flexibility and adaptability of not just Warrington Youth Club, but of numerous other Youth Clubs up and down the country. COVID also brought home the impact that our work has, not just on children and young people, but on the wider family unit too.
Like the rest of the world, between March and September 2020 the majority of our services were moved to a digital platform. Based on the needs of our local community, Warrington Youth Club stepped in and showed our metal and flexibility by providing these new services:
- A childcare service to support children of frontline and NHS workers. Our usual remit is to work with children and young people aged 7 plus, but we received requests to support babies and toddlers too. Fortunately, some of our staff were already qualified in childcare, and the remaining staff quickly upskilled themselves to ensure this service was a huge success.
- From a wider community perspective we were also aware that some of our most vulnerable families were struggling financially, particularly as many of the parents of our young people had been furloughed. We secured funding to support with food parcels. From March 2020 through to the end of the year a member of our team was tasked with putting parcels together and delivering them. This proved to be a huge lifeline for many of our families. Referrals were also made to this service via a wide range of Statutory Services, which we also supported, to ensure that every family on our radar was looked after.
Whilst we are still dealing with the after effects of COVID, our services have predominantly resumed as they were pre COVID. Again, we have evolved our delivery based on present needs for children and young people, so we can continue to fill a significant gap which significantly complements the work of a wide range of Statutory Services, providing invaluable support for children, young people and families.
“We are foster carers of a 13-year-old child. Whilst we knew about Warrington Youth Club, we didn’t realise that they provided a Buddy Up system. This is someone who guides a child with additional needs for two hours a week, to support with activities within the Youth Club. Our Foster Daughter looks forward to meeting friends each week, and has also been on a trip with other young people supported on Buddy Up. Hannah has gained so much confidence that she feels she can continue to access the Youth Club once the one-to-one support comes to an end because she loves it so much. Thank you to such a great organisation for giving children a great start! ” Susan and Brian Hinton
This quote comes directly from one of the numerous families we support on our Buddy Up programme. Buddy Up supports children and young people with additional needs, who are at severe risk of social isolation. Each young person referred to the programme is matched with a volunteer “Buddy” who meets the young person weekly at our Youth Club, or within another social setting to support them with their social skills, independence and life skills. They also help that young person to develop and retain friendship groups. The one-to-one aspect is provided for 12 months, though we don’t have a time limit on all the initiatives, like our Buddy Up Film Club