Boost for youth centres with new Doncaster activities project

Girls attending the Kicks Session at Hungerhill School as part of the EXPECT scheme
Girls attending the Kicks Session at Hungerhill School as part of the EXPECT scheme

Doncaster's youth centres could open more frequently under plans to transform youth activities in the borough.

A number of community groups are to join forces under the banner of Doncaster EXPECT to try to offer more activities for youngsters. It follows cuts to youth services across the country in recent years.

Young people enjoying the dance class at Thorne and Moorends organised by Club Doncaster.

Young people enjoying the dance class at Thorne and Moorends organised by Club Doncaster.

Organisations signing up for the scheme include the Doncaster Children's Services Trust, Flying Futures, Club Doncaster Foundation, Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust, Doncaster Chamber, and Doncaster Community Arts.

Under the plans, EXPECT will work with community groups in the borough and voluntary organisations to try to met the needs of youngsters by making the best possible use of their resources, to bring them better opportunities.

Peter Norman, who is in charge of the project, said increasing the number of days on which youth centres were open would be on their wish list.

He said: "Our mission is to work together to make sustainable improvements to aspiration, achievement and life skills of young people across Doncaster by making a positive impact upon their lives.

"We are committed to ensuring high quality, youth-centred provision is available across the borough. We act as a capacity building and innovation body for people and organisations to create positive activities and personal development opportunities for for young people. We intend to develop our services to add value and support to voluntary groups and the existing council provision.

"Over the next three years, EXPECT Youth are investing in strengthening a community based youth offer that provides access to a diverse range of places to go and things to do.

"We want to sustain and increase the community capacity of the fantastic work currently being done by voluntary youth groups."

But he said rather than just being a youth club, the scheme would be about giving youths and children new experience.

A total of 584 young people took part in a survey of what they wanted, which includes such facilities as wi-fi.

They also asked for activities such as nail art as well as sports.

They said that they wanted somewhere to go, that had something to do every day of the week. These places should have food and activities and should not be schools based.

Activities on offer are expected to range from DJing to canoeing.

The EXPECT project plans to give youngsters the chance to use things like Club Doncaster's sports facilities, and Darts' arts facilities.

Peter Moffatt, chief executive of Doncaster Children's Services Trust said the scheme would not be a traditional youth club model, but it would be led by what the youngsters wanted.

Coun Nuala Fennelly, Doncaster Council's cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “It is great to see so many organisations that support and provide provisions for young people, to join together to create EXPECT Youth. We all have a duty to ensure young people have sufficient access to positive activities. In the past this has been provided by the council, but we are aware that there was a lot of good work already taking place in the community. The move to this new way of providing provision will enable us to provide a wider range of activities, delivered by passionate and experienced workers in their own communities.

“It is our ambition to be the most child friendly borough in the country and by working with our partners and the community we know that we can achieve this ambition.”