Tags: bartley green
Posted: Fri, 14 Jun 2019 07:44 by Miss Evie Harrison
In the Summer of 2018, the Sport Birmingham MAD team were approached by West Midlands Police to deliver activities across the south of the city, due to limited provision in the area. There were four areas, one of these being Bartley Green, with the concept being to go out into the parks and conduct outreach work to engage the local young people in positive activity, for around six hours a week.
Having had the free summer sessions, a lot of parents came back and said they wanted a youth club for somewhere for their kids to go in the long term. Supporting Long Nukez youth club, MAD helped the club apply for Active Citizens funding to kit out the youth club with equipment and hall hire in order to host the young people. Once they got the go ahead they paid for the hall, paid for a container, some equipment they started the youth club 5-7pm with the younger ones, then they work with the older ones later on in the week. All volunteers ran the sessions and the mums involved in the club are really enthusiastic and talk to lots of different people in the local area about the project to kids and fellow parents. By getting the community to take ownership and buy into the project, there is a feeling they can reclaim their area. "I think the project gives the parents a little bit of hope in terms of challenges the area faces and there can be a lot of positive activity in the local area when it comes to their children." Alison O'connell MAD Reach Out Manager
"I've got a lot of pride for our community now, whereas I didn't prior to this. I feel like we're trying to help the kids and the parents. We want it to be a hub so we'll have housing and benefits people come talk to the parents, umbrella sexual health are coming to talk to the older kids, a homework club being setup there's a lot of exciting things in the pipeline" Volunteer
One week changes to the next depending on what the kids want to do, and delivery is very much youth led. Some kids won't do the sport but then there is the arts and crafts sides. The project is currently seeking a projector to be able to put on movie nights when the weather isn't so good to expand their offer even further.
"My favourite things are basketball and singing I'll sing anything! I'd love this so continue. If MAD hadn't come over to the park that one day, my mum wouldn't be here it really does change people's lives. I've noticed that there's a lot more children feeling safer round the area and a lot more children talking to one another. My mum has become a lot calmer, she's taking a noticing to more of the children in the area. I'd describe LN as life changing, amazing and sociable. I'd like to see a lot older kids coming to the youth club as there's a lot of problems with knife crime here and then we might be able to nudge a few kids to more positive activities." Participant
Provision also includes often a hot snack, toasties being a crowd favourite but often this is vital for the young people that come through the youth club's doors "MAD's work is vital with kids and getting them to do more positive activities. I feel the food is an important factor in retaining kids to the youth group, we have kids that come from a wide set of situations which might mean they don't eat at home and it's vital they can rely on some sort of food to fill their stomachs here as their other meal would only be a school lunch." Kitchen Volunteer
The MAD team are still there doing bits and pieces but what we've essentially done is up-skill the mums. These mums have now got their health and hygiene certificates, have done a youth work course, obtained DBS clearance, have done their Safeguarding and Child Protection qual, first aid and a couple of them also became Tennis Activators. Once the club is constituted and a bank account is set-up, MAD will completely come away from the area and the mums will take full ownership of the programme.
If you would like to know more about the project in Bartley Green, follow their facebook here If you're looking for advice/support on setting up a youth club in your area or feel MAD could have an impact in your area contact us