Guest Blog Berkshire Youth

Firstly, I am sad to share the news of the death of Terry Mason OBE, who passed away on Thursday 6 January. Please read a little more about Terry’s life and his long-lasting commitment to improving the lives of local young people here. Terry will be greatly missed and out thoughts are with Terry’s loved ones at this sad time.

Berkshire Youth began the new year with a feature on BBC South News following the Bishop of Reading’s comments about the direct link between the rise of knife crime in the region and the decade of cuts in funding to youth services. Her comments came after a memorial for Olly Stephens, one year after his murder. How awful that it takes a tragedy such as this to raise the important issues surrounding our young people! However, it was good to be able to share news of the work we do to at Berkshire Youth to support young people and the feature led to some great discussions, including Former Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, calling for more youth clubs and intervention before crisis hits. You can watch the feature again on our YouTube channel here.

Another good watch was the Countryfile feature on Sunday 16 January which discussed youth services, highlighting the issues of County Lines in rural areas and market towns and how young people with no criminal backgrounds / socially isolated are being targeted – well worth watching on the BBC iPlayer if you can. Is everyone finally taking on board how important these issues are?

David Seward, CEO

Champions of Youth Work Conference

Yesterday, we were delighted to welcome around 50 guests to our Champions of Youth Work Conference at Waterside Centre. It was brilliant to be able to get so many people together in person to discuss how we can best champion young people and keep them at the heart of all we do. Thank you so much to everyone who came and took part in the informative discussions. I would particularly like to thank our inspirational guest speakers: Leigh Middleton, CEO, The National Youth Agency; Louise James, Greenham Trust; and the brilliant young people, Ellis and Dennis, for sharing how our youth workers have had such a positive impact and lasting change on their lives. Who could fail to be impressed and moved by their words? Keep an eye on our social media over the coming weeks – using the hashtag: #YouthPledge2022 – to see what we’re doing as the hard work continues. If you weren’t able to come along yesterday, you can read more about our conference here.

Here’s to a great 2022!

Thank you so much to Jasmine and Ben who are fundraising for Berkshire Youth by completing a mountain challenge walk in Snowdonia this May. We think you’re amazing!

We spoke to Jasmine to find out more: “At the beginning of the year I decided to take on the challenge of climbing Mount Snowdon! Ben and I enjoy exploring nature, so taking on this adventure is right up our street! I decided along the way to raise money for Berkshire Youth after seeing young people on TV talk about the impact being in nature had on them. I wanted to be able to contribute to activities for youth in my local area too.”

We will be catching up with Jasmine and Ben over the coming weeks to see how their training is coming along. In the meantime, if you would like to support their stirling efforts please visit their JustGiving page here.

A BIG THANK YOU also to Shanly Foundation who have chosen to award £2,500 towards four courses of supervised paddle sports and indoor climbing sessions at Waterside Centre.

They said: “We recognise that the past couple of years have been particularly challenging for young people, and these activities will give more young people the chance to take part in these engaging activities where they can learn new skills, make new friends and have fun. It’s so important that young people, whatever their circumstances, receive these opportunities as part of their development.”

Thank you so much to all of our supporters who are key to ensuring that we can support, empower and inspire as many young people as possible!

We would like to thank Greenham Trust for supporting this event which was a great chance to get everyone together in person to discuss these very important issues.

Tom Holmes Visits Local Supporters

We already knew we had the best Charity Ambassador! Thank you to Amy from Pangbourne Youth FC for telling us all about Tom’s recent visit to her local youth football team:

“Following his recent success of his amazing goal against Hull City, Tom Holmes, Charity Ambassador for Berkshire Youth, paid a visit to Pangbourne Youth FC Under 9s training session back in December. Pangbourne Youth is raising money for Berkshire Youth this season as they are our chosen charity.

“This was a great opportunity for the club and the team at PYFC and every player (and coach!) enjoyed the whole experience.

“Tom Holmes shared his experiences of how he started off at grassroots football and the importance of it for children and how this began his journey into Reading FC.

“Tom was keen to get involved in some games with the young players so joined in some round Robin matches with the Under 9s. The players didn’t hold back and really put Tom under pressure. Great fun was had by all and Tom even chose the trainer of the week and awarded them with their certificate.

“Teams in Pangbourne Youth FC are undertaking several charity challenges this year for Berkshire Youth and Tom Holmes is keen to support these and come along to our events.

“Thank you to Tom Holmes for coming along to the training session and for Berkshire Youth to organising it all. To keep up to date on our charity challenges, ensure you are following Pangbourne Youth FC and Berkshire Youth on Facebook!”

We are really grateful to Pangbourne Youth FC for choosing to fundraise for Berkshire Youth this year, and to Tom for his ongoing support. We can’t wait for you to join us for the postponed Reading FC 150th anniversary match on Saturday 12 February, where Tom has arranged for us to take centre stage in the celebrations as our young people take penalties at half-time. We all hope for a strong Reading FC performance and win that afternoon!

Call for Volunteers!

“Volunteers are not paid – not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!”

Do you have an interest in youth work and community work? Would you like to help us in our work with Berkshire’s young people?

Volunteers make a real difference to our work and the young people we reach. Whatever time you can commit (big or small) or role which appeals to you we’re sure we can find something you will enjoy.

  • If you’re passionate about working with young people, then our youth activities worker role would be ideal
  • If you’re green fingered, we’d love some help maintaining our grounds!
  • If you love being with people and supporting the community, maybe our Meet and Greet post is right for you, or you could support us with our community projects
  • Or if admin is your thing, how about helping our admin team with weekly tasks?

Volunteering is a brilliant way to give back to your local community and is incredibly rewarding. We will also help you to develop new skills, increase your confidence and be part of our incredible team.

Volunteers are needed at Waterside Centre –

Community Larder Volunteers  – to help run a community-based food membership scheme

Meet Greet Host – to welcome all visitors and users of the Waterside Centre

Youth Activities Worker – to support the youth work team with delivering activities and young people’s community services.

Please email Kelly, our Youth and Community Manager, for further details.

Waterside Update

We would like to start by sharing news of staff changes at Waterside. Firstly, thank you so much to Linda Lay for all of her help as Waterside’s Administrator over the past few months. She has been an integral part of the team as the centre has opened its doors.

We are delighted to announce that Ailie Pottinger (pictured) has now joined our team as our new Waterside Administrator. Ailie has been working with Berkshire Youth since the August Summer Holiday Club Programme, supporting our youth workers on their detached work, and she’s absolutely brilliant!

Ailie told us: “I loved the work that Berkshire Youth do, and all that’s offered at Waterside, so much that I wanted to get even more involved! The Administrator position seemed an ideal opportunity for me to work with such a great organisation and further my career in a rewarding way.”

We have now officially opened the Waterside Community Larder, offering local people the chance to save money on their shopping, access quality produce and help reduce food waste. You may have seen this wonderful news in Newbury Today and on numerous features BBC Radio Berkshire have been kind enough to run.

Colline’s Kitchen Newbury is now open at Waterside and is already a roaring success! The café is open Tuesdays – Saturdays, 8.30am – 4.30pm. This week they are exploring some Asian-inspired flavours with their tasty Buddha bowls. They offer a delicious range of foods, catering for all dietary requirements. Visit them to learn more about their plans for Valentine’s Day – for special sweet treats that people can order for their loved ones. They also cater for functions such as birthday parties and weddings. There are charging points within the café for you to come down to do work and you can even bring your dog! We highly recommend a visit!

We are also thrilled to announce that we will be extending our popular BoxWise sessions to Mary Hare School. More updates to follow soon.

Please pop in and see us!

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