Youth centre handed festive boost in bid to tackle loneliness - The Evesham Observer

Youth centre handed festive boost in bid to tackle loneliness

Evesham Editorial 23rd Dec, 2018   0

A POPULAR Evesham youth centre has been handed an early Christmas present with £39,000 over the next three year to fund a project to help more young people tackle youth loneliness

Ourside Youth Association is set to extend its open access youth sessions after being awarded the cash through the Building Connections Fund Youth strand,  delivered by the Co-op Foundation

The charity, which runs from Ourside Youth Centre on Broadway Road will work with the young people of Evesham and the surrounding areas to create and then run the extended project.

Charity chiefs hope through exploring the issues of youth loneliness alongside implementing new innovations young people will:

* be able to define youth loneliness

* understand the impact that youth loneliness may have on themselves and peers

* have experienced and feel that they have a greater sense of ‘meaningful contact’ with people and society

* feel that they have the ability to form positive social relationships

* be able to realise/recognise their own potential

* feel a greater sense of resilience

* be more ‘Digital Savvy’ and have a greater awareness of how to navigate social relationships online

* have experience of and be confident in taking part in group activities

* be more aware of feelings of loneliness and the contributors

* have experienced informal and respectful relationships with adults and the community

Centre manger, Bev Wride, said: “We are truly excited and overwhelmed, the funding is going to allow us the opportunity that’s needed to fully explore, understand and create a shared meaning of what Loneliness is for the young people we work and the impact that its having.

“At Ourside we aim to support young people to be able to bring about a future they wish for, a strong element of this relies on young people learning and experiencing how to make meaningful connections with others and the wider community.

“I’m positive examining youth loneliness and co designing future innovations that our service provides alongside young people rather than for young people will produce a catalyst that can only make a vital positive impact.”

Funding has been awarded from the £2m Youth strand of the Building Connections Fund, a partnership between government and the Co-op Foundation.

It is part of the wider £11.5m Building Connections Fund that will support more than 120 organisations to increase social connections and create a sense of community and belonging.

The remaining £9.5million of the Building Connections Fund is being delivered by the Big Lottery Fund.

Minister for Loneliness, Mims Davies, said:  “There is no one cause of loneliness and therefore no one solution. That is why we are working alongside a broad range of businesses, voluntary organisations and local councils to ensure that those who feel alone are best supported.

“From new digital communities, to sports classes that bring people together, this fund will go a long way to achieving that goal.

“I am committed to encouraging open conversations around this sensitive topic to reduce the stigma and create an environment where everyone is better connected.”

Co-op Foundation is the Co-op’s charity. Its Belong network of partners connects and empowers young people to tackle loneliness. It also works to strengthen local youth services and combat the stigma of loneliness.

Jamie Ward-Smith, chair of the Co-op Foundation, said: “By partnering with government on the youth strand of the Building Connections Fund, Co-op Foundation is supporting groups of young people most affected by loneliness to strengthen their connections and sense of belonging, and build their confidence and skills.

“We look forward to working with all our partners over the coming years, helping them to tackle youth loneliness at a community level and boosting our joint understanding of loneliness.”

Ourside Youth Association is one of 22 organisations receiving grants from the £2m fund, which is targeted at organisations supporting young people in more deprived areas of England or with specific circumstances that increase the risk of loneliness.


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