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Head of Youth Activities Blog – April 2021

Well to say I’ve been slacking on the blogs is an understatement, it’s been a whole year since my last one and what a year it has been!

I have been incredibly proud of the way everyone at Thatcham Youth has dealt with various lockdowns, re-opening, closing and re-opening (repeatedly!) of our youth activities. We adapted so well to overcome lots of challenges and after a couple of months of being fully closed down initially, we offered an array of new projects from our Virtual Youth Clubs & Detached Youth Work, to our arts & crafts packs delivered to young people. Whilst we were very restricted in what we could offer, we still managed to engage with just under 2,000 young people during 2020.

I am also extremely proud of all our young people who have had to deal with so many changes to routine, switching from school to home school various times and dealing with the new measures in place at school. I think it is unquestionable that young people’s mental health has been majorly impacted by the pandemic and lockdowns, which is why I have an exciting announcement to make a little later in the blog.

As we come out of the lockdown and restrictions ease, it has been great to see our young people back at our Youth Clubs, with both our Vision & The Zone Youth Club re-opening. We’ve sold out Vision Youth Club every week since we re-opened and The Zone attendance is steadily increasing, it is wonderful to see how the young people are adapting to the new ways our clubs are running. It was also good fun to have some Easter School Holiday activities running, although a shame we had to do them virtually, we can hopefully look forward to a summer of in person school holiday activities! We are also hopeful of getting our Roller Disco back open running monthly from October as well.

Talking of activities re-opening, we are planning a brand-new offer to young people to launch after the May half term. We know young people’s mental health will have been impacted during the pandemic and that is why we are launching “Thatcham Youth Together”. This activity will be a six-week, free, informal support group for young people, looking at building resiliency, exploring anxiety and much more to support our young people. The programme’s will initially be opened to our existing youth club members and if successful, we will roll them out regularly for other to attend, make sure to keep an eye on our website for more information about them when they launch!

Some of you may also be aware that I personally am stepping back from running Vision Youth Club in the coming months after 11 years. I will focus on running The Zone Youth Club, our other activities and the strategic, behind the scenes work. Whilst it will be a change for Vision Youth Club, I have full faith in the team of staff, volunteers & whoever the new club leader will be.

Check back in June for the next blog!

Dan’s Blog is written by our Head of Youth Activities Dan Carter, any questions about the blog should be sent to dan.carter@thatchamyouth.org.uk.