Ebenezers Chapel, Whalley Road, Billington, BB7 9NN is the new home for Whalley Youth, the only independent, service provider for youth open access sessions across the Valley.
Monday 5pm – 7pm Junior session age 5 to 10 years 7pm – 9pm Seniors 11+ years
Wednesday 5pm – 7pm Junior session age 5 to 10 years 7pm – 9pm Seniors 11+ years
Everyone remembers going to their youth club as a young person, and without this service young people have nowhere to go and be with their friends, every time they try and socialise (granted) normally that is not just a couple of people in one place, they are moved on from causing anti-social-behaviour, while all they are trying to do is have, social behaviour, this has caused friction across, towns, cities and villages for a long time and it has only ever been the larger cities, with larger numbers that have challenged this social behaviour, and has proven that having youth services works.
Whose responsibility should it be?
This is the best question to ask and there is no definitive answer apart from who’s problem does it become when not managed, or mismanaged, young people have a voice, section 1 of the United Nations Legislation, who gives the opportunity for young people to have that voice is not always clear, yes we can partition the responsibility to local authorities, schools and even the Police, but at grassroots level we are talking about young people wanting to be social, the media have portrayed criminal damage as anti-social-behaviour, this is not true, and criminal damage although can be a result of young people gathering together is no more young people than people gathering in general, large groups of people will always cause a disturbance of some kind just by the sheer number of people, but with other large groups of people the problems caused do fall back on the Police to resolve.
Should the Police take all this responsibility?
As a person who has worked with young people for a considerable amount of time, at all levels and backgrounds and a person who perhaps is not a Doctor of Particle Physics, I need simple answers, fortunately for me we have found a simple solution, as have many other youth organisations over time “Be There” and that is it, if the young people know that we are there for them, through hill and high water, then we can build lasting friendships where respect and conversation is key, this is not magic, just simple support, conversation and always a smile.
How successful have we been?
Over the last five years especially during the pandemic, we all needed to know what was happening, we all sat there every evening waiting for the tremendous trio to inform us of the “R” number and how close we all were to seeing our loved ones and friends again, this has left all of us, with a great feeling of loss and uncertainty of what could have or may happen again, imagine all of that when your brain is not yet fully formed to deal with certain situations along with having your hormones drive your animal instinct wild. All we did was reach out to as many young people as possible and just “Be There” because of this we found a new skill in providing support at every level for everyone for very little funds, and so creating a simple solution to actually what on one side is a very simple problem but not knowing who is responsible or who will take some responsibility, creates a huge Tsunami effect, especially of (not in my back yard).
By establishing greater partnerships with local and regional organisations we strengthen the community by working directly at cross purposes and bringing people together to support each other and build long lasting relationships, these tasks are available to us all and the only down side to this is that we have forgotten how to do it, building and keeping our ever growing communities has never been so more important than now and we have all had a glimpse of what we can achieve by coming together and supporting each other, whether that is standing on our doorsteps and clapping the largest employer in the country, our NHS or making sure that our neighbours are ok for milk. The challenge we face in the Valley over the next three years is literally bringing the community together at our little base of Ebenezers, supporting the older community in our award-winning coffee shop whilst supporting our young people in their youth hub in the cellar, as it was 50 years ago, we have not created anything new just married the two most vulnerable areas of our community together by “Being There”