Our Youth Club started in 2009 and was then known as the Asian Youth Leadership Project.
ASRA (UK), a local charity, approached us with an idea to set up a joint project to deliver youth activities for the disadvantaged young Asian community of our borough, although the activities would be accessible for all members of the community regardless of ethnicity.
As numbers grew, we turned to the London Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF) to assist us in the running of the sessions and that resulted in further partnership work as LBWF provided us with youth workers.
In 2011 we parted ways with ASRA (UK) and renamed the youth club as The Village Youth Club to reflect our openness to accept all members of the community and be seen as an inclusive service.
We had now become a very well attended youth club in the area and taking this into consideration, we recruited two qualified Youth Workers to support the running of the sessions alongside LBWF’s Youth Workers.
We, at this time, identified a need for a girls’ only youth provision and therefore introduced weekly sessions, calling it The Village Girls’ Group. This took place on Wednesday afternoons.
Following funding cuts in 2011, LBWF removed its Youth Workers from our provision but fortunately, we had by now built a very strong team of staff and volunteers to maintain the smooth running of the Youth Club. Hence the service continued to grow in numbers.
In 2014, we unfortunately, had to stop the running of The Village Girls’ Group due to funding cuts. This wasn’t a major concern because we had, by now, settled most of the girls into the mixed Monday and Friday sessions. Also good news came in 2016, further development of our youth provision led to “Stow Youth in Action”. This three year project was funded by BBC Children in Need.
We introduced another youth provision in September 2016. This new provision took place at the Priory Court Community Centre in Priory Court E17. We identified Priory Court as a neglected part of the borough in terms of youth provision and decided to expand our provision to support the local young people living in and around the housing estates.
On the 1st September 2016, a group of six young people from the youth club took part in a one day/night practice expedition as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, delivered in partnership with Leyton Sixth Form College. This was the first time that our young people have taken part in the Award and we are hopeful many more more will follow suit.
The Present and the Future
In 2019 we were awarded funding from DCMS and the National Lottery Community Fund to continue bringing a positive change in the lives of young people, making a difference within our community. We started delivering our Headstart Social Action Programme from September 2020, in the middle of a pandemic and also won an award for outstanding contribution to the community. This funding has been instrumental in enabling us to reach out to those who can sometimes go unnoticed and be invisible to mainstream support services. Our charity's strength lies in reaching those who need our support the most - we focus on empowering young people through prevention work that makes a real difference in their lives. In 2021 our Youth Advisory Board are exploring ways to tackle isolation in young people and involved in developing digital and virtual platforms to reach out to more local young people.