A Council grant of £6,000 from the Civic and Special Purposes Committee to St Radigund’s Community Centre will help support a professional Youth Coordinator to help some of Dover’s young people most in need.
Nobody has found the last 18 months easy but there is increasing evidence that young people have been hit hard by isolation and disruption to their studies. Contact with teachers, mentors and friends is especially important for older children and young adults learning to be contributing members of their local community.
As soon as possible after lockdown St Radigund’s Community Centre hosted a drop in to ask local youngsters what they wanted from their Centre. It was a big yes to somewhere warm and safe to chat, play table games and socialise and thumbs up to the chance to do new and exciting activities. But some conversations were about family crises and difficulties which had left young people feeling alone, struggling with their mental health and needing help to keep them safe in other ways.
The Centre already has a very successful volunteer led youth club for the 5-12 years but wants to do more for older children and young people by employing a professional Youth Coordinator with the necessary skills to help some of our most vulnerable young people. The St Radigund’s Ward is one of the most deprived 10 wards in the UK nationally with over 2,500 under 18s living in poverty and employment and income some of the lowest in the country. With funding secured the Coordinatoror will be based at St Radigund’s but will reach out to work across the whole Town with the aim of supporting regular youth sessions in most local communities.
A reduction in low level community crime, a tangible improvement in the outlook and wellbeing of young people attending sessions and opportunities for 12–16 year-olds to access a much needed safe social space are the top priorities.
The Board of Trustees of the Centre said-
“This grant from Dover Town Council has boosted our fund-raising efforts bringing us much closer to our goal of providing safe spaces and structured support for the young people of Dover, not just in St. Radigunds Ward but across the town. We are very grateful for the confidence Councillors have shown in our project and hope this funding means we can reach our target and set it in motion by the New Year”.