Youth Project

FUTURE OF NORTON YOUTH CLUB (NYC) SECURED

 The Norton Youth Club, which meets on Thursdays is to continue thanks to funding resulting from a successful grant application by the The Midsomer Norton Community Trust to the Town Council. The new grant covers the remainder of this financial year and the whole of 2020/21 and will provide for an expanded 48 weeks a year service.

The future of the much loved NYC was called into question when the Wansdyke Play Association who had run the club for a number of years announced that it was closing at the end of June.

The NYC will now be run under the overall banner of the Community Trust who will continue to provide accommodation at the Town Hall, Orchard Hall and Youth Hubs. The actual running of the NYC will be carried out by Off the Record who already have a close working relationship with the Trust as well as strong links with the local schools and already provide a number of youth related groups in the town including Listening Support, Counselling as well as the LGBT+ Rural Space.

Midsomer Norton LIFE caught up with Siobainn Chaplin of Off the Record to find out more about plans for the NYC, “In terms of need, young people locally need a space where they can meet and socialise and receive support and be signposted to other services. Our aim is to continue to develop our partnership with The Midsomer Norton Community Trust to grow a young people’s wellbeing hub. Integral to this is delivering a young person led youth club that will complement the rest of provision we already provide in Midsomer Norton. It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to expand the running to 48 weeks a year. Young people in the holidays, without access to school support, more than ever need somewhere to go to feel connected and be able to raise issues.

The Midsomer Norton Youth Club been going in its current format since 2008. It began with the young people in the town writing to Paul Myers at the Sarah Ann Trust saying it wasn’t fair that all the young people were outside in the cold when the Town Hall was locked and empty.

Paul Myers, worked with Project 28 to set up the first project on a Thursday evening. However, Project 28 were a drugs support organisation and when a new leader came in they felt they couldn’t continue. Paul then worked with Welton Baptist Church and they set up Café 3:16. However, after several years the huge commitment of running a twice weekly youth club saw the Town Council first step in to fund a partnership of the WPA and the Community Trust.

A fundamental issue since 2008 has been that Youth Clubs come and go but young people expect continuity. Once a service stops it takes a long time to re-establish trust with young people.