Youth club success

Peter Lowe
Peter Lowe

A NEW youth club launched to help keep kids off the street and out of trouble is proving a success, say project leaders.

The Children’s Society in Billingham started the new Friday Club aimed at helping youngsters to take part in positive activities.

Trained volunteer mentors work with local teenagers in partnership with the town’s Northfield School and Sports College.

Peter Lowe, programme manager, said: “The simple aim was to keep young people off the streets and give them a safe place to go.

“It is not like a usual youth club, it is more targeted to young people who need the service.

“They might be having issues with attending school or low confidence or are withdrawn.

“Friday was chosen because it is one of the nights when young people can sometimes get into trouble, so it was to steer them away from that and give them somewhere where their parents could have confidence and a place where the children have the opportunity to take place in positive activities.”

The mentors provide one to one and group support for the youngsters.

And they can also enjoy more relaxed fun activities such as pool, table tennis, computer games and arts and crafts.

Mr Lowe added: “The children also plan their own activities and decide what they to get involved in and do together including planning their own budget.

“The reaction has been very positive. The children have said themselves they feel safer and they are less likely to get into bother, which is good to hear.”

The club, at The Green, Billingham, which is open every other Friday night, has room for up to 10 youngsters aged 10 to 13.

But Mr Lowe said in time they hope to work with older and younger children by working in partnership with other schools in the area.