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Kelso Youth Project

Kelso Youth Project

An introduction

The Kelso Youth Project programme is one important and significant way in which Cheviot Youth will address the previous lack of voluntary youth work service provision in the town.

With the funding of this programme and the financial support of Scottish Borders Council allowing Cheviot Youth to take on the lease of the Ace Centre we have established in a relatively short time a foundation on which to build an exciting, challenging and sustainable youth service.

The Project is in partnership with services managed by the Councilís Community Learning and Development Department.

Through the Projectís programme we hope to reach out to all the young people of Kelso including supporting those who experience a greater range and intensity of emotional, behavioural and social problems than their peer group. We wish to help each young person overcome their own barriers to success; and to encourage positive changes to life and behaviour while affording them the opportunity to achieve their life goals.

The Programme

The Project through its programme of activities, events and workshops will begin to meet the outcomes articulated by a Youth Summit held a year ago. The summit highlighted the poor levels of youth participation in commissioned services in the town. A fundamental goal is to establish a representative youth committee to plan activities and ensure there is full youth participation in all aspects of the projectís work.

The Project will in collaboration with Kelso High School and its associated primary schools. It will address the emotional needs of young people through delivering work on improved social skills; matters of personal development; team building; and the need to boost confidence and secure a high level of self-esteem.

The Project will also tackle the concerns around rural isolation, lack of opportunity for peer engagement and the resulting decline in social skills of young people who live outside of town and find it difficult to access amenities, events and facilities by providing a minibus service.

The Project will run a number of evening drop-ins and after school clubs all year round built around an integrated programme of art, film, music, sport and well-being activities staffed by qualified youth workers, sessional workers and volunteers.

The programme is to be delivered by known local partners and already under way offers young people aged 9 Ė 18 years the following

Film making, animation and film club attendance offers an opportunity to view, make and create film for twenty four young people of all ages.

The music night targeting 13 to 18 year olds will present a chance for thirty four young people to DJ, perfect rap skills, and offer opportunities for live performance through taster days, introductory courses and weekend workshops.

The arts strand puts participation, fun and enjoyment first through eight, five week courses every year of puppet making, pottery, fashion design and assorted crafts aimed at sixty 9 to 16 year olds.

The Well-Being programme delivers an 8 week programme twice a year that supports life choices around healthy eating, diet, cooking for wellness and fitness for 20 young people aged 13 to 18. An individual programme for each young person will allow them to address their personal concerns about body image, food, lifestyle, social and life satisfaction.

A structured programme of sports delivered to forty young people aged 9 to 16 through taster days, introductory courses and tournaments by a team of volunteer enthusiasts and sessional workers. This will be supplemented by gym work programme for 16+ incorporating group work, dietetic input, individual programme consultation and certification.

The involvement of young people

For over a year youth work providers in the Cheviot locality have been in dialogue through formal settings such as school forum, other locality youth club meetings and one to ones with young people to discovering exactly what young people want. This development work with young people culminated with over 30 young people participating in a Youth Summit in Kelso using a variety of inter-active activities as a means to explore what they wanted, how they wished to go about getting what they wanted and the level of participation necessary to achieving a youth service in Kelso. It is the outcomes from this piece of work that have been instrumental in the development and design of the projectís programme and which will influence all aspects of the delivery of the projects programme.

The Project is committed to following up this need for involvement in and ownership of youth services by young people by supporting and facilitating the development of a Youth Council to run the projectís programme, advise youth workers and be a voice for young people in the local community. So that young people have the necessary skills and knowledge the project will put in place a comprehensive training package to ensure that they are able to manage, thrive and deliver a successful project programme.

The Programme delivery

The Project has employed a senior youth worker and a youth worker, both working part-time, to deliver the programme aided and assisted by sessional workers, workshop facilitators and volunteers all of whom will eventually be working on behalf of the Youth Council. Care will be taken to ensure the Project works closely and in partnership with statutory agencies, other voluntary groups and local businesses to bring about an achievable, successful and sustainable service for all young people.

It is intended for the programme to be continually evaluated. This will allow development to better fit the needs, wants and expectations of the young people. The commitment to youth engagement and participation will mean the programme will evolve and change over the years and so better reflect the social and cultural interests and concerns of young people. It will also offer paid staff, sessional workers and volunteers at all levels a rare opportunity to be involved in a project which seeks to deliver best practice based on local, national and international examples of youth participation

Kelso Scotland, Scottish Borders UK