This information is designed to help parents and young people make the transition from our holiday play scheme to our youth services. It sets out some of the key differences between the two services.


Mary’s Play Schemes provide children with an action-packed, stimulating, and enjoyable time during school holidays and provide parents with peace of mind.

Playscheme is a Holiday only childcare service. This service is booked by parents/guardians and has a daily cost for young people to attend.

Mary’s Youth Services help young people to be better connected and better equipped with the skills and confidence to form and engage with supportive networks of friends and family, health and social services, businesses and organisations.

The Youth Club runs all year, with term time and holiday programmes. Young people have flexibility in deciding which activities to attend, trips and offsite activities need prior booking and a contribution towards costs, but most on-site activities remain a 'drop in' and are free of charge to members.


Playscheme cost is £20/day 9 am to 5 pm. Extended sessions are available for an additional £3 for an earlier start from 8.30 am or for a later finish at 5.30 pm, £6 for both. There are fully funded places available for vulnerable children.

Youth Club’s onsite activities remain largely free, thanks to grants and donations which support our work. There are on occasion contribution payments asked for during holiday programmes, and donations are always welcomed by any families who are able to do so via the website. 

Offsite trip costs may include young people topping up their own oyster or zip card to travel, and typically trips cost £1-£4, residentials cost approx £25 for 2 nights (3 days). However, we do want finance to be a barrier to attendance so we would always encourage young people to talk to us if that is the case.


Playscheme is attended by 6 - 12-year-olds.

Youth Club is open to 10 - 19-year-olds. Some programmes come with a specific age limit, for example,  weightlifting in the gym is open to young people aged 13+, our current Good for Girls (Girls group) is designed for aged 10-14 years, whilst other activities will be open to everyone, this will always be made clear on promotional material.


Playscheme runs 9-5 pm during school holidays and young people remain in the programme all day.

Youth Club runs after school during term time, the full programme can be found at We start around the same time daily, but times are dictated by the activity, some young people join us for the whole evening and others dip in and out for specific activities.

During school holidays the activities won't necessarily start at the same time each day. Across a holiday period, there’ll be a mixture of start times and meeting locations - we often meet at the train station we are travelling from, so young people need to be able to travel independently. 

We’ll always do our best to let parents/guardians know when we are on the way back from trips (and encourage young people to do the same) especially if we arrive back in the evening so you can meet them but if they tell us they can travel home independently we will trust them and we don't have requirements that they must be collected.

How to attend/book

Playscheme opens a booking system online which can be booked in advance for all holiday periods  young people don't have to attend the whole week, but they do need to attend a whole day.

Young people can register as members of the youth club at 

Booking isn't necessary for term-time activities, although some activities may have a maximum capacity, for example, 10 young people in the gym.

During term time some young people attend every day and like to try all the activities on offer, others might attend for specific programmes e.g Basketball training, and other young people attend less frequently as and when they can. 

In the youth club young people get out what they put in. All our members have equal opportunity to programmes and activities and whilst we are happy for adhoc attendance, we aren't a holiday childcare programme. So, for trips and residentials (that take place in holiday periods) regular members will be prioritised.

For any offsite activities we send letters, these can be collected from the youth club and we encourage young people to do that and to return them. We can email letters to parents/guardians at your request, but our relationship is primarily with the young people and we want them to actively have a voice in what they sign up for rather than being signed up by well-meaning parents (there’ll be lots of encouragement from us to try new things!) 

Supporting the transition

We want to transition from the playscheme to the youth club to be an exciting opportunity for young people. It's an age-appropriate transition just like moving from primary to secondary school.

As there is some overlap in age groups (Playscheme 6-12 years, Youth Club 10-19 years) this gives us lots of opportunities to work together. We appreciate it’s going to take young people different amounts of time to make this move.

The great news is that we have already worked with young people who have successfully made this transition.

Case study: 

Maisey had been attending playscheme for several years. Maisey got to know youth Services staff and was interested in the programme. When Maisey was 10 she started attending a mixture of activities in holiday periods, attending playscheme and doing onsite youth club activities like the annual Easter Egg Hunt. As the holidays went on and once Maisey and her mum felt comfortable Maisey attended some off site youth club trips alongside attending playscheme on other days when mum needed a full days childcare. By the time Maisey was 12 she had built up relationships with other young people and started attending youth club during term time too.

To support young people in making this transition, we’ll be making sure there are opportunities for young people aged 10+ to try taster sessions and spend time with the youth club in each holiday programme.

Youth Club will be having a bbq and social to launch each holiday programme, this will take place within the hours of playscheme delivery, we’ll invite young people age 10+ years to join us.

Once young people have attended activities they’ll be signed up as youth club members and they’ll have access to the full range of programmes and support.

The Programme 

Mary’s Youth Club has offered an open access youth provision for decades and now finds itself among a minority of providers that offer this type of youth work to young people. At the same time, the nature of youth work practice has changed In recent years, as have the needs of young people. Combine this with the advances in youth work practice and the demands of the state, open-access youth provision is required to also provide an element of targeted interventions. Our approach allows Mary’s Youth Services to continue its work of offering a universal provision alongside the much-needed support required by young people. At Mary’s, this is a progressive programme of activities in which participants engage over a period of time.

Getting in touch with us

There are no secrets to what we do and parents/guardians can also follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok) @MaryYouthClub or be added to the Parent Guardian WhatsApp broadcast list. We won’t spam you, but we often send the timetables or new project info out this way. Of course, you can call or email us as well.