Youth Group success in West Marsh

A Youth Group is giving young people from Grimsby’s West Marsh a chance to socialise, be creative and get up and active and is helping to reduce crime on the estate, as well as providing a vital opportunity for children to mix with community leaders.

The West Marsh Community Centre sees up to 40 youngsters attend a weekly club, from four-year-olds to teens.

And it is not only fun but is also inspiring leaders of the future – one teenager Chloe Simmonds is starting the new year by taking over running the boxercise activities at the club learning leadership skills alongside IGNITE youth leader Victoria Russell who runs the club overall.

Working alongside Humberside Police’s Early Intervention Team, North East Lincolnshire Council’s Families First programme, and IGNITE – the funded organisation that supports youth volunteering in the area – Chloe, 16, has regularly attended the club and says she is delighted to now be taking on the new responsibility.

“This is a safe place for young people to come, I really enjoy it and so do the others,” she said.

The floodlit, purpose-built football pitch allows training to take place all year round while inside, the club organises craft sessions and box fit – the latter with the help and support of Wayne Bloy, who runs Fusion Boxing Club, on Ladysmith Road.

Stephen Sutton, of the police’s Early Intervention Team helped to establish the club and is delighted with the results.

“The success of this club has been its ability to build up partnership working and cement relationships with the young people and their families. The kids come here every week regardless, we know they are going to be at the door waiting for us,” he said.

“It is wonderful to see families together. We encourage parents to come down and we will watch as they all take part in activities and end the sessions laughing and chatting with each other. It is a social evening, while helping to build up resilience in the children,” he added.

Colleague David Taylor supervises the football sessions, alongside IGNITE representatives – Youth Leadership Worker Victoria Russell lives on the estate and is running the club overall.

David said: “When I was younger there were youth clubs, but this is not the case anymore and young people need something to do, they look forward to this.”

A football fan, David loves being involved – but did have one admission to make, which he said the young people of the West Marsh may not be too happy about!

“I am actually a Scunthorpe United fan,” he said.

The club runs at the West Marsh Community Centre every Thursday, from 4pm until 6pm. All children are welcome, although under sevens must be accompanied by an adult. Sessions are free. If you’d like to find out more details, support the club or to get kids involved then get in touch with Victoria at VANEL – victoria@vanel.org.uk or 01472 315437.