Well, 1st April 2021 is a very special date. It marks 20 years of youth club! I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed – when I see the children of the young people I supported so long ago, now being active members themselves. We have had and continue to have, staff members who were young people at youth club! (Amy Bailey, Anna Harrison!).
What wonderful memories of amazing young people, who achieved many awesome things and such fun along the way.
Of course - there were youth club doings well before 2001 - beginning as it did with Haydon Bridge High School teacher Nicola Dixon. With the help of Sara Newman, they dug out and developed the disused space under the village hall and turned it into a functional centre just for young people, just as it is now, with much investment and improvement over the years.
Sue Mills (now Robson) took over in 2001 as the lead youth worker, working out of the Fawside office above the butcher’s shop - and supported by Jeanette Henderson. (At the time, I enjoyed going as a volunteer – having cut my teeth at Catton Youth Club with Sue, and Michelle Spratt). Sarah Harper (Thorburn as was) joined as a student volunteer while studying for her degree in youth and community work. I went off to Newbrough Youth Club for a while and started studying for my Level 3 in youth work - and 8 long years later achieved my degree (it’s never too late!).
When Sue moved on to new challenges, the High School Youth and Community department took over the running of the youth club. As I was working in the community office at the school and lived in the village, I was asked to take over. The County Youth Service took over in 2011 – and so when I was away managing the other youth clubs in the area, Sarah took on the lead role at Allendale – until other opportunities with the youth service arose.
This potted history will be filled with many flaws; my inaccuracies and forgetfulness – of how things really were so long ago. I would now like to invite anyone who was involved in the development and delivery of the Allendale Youth Project to post their fondest memories on our facebook page. This is also a big shout out to all our youth club members, old and young, past and present, to share a happy memory of their time spent at the project.
What can I say about so many years working with young people? It has meant everything in the world to me and the privilege of my life. I may be getting on in years – but running around after those young-un’s keeps me young at heart!
Many thanks to all the trustees for overseeing the charity, and to our lovely staff team for their support – Jess, Amy and Anna.