Neetside Community Centre has successfully applied for and been awarded a small grant of £8,300 from Awards for All National Lottery to look at the current opportunities, activities and provision in the Bude area for young people. The outcome will be a feasibility study produced in consultation with young people that will highlight the wonderful groups, activities and potential we already have whilst evidencing any areas that are lacking. It is envisaged that the study will help local groups, the community, local charities and the council come together to ensure a positive future for the young people of the town by really knowing and understanding what our young people require.
Hilary Workman, Chair of Trustees Neetside Community Centre, said: “As a charity, Neetside Community Centre originally housed the youth service for this area. So the Trustees have been fully aware of the lack of space in Bude for young people to call their own. We hope that the feasibility study will demonstrate the needs of our young people and produce a plan that can be used to look for further funding, find suitable accommodation, provide a business model and help to support the activities that our young adults are demanding.”
The idea for the project was first sparked by two members of BLEND youth group who, in front of 60+ people spoke passionately at the community event ‘Shaping My Community’ held in February 2019. Their concerns of the lack of opportunities, places to go for young people and desire to help improve the lives of young people within the local community inspired the Trustees at Neetside Community Centre to step forward and work with one of the leaders of BLEND, Jamie Wright, to apply for funding that would enable a plan for the future youth provision in Bude to be produced.
Jamie and his sister Kaylie started BLEND in 2016 and have worked with over 150 teenagers during that time. BLEND’s long term ambition is to have a centre for young people which, with limited adult support, is effectively managed and operated by the young adults who use it. A similar model exists in Somerset – MIND-eye and through this funding a research visit to MIND-eye is expected to look at the potential for Bude.
Jamie Wright, BLEND, said: “Our vision is to support the youth of Bude by showing them they can manage their own potential and grow their own ideas. Those that are less fortunate or have no interest in club sports or activities need to find something to engage in, something to be part of, boredom is the issue that is not being addressed and we think it should be tackled by the young people themselves. This grant is a fantastic step towards that vision. We’re really pleased to be working with Neetside Community Centre and we hope this is the start of something amazing for the young adults of this town.”
A steering group has been established to oversee the project andthe next stage is to employ a project manager/researcher who will co-ordinate the production of the research study. Their first task will be to meet with local community leaders and groups to discuss what opportunities and activities are currently out there. The project will also employ a creative practitioner to work with youth groups, young people, clubs, societies etc. as well as engaging with those outside of those activities, with an emphasis on consulting with our community in a fun and creative way.
“By working with a creative practitioner we hope that it will get people thinking big about what we as a town want and need.We’re really excited to get the project up and running and will be recruiting for both the project manager/researcher and creative practitioner before Christmas. Ideally, we’re looking for people who have experience of working with young people, especially in terms of encouraging creative thinking. The production of a feasibility study is key as it is the first step to planning future provision.” Miranda Clarke, Manager, Neetside Community Centre
Artist and Designer, Rose Bamford, has also stepped forward to be part of the projects steering group as she passionately believes our young adults, up to the age of 25, need support, opportunities and creative activities to help navigate and inspire their lives. Her passion and understanding in part come from her own experience of losing a 19 year old daughter earlier this yearand her desire to ensure lessons can be learnt from Pearls death.
Jamie goes on to say, “Mental health issues and suicide are on the rise and studies of this areas show there is a severe lack of funding to support young people, who in fact, are the very people who will safeguard the future of the town. We want to show that if they are given the opportunity they cannot only thrive but are also a vital part in a healthy community.”