Giving the youth something to do
In a bid to offer the youth of Hunstanton more activities and a safe place to meet their friends, a youth funding programme called Youth West launched their Hunstanton Open Access Youth Club in the summer of 2018.
The club is open to young people aged between 10 to 18 and takes place each Monday between 6pm and 7.30pm at the Hunstanton Community Centre. There is no charge to participate and young people can enjoy a range of activities.
They can enjoy a mixture of unstructured activities such play pool, table football and a number of games. They also hold structured activities each week such as crafting, group games and quest workshops on things like mental health and wellbeing and yoga. They also do trips out of Hunstanton: in October half term they went on a residential trip to Hautbois Activity Centre just outside of Norwich where they participated in archery, wall climbing and assault courses.
Claire Boothby-Barnbrook, Operations Manager for Youth Work at The Benjamin Foundation, said:
“I think it’s really important. Just the fact we have so many young people coming each week who tell us that there are not many other things for them to do locally, particularly in the winter. Especially with darker evenings it’s nice for young people to have somewhere safe to go where it’s warm, there are refreshments and they can have a chat with their friends without having to take part in games.”
Youth West, a Youth Investment Fund programme funded jointly by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the National Lottery Fund, has funded a group of youth organisations in Norfolk to deliver youth clubs in rural areas of West Norfolk. The Benjamin Foundation run two youth clubs in Hunstanton and North Creake, YMCA Norfolk run two youth clubs in Heacham and King’s Lynn and the SWAN Youth Project run youth clubs in Downham Market and Watlington.
Now 18 months old, the local youth club is going from strength to strength. Claire said: “It has been very successful, but for the first few months it was quite difficult to get it off the ground and to get that message out there to young people. However, we now have a regular attendance of up to 20 young people each week.”
The idea of provisions for youths in rural areas is firmly planted in the roots of The Benjamin Foundation: recently celebrating their 25th anniversary as a charity, the foundation was founded in north Norfolk by husband and wife Richard and Vanessa Draper who tragically lost their son in a motorcycle accident. They raised money from his memorial and his friends suggested the money go towards funding things to do for young people in rural Norfolk. Over the years, they have grown into a large organisation who help many young people and families in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Young people are welcome to drop by any of the Monday night sessions to pick up a registration form for their parents to complete.