Agenda item

The Youth Association and YMCA (Cen.27.04.2022/3)


Dimitri Fedetov and Faye Dolan from The Youth Association were welcomed to the meeting to provide Members with an overview of the performance of the service which has supported young people in a number of wards in the area.  They outlined the history and approach of the service which included progressive on street youthwork.


A presentation was delivered which detailed the work they were delivering in each ward.  In Worsborough this involved concentrating on supporting young women with a street-based curriculum which empowers young girls by reducing barriers using dance, skateboarding and taster sessions in boxercise and rock climbing. Boys were also included when working on self-defence and also took part in caged steel mixed martial arts to help them feel safer.   In relation to Worsborough Park improvements, young people had been involved in decision making and the planning of the project work and had delivered a community day for Halloween


In the Central Ward the focus was on sport and those involved were looking at applying for external funding to support this; in the Stairfoot area they had identified anti-social behaviour, community relationships and LQBT as issues on which young people wanted to concentrate.  In Kingstone the focus was on delivering sporting activities and developing ambassadors for the service.


Additionally, the service had concentrated on exposing young people to positive role models with trips and visits from key people. Furthermore, there had been support for community groups such as Bank End Club, Worsborough Community Group and Care for Kendray, along with deep dive training for grassroots volunteers to help them run their own youth focused projects.


In the ensuing discussion reference was made to the following:


·         It was explained that a number of spaces were utilised throughout the area for indoor work including the Ward Green Centre, Libraries and Worsborough Common Community Centre;

·         The service stated they were working with other organisations to combat issues such as anti-social behaviour;

·         It was agreed that contact details provide could be shared;

·         Members passed on their congratulations on the work being done by the Youth Association. However, queries were received in relation to how to address any urgent work needed in a particular area.  The service responded that they would always aim to be involved but acknowledged that there were not enough resources to enable them to act as a task force and that acute issues were not part of their remit. More in detail information was also given on how support was provided, as well as agencies involved, in relation to CSE. 


Members questioned whether grant funding could enable the Youth Association delivery to be spread across the whole area of need. Councillor Williams clarified that the possibility of the Youth Association Service being available for the whole of the Central Area was being explored


Andrea Battye, Jeff Platts and Joanne King from YMCA were welcomed to the meeting to provide an overview on the Unity Project and work in the Dodworth Ward, both of which aimed to enable young people to thrive, belong and contribute. In the Central area they had been working on a detached youth work environmental project, after school clubs, special educational needs and disability and street projects to provide positive experiences. Examples of their work was provided, such as in the Kingstone area they had after school and holiday clubs at Joseph Locke and Horizon and an allotment at YMCA. At Stairfoot they had after school and holiday provision at Forest Academy and Barnsley Academy. In the Worsborough area they had after school and holiday provision at Ward Green Primary School and a Youth Club at Kendray and Worsborough Family Centre. In Dodworth at Keresforth Primary School they had a holiday and an after-school club, and they also ran two youth clubs from St John's the Baptist Church. Furthermore, in the town centre they ran the YMCA hub alongside Chilypep which supported young people with Social, Emotional and Mental Health. This had been beneficial for the young people involved. 


Joanne’s role was Unity Project Coordinator, and this project had been commissioned until March 2023. In providing term time, after school, evening and holiday clubs the same staff were involved to help provide consistency. During 21/22 the service had delivered 441 sessions and 5401 youth opportunities.


Members heard of the future plans for the service included continuing to provide young people centred youth work, and creative and engaging opportunities. YMCA youth ambassadors were being established and a youth board developed to ensure young people had a voice. Additionally, they were developing their work with Chilypep and had recently held a 'What Matters to Me' exhibition.


Jeff Platts the 13-19 Coordinator provided an overview of the detached street-based programme in Dodworth and Gilroyd which was funded until June 2022.  The service had used bushcraft, sports and arts and crafts, as vehicles to carry out discrete youth work. In 2021/22 46 sessions were delivered. Key areas for support were identified in Gilroyd due to Anti-Social Behaviour and Covid Restrictions - the service had worked on addressing these areas.


In Dodworth due to young men struggling with general academic skills, the service had been concentrating on indoor activity based transferrable skills. Their future plans included consulting with Dodworth Group regarding cross generational involvement.


In ensuing discussion, the following matters were raised:


  • Members acknowledged the struggles with engaging young people during covid and asked how they were recruiting young people now. The service clarified they had always been visible and developed a wide range of street based socially distanced games during Covid. Now with the better weather they were going to be out even more, e-mailing people, and carrying out other exercises to promote YMCA such as community events, whilst continuing to focus on established groups.

·         Members questioned why the project was only working with one primary school in the Central Ward and asked will the other two schools be involved? They also asked if, in relation to Horizon Community College whether young people from other schools attended? The service identified that they concentrated on the areas of most need but did maintain contact with other schools and carry out some short-term work.

·         Members praised the service for their good work but asked the service why the 13-19 work was only undertaken in Dodworth. The service explained that funding dictated where the work was carried out and the Chair acknowledged that the Youth Association was working in other areas.

  • Member asked about what support was available for young people 15-16 and whether they worked with those identified as NEET or likely to be.  As young people were approaching school leaving age the service had been working with colleagues across Barnsley to be support these young people.  It was noted that many did aspire to go to college. The service had also been carrying out some drug prevention work with a few of the older age range.

·         Members requested contact details to be circulated as this would assist with collaboration with local groups.


RESOLVED that YMCA and Youth Association be thanked for attending the meeting, for their presentation and for answering Members’ questions.

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