The Gap Youth team
The Gap Youth team

Nine community organisations across Warwickshire have been awarded a total of more than £480,000 to help support young people by increasing youth work.

Warwickshire County Council’s Youth Work Fund is aimed at community and voluntary groups that provide services for 11-18-year-olds.

The organisations offered funding are:

  • Escape Arts, in Stratford-upon-Avon, which has been awarded £60,000;
  • Bradby Youth Club in Rugby has been award £60,000;
  • The Ex Mining Villages Partnership in North Warwickshire has been awarded £51,310;
  • Aspire in Arts, Nuneaton, has been awarded £56,260;
  • Together for Change, Nuneaton has been awarded £59,980;
  • The Positive Impact Foundation, North Warwickshire, has been awarded £60,000;
  • Empowr – U, in Bedworth, has been awarded £29,832;
  • The Gap Community Centre in Warwick has been awarded £59,233;
  • Warwickshire Pride has been awarded £42,000.

The funding will be used in a variety of ways to support projects and initiatives which tackle issues such as anti-social behaviour, alcohol misuse, alcohol related hospital admissions, bladed weapon use, drug related offences and child exploitation.

For example, Escape Arts are working in partnership with local organisations to develop two nights of youth work for both juniors and seniors in Stratford. The funding will be used to provide a bus to deliver outreach work and use music as a tool for engaging those young people who are harder to reach.

Meanwhile, the Bradby Youth Club will use the funding to employ a fulltime youth worker to develop two extra sessions of youth work in Rugby, allowing four sessions a week including open access at the youth club and work on the street. This would also provide access to more intensive support to young people who are at risk or involved in exploitation and county lines - a term used to describe criminal gangs who move illegal drugs from big cities to smaller towns.

John Robertson, Bradby Youth Club, said: “We are so grateful for Warwickshire County Council’s Youth Work Funding. This funding will make a huge difference in the lives of local young people as we increase and improve Bradby’s youth work offer. For a voluntary organisation, two years funding is a rare and welcome relief to the constant struggle to acquire continued funding. This now enables us to increase youth workers and increase youth work and work towards tackling key issues affecting young people’s futures and prospects.”

Karen Williams, of Escape Arts, said: “We really welcome this funding. Escape Arts are delighted to be working with Lifespace Trust, a local charity which supports young people, on this new project to deliver outstanding community-based activities by young people for young people across Stratford.”

And the Ex Mining Villages Partnership in North Warwickshire will use the funding to increase provision from one night per week to three nights per week and extend delivery to the villages of Hartshill, Polesworth and Dordon.

Sarah Deeming, rural youth work with the Ex Mining Villages Partnership, said: “The funding from Warwickshire County Council will make a huge difference to our project; giving us the opportunity to expand into local villages that we have not previously worked in and being able to offer youth provision in areas that do not currently have any open access provision. Our youth workers will be able to offer regular activities, a safe space and support to young people across North Warwickshire and be able to build relationships within the community to help the project be successful and sustainable.”

Under its Child Friendly Warwickshire programme, the council aims to work with organisations and business to help make Warwickshire the best it can be and offer a great place for children and young people to live, learn and grow.

Cllr Jeff Morgan, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for Children’s Services and Education, said: “Warwickshire is a child friendly county and we are proud to be able to support a diverse group of organisations through this exciting funding opportunity. I know that this money will go on to make a huge difference to the lives of many young people, not just for today but for their futures. By providing coordinated extra support we hope to increase youngsters positive experiences, reduce anti-social behaviour and improve emotional, physical and mental wellbeing to help them into adulthood.”

The Youth Work Fund is aimed at community and voluntary sector groups that provide youth work services for 11-18 year olds in Warwickshire, and more allocations of funding will be announced over the summer.

Published: 15th June 2021