We have a 12 year old young person who has learning difficulties and behavioural issues and finds many situations stressful. His process of dealing with stress involves hitting and biting himself. He finds it difficult to engage with his peers as he has been bullied a lot in the past due to his weight and learning difficulties. When he first attended the Club, he did not engage well in activities and became stressed very easily leading to him shouting, attempting to hit his peers, and crying. Through putting a personal development plan in place, he has been able to build positive relationships with staff and his peers. He now has a scrap book that he spends time on each session, in which he expresses his feelings and completes maths challenges as he enjoys them. He also planned a timetable which details when he works out in the gym, designed his own reward chart for hitting his personal goals in a bid to get healthier and lose weight, and practices his reading in the enterprise sessions. This has all had a positive impact on his life and his time at the Club and is now impacting positively on his school and home life.
One mother was asked by staff to write down what she thought the Youth Zone and the inclusive sessions offered for her young son. Her reply was:
Our newest Youth Zone, Wolverhampton, regularly host 50 young people and their families at their Sunday inclusion sessions and one parent recently fed back the following glowing report:
“Hello to all the lovely staff at The Way Youth Zone. My daughter has been going to The Way since the day it opened and I must say as a parent with a special needs child who has autism and learning difficulties, The Way is such a warm and welcoming place where my child can learn and make new friends and be apart of a youth group and be part of a team and enjoy great and wonderful things to do. The staff are amazing with my daughter and understand her and make her feel so welcome. I’m a single parent and since The Way has been built, I found it hard for my daughter to go to a place where she can be herself without getting stressed. It has been amazing to see my daughter out grow her fears and get involved more with other children of all ages and disabilities. I am as she is so pleased that Wolverhampton has a place where all children can be themselves and do activities that they enjoy and I know that every Sunday my daughter will go to a warm and welcoming place. So from one happy parent – a big thank you!”
The first Sports Inc (rebranded CADS) event took place in late March. This event was spaced over two days during Easter and was attended by over 30 children. This was the first joint project between Wigan Youth Zone and Hop Skip and Jump (HSJ) and a great deal of work and planning went into ensuring that children who attended were able to participate, have fun, make new friendships and develops relationships.
25 young people attended this event across two days and enjoyed an eclectic mix of activities including:
- Tai Chi
- Street Dance
Providing these days of enjoyable activities during half term was positively received by families who told of issues they sometimes experience which include finding accessible and inclusive activities, finding activities for siblings and also finding activities that were affordable. By running these events at £10 per day, it provided an affordable and attractive option for families to break up the Easter holidays!
The event was largely staffed by the growing volunteer group who work on the inclusion session. Volunteers come from many backgrounds and volunteer for many reasons. Members of staff from both HSJ and the Youth Zone were also keen to be involved and work towards making Wigan Youth ZOne more inclusive, accessible and enjoyable for more young people – at every level of ability.