Young people in Honley emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic feeling isolated. With little for young people to do and feedback from young people who said they would like a safe place to socialise, Kayzia Barnes set up a youth group accessible to everyone.
“Honley has always been an active community and there’s a lot going on, but young people weren’t really involved. Following Covid-19 we sent out a survey to the whole community asking what they wanted and lots of people said there wasn’t enough youth provision. Young people were seen as causing a disturbance because there was nothing for them to do.
We started just going out to where young people were and talking to them. After we’d done some initial engagement we sent out a survey to see how they’d been impacted by Covid-19 and out of 100 people, 80 per cent said they felt more isolated, and 71 per cent said it had impacted their mental health.
The community managed to raise £10,000 which was match funded and we used it to start the youth project. The we got funding from People’s Health Trust to start running the after school clubs where the young people decided which activities we do. We’ve done sports, graffiti workshops, skateboarding lessons, and life skills classes.
Our activities are free which means everyone can get involved. That was really important to us as we know some families couldn’t afford the football clubs and tennis lessons in the village, but we wanted there to be a place that all young people could come. We expected to attract about 40 people but so far, we’ve worked with 150 young people face to face and reached over 1000 on social media.
The impact has been huge and the whole community has got on board. We were recently asked to help with a graffiti mural where lots of projects worked together. The Co-op provided food and materials and it was great to show the whole village that young people can have a positive contribution to the area.
You can see that this is helping change young people’s lives. We’re currently doing another survey and so far out of 60 participants, 100 per cent have said they feel less isolated.
Our plan is to keep growing and become sustainable. We’ve done some day trips and we’ve got more planned over the summer which focus on team building, communication skills, and leadership. We’re also working on getting funding to build ourselves a permanent base.
We currently do most of our activities out of the park which is great because it means everyone can come down and get involved. We bring equipment, and a speaker, and a company called Skate It Yourself come with skateboards and helmets to teach people how to skate.
Hopefully we’ll soon have our own shipping container on the park as a space young people can call their own. We want to be able to support the whole community and have people run clubs out of it, as well as have it as an open space for young people to borrow equipment and come ask for support and advice.”
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