Celebrating ten years of helping out - The Evesham Observer

Celebrating ten years of helping out

Rob George 16th Oct, 2018   0

A MUCH-LOVED Evesham group has celebrated a decade of helping town youngsters and allowing them to tell their stories and boost their confidence.

Ourside Youth Association first came to life 14 years ago when a group of young people were fed up of having nothing to do and nowhere to go and they decided to do something about it.

After four years of consultation and campaigning the group raised enough money to completely refurbish a dilapidated building and open up as a youth centre for the young people of Evesham and the surrounding areas.

It’s a building they remain in to this day and Kirsty Hartwell, one of the founders said: “It felt so huge to me that after all our hard work and campaigning we were being listened to and our future was beginning.”

For the first four years it was operated with the support of Worcestershire County Council, however in 2011 it was announced that £1.4million was to be cut from the Youth Service.

The founding members were still passionate and active members of the centre and the thought that the centre might close was so upsetting.

“It’s how the youth workers really work with the young people, services are guided by the young people on issues they feel are important to them,” Kirsty added.

As a result, in 2012 a group of directors and trustees formed from a mixture of founding members and local residents to launch Ourside Youth Association as a charitable organisation.

Today Ourside provides a safe and welcoming space for anyone aged 11 to 19, offering open access sessions alongside targeted youth work.

As the only dedicated youth centre in the area youth workers see approximately 100 young people come through their doors every week for five sessions providing everything from pool tables, games and social space to support on a range of issues.

Centre manager Bev Wride said: ”Each young person has a different story and we’re passionate about delivering the support and opportunities they deserve and that will enable them to develop and flourish.”

Libby Naylor one of the founding members said: “I am so proud it’s a success and its unbelievablea group of teens with a dream made it. I hope people recognise what a great service it is. If we invest in the youth today it will pay off in the long run. They are our future.”

Visit www.ourside.org.uk for more.


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