Berkshire Youth

As we enter Youth Work Week, it would be fantastic for all of our friends and supporters to think about how you can become a champion for young people, with young people facing more and more challenges they need more advocates in our communities.

We have seen over many years the decline in youth clubs and informal local based community activities. This is for many reasons, funding being one, but also the lack of community volunteers who are willing and prepared to give up some time to provide opportunities for local young people. Over its 80 years, Berkshire Youth has always had the challenge of recruiting new volunteers and relied on some core community champions, but we need to look at how we can help recruit more volunteers and provide the support and training to make the opportunities really great for volunteers and young people. What can we all do to help going forward and what can we do to help you?

We’d love to hear from you if you are able to spare some time to support local young people!

t was #GetOnlineWeek, 18 to 24 October, focusing on getting online safely. We know that young people are online more than ever, and that it has huge benefits, but it also offers many challenges and it’s important to take steps to protect yourself online.

Sadly, we know that footballers have recently been on the receiving end of online abuse and trolling and that this subject is never far from the news headlines. We caught up with Tom Holmes, our Charity Ambassador and Reading FC defender, to find out his views on social media and how he protects himself online:

“Fortunately I have not experienced any online abuse, any that I’m aware of that is, as I’m not on Twitter which seems to be the main platform for it. Unfortunately in football, like in many other walks of life, players are subject to a lot of online abuse. I understand that football is entertainment at the end of the day and that it is a game of passionate opinions. A lot of the time though, especially over the last couple of seasons, social media especially Twitter has become quite toxic. Comments aren’t just comments, they have become personal attacks that, because made online, are permanent. This alone for me is enough to just avoid it all together. I’ve always seen Twitter from a young age as something extra and something that could only harm me and my game. I know that I know my game best and the only opinion that I should value and consider when looking at my game is my own. By not exposing myself to it I have found that it is something that I have not had to worry about too much. For anyone that has had bad experiences with it then coming off it is something that I would recommend as it is a simple fix that I have found to help.”

What would your advice be for anyone who experiences online abuse?

“For anyone that has experienced online abuse it is important to first block the account and then report it, but then secondly it is also equally important to talk about it however hurtful or embarrassing it may be. Let one of your family members, close friends or someone at Berkshire Youth know. By not talking about it and looking to stop it, it can be something that may happen again and again which is the last thing anyone would want to happen.”

Berkshire Youth are keen to support young people to stay safe online. We run a Be Internet Citizens course which explores media literacy, critical thinking and digital citizenship. If you experience any issues online, please find support by speaking to a trusted adult or contacting agencies such as NSPCC or CEOP for support.

(Pictured: Berkshire Youth’s Jessica Kirby, Kelly Leach and David Seward with Lord-Lieutenant for the Royal County of Berkshire, Mr James Puxley and Mrs Deborah Puxley)

Berkshire Youth were delighted to welcome distinguished guests, funders and supporters to the Waterside Centre, Newbury on the evening of 20 October for an Open Evening. 

Guests were dazzled by the opening reception by VoxFresh, singing a collection of songs for our guests. As well as tours of the building, guests were invited to talk to young people and staff about the amazing opportunities Waterside has created for young people in West Berkshire.

David Seward spoke of the value youth work has for young people in the current climate and how this building was our pledge to young people, that they are valued and we want to support them to be the best they can be.

Roger Smee MBE spoke to guests of the journey we have been on to get to this stage and the challenges that face us to maintain facilities, staffing and programmes as we move forward.

If you are interested in supporting or donating please visit our Waterside Centre page.

We are delighted that Thames Valley ABC will be running boxing taster sessions at the Waterside Centre on Saturday 6 November & Saturday 11 December, at just £3 per session.

Please contact us to book your places: email us or phone us on 01635 018500.

We are excited to be adding more activities to our Waterside offer all the time. Please visit our webpage for all the latest information and follow us on our social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.