Barefoot is working hard to engage young people in an area of the city that has been experiencing anti-social behaviour.
Thanks to a three year grant from the North Yard Community Trust and additional support from Clarion Housing our work building a youth provision in the St Budeaux/Kings Tamerton area of Plymouth is going really well.
We started work in the area in mid 2019, but the pandemic and lockdowns caused things to grind to a halt. However, since autumn 2020 we’ve been able to offer a continuous weekly presence and have now established two groups (one younger, one older), with outdoor activities and an indoor drop-in as well as trips and support services.
The outdoor activities include weekly sessions run by Plymouth Parkour CIC (see photos) in Kit Hill Park thanks to a successful application by Barefoot to Babcocks, a Proceeds of Crime award secured by PC Helen Blackler and support from Plymouth City Council Youth Service. Film maker Dominic Finnan (who took the photos) is also videoing the regular Tuesday sessions for Barefoot so the public and partners will be able to see for themselves how activity can change young people’s outlook.
The Parkour has drawn in large numbers of ‘younger’ young people, enabling us to get to know them and start building the relationships and trust that are central to youth work.
Thanks to St Budeaux Community Centre we are also able to provide indoor open access sessions on the same night where young people can chill, socialise and share any issues or worries with our youth work team.
Barefoot has also been instrumental in recently bringing Plymouth Argyle’s Premier League Kicks project into St Budeaux, providing another outdoor activity for the summer months, that, like Parkour, can continue well into the Autumn. In June our younger group enjoyed a great day out at Crealy Adventure Park and there’s a paint balling trip coming up soon. Taking young people away from their area really helps us to build relationships and is also beneficial for their mental health after all the lockdowns and Covid restrictions.
Our youth workers, Jon, Carly, Becky and Kalum and our volunteers just want to do their best for the young people in this area. Despite the problems at the moment, and we don’t want to minimise the impact of ASB on local residents and traders, young people aren’t a problem, they are young people, who are learning to navigate their way into adulthood.
Just like everybody else, sometimes they need and deserve a helping hand.