Girton Town Charity

Case Study: Youth Project brings wider benefits to the Village

As Girton Youth Project Manager, Frances makes interesting and engaging activities available to the young people in the Village, bringing together groups and promoting a sense of community to encourage pride in the neighbourhood. With the hard work and enthusiasm from youth sessional workers and volunteers, Girton Youth Project has been successful in providing a fun and safe space for the youth of Girton.

Community connections

Girton Youth Project has provided community-based youth work for the young people of Girton since 2006 when Tim Shuker Yates was Youth Leader.

Frances says: “In addition to delivering leisure and learning opportunities, we keep in touch with schools and other services to offer support. Girton Youth Project delivers weekly outreach sessions in both Gretton school and Girton Glebe. Activities involve curriculum-based arts and crafts, games and an opportunity for young people to relax and chat with youth project staff.

“Our team of full-time staff, sessional workers and volunteers are trained in youth participation. Some of our previous Youth Project attendees have now become volunteers and volunteers regularly move on to paid posts.

“The Youth Group is held on Mondays and Thursdays at Cotton Hall where sessions are divided into age bands with around 15 people on average attending each group.

Seasonal activities

“During the Winter months, we focus on indoor games and activities such as Xbox, pool, ping pong, dodge ball, crafts, nail painting, jewellery-making and cooking, whereas in the Summer we head outdoors using the recreation ground and woods for ball games and adventure games”, she continues. “We also organise workshops and outings too with recent trips including ice skating, paintballing and Scaresville experiences.”

Girton Youth Project fully supports young people with specific interests and who want to explore learning opportunities to fulfil their potential. This could include training courses, such as food hygiene, or a completely new interest. Youth workers have encouraged and mentored young people who may not have continued with further education in Bronze and Gold Art Awards, including projects on film-making, photography and graffiti. By championing artistic talent and discouraging inappropriate graffiti and tagging, this has resulted in murals in Girton Glebe School playground, in the refurbished YMCA lounge, Eden Health Centre and on hoardings in Bateman Street, Cambridge.

Girton Youth Project offers annual residential trips where the young people have the opportunity to try new activities, spend time with their peers and have a break! Young people are encouraged to be involved with the planning and fundraising of the trip, utilising those much needed independence skills for later life.

Inspirational ideas

The main challenge for all young people today is that of empowerment. They have massive expectations put upon them: they must behave at school, do well in their exams, they must look perfect as the media portrays them and and they must also have money to achieve their dreams.

Previous Youth Project Manager, Rachel Rason, ensured that young people’s voices were listened to and their thoughts and ideas were at the centre of any activity planning and decision-making. By showing respect and enabling voices that can be heard, the young people of Girton feel valued and appreciated, enhancing their sense of empowerment in the community.

Positive impact

Despite the lack of resources for some projects, participants and parents are very positive about the impact of the Youth Project and this feedback is echoed by GTC Trustee Jenny Knights. She says: “The Youth Project has made a huge difference to the quality of leisure time for young people in Girton. Our Youth Leaders work tirelessly to create an environment where young people meet friends, share experiences and feel safe. It is a credit that they can engage with young people of all ages and that some choose to stay on, volunteer and even become paid workers. GTC is delighted to support this project and is proud of its success.”

For more information on the Girton Youth Project: www.ymcatrinitygroup.org.uk/family-support/gyp

Or contact Frances - frances.roach@ymcatrinity.org.uk