In 2017 Nicolas started attending the drop-in with Rory and four others. They’re a strong friendship group and were less interested in engaging with the wider youth club. The boys showed a keen interest in basketball and often accessed the sports hall but struggled to share the space and were not always considerate of others and often disruptive in group activities.

The group continued to attend the Youth Club regularly and occasionally bought other friends from school. Staff took this as a positive sign that the young people were talking about their experience of the club when they were not there. However, they needed lots of encouragement to try new things and to engage with the wider offer.  

During 2018, the group started to build stronger relationships with the staff at the club, in particular, Karim, who was one of the Co-Producers and attended their school. Although they didn’t go as far as calling him a role model, but it was obvious he was having an impact on the way they saw the youth club, not just as a place to hang out, but a place to put goals into action.

Nicolas told staff about a schedule he had created with his friends to factor in sport, attending youth club, revision and other commitments to better manage his time, and they had committed to attending the gym and sports hall at Mary’s twice every week.

When the opportunity arose to be part of a recruitment panel for a new youth worker Nicolas and Rory were two of the first to volunteer and really enjoyed their opinions being listened to and impacting on the club. This seemed to be a significant turning point where they could have a positive influence on achieving together and in the wider youth club.

This pattern has continued, completing First Aid over summer, with some healthy competition about who would pass their assessment first.

Since coming into year 11 they have continued to motivate each other, cooking for house meetings and achieving AQA awards. They have made the active decision that being part of the club can help them achieve their goals and regularly ask what else they can do to strengthen their sixth form applications. Nicholas has even mentioned he would like to be part of the staff team when he turns 16.

We welcome donations to help continue our work and there are lots of ways to get involved.