Berkshire Youth’s 80th birthday!
Although it’s clearly not business as usual, this has not stopped Berkshire Youth celebrating its 80th birthday!
The charity has been marking its 80th anniversary of supporting the young people of Berkshire as they make the transition from childhood to adulthood. Berkshire Youth believes that their work with young people is currently as vital as it has ever been. In increasingly challenging times, the charity acts as the champion for local young people, working with more than 12,000 young people each year through a range of projects and activities designed to further their development and education. Berkshire Youth continues to invest in local young people – who are often disadvantaged, vulnerable and at risk and unable to access help elsewhere – and to build for the future through detached youth work, youth clubs, training and education, sports, fitness, leadership, DofE and First Aid.
Berkshire Youth have also embarked on an exciting new venture of renovating a local riverside / town centre facility into a youth and community centre fit for the 21st century. The new facility will have fantastic facilities including a climbing wall, dance studio and access to a full programme of sports and activities designed to list their aspirations, boost their self-esteem and inspire them to realise their full potential. Further information can be found here: https://bit.ly/2GxgRcZ and on Berkshire Youth’s social media channels – #WatersideNewbury
As a more traditional celebration event was not an option, Berkshire Youth instead decided to run a campaign across its social media channels. Beginning on 13thOctober and ending on 31st December, they are posting 80 messages over 80 days to celebrate the 80 years since the charity began, using the hashtag #BY80.
The local charity has been looking at its history (including its previous names such as Berkshire Association of Boys Clubs and Berkshire Association of Clubs for Young People), its development, the role the charity currently plays and hopes for the future of the charity and for youth work in general. Proving particularly popular are the photos from the Berkshire Youth archives which have been shared to local community groups whose members have been keen to identify some familiar faces and to share memories. One contributor recalled meeting her husband at the Caversham Boys Club in 1951 and shared that she was the first lady youth leader at a local school in 1971, employed by Berkshire youth service.
Messages of support have been pouring in, from contributors including local MPs and mayors, key youth services figures, past and present employees and trustees, as well as young people themselves.
David Seward, CEO of Berkshire Youth, commented: “We have had to change the way in which we celebrate this milestone, but we have been delighted with the messages of support we have been receiving, clearly indicating the shared belief that youth work is an essential service rather than one which is simply ‘nice to have’. Even though this year has seen us face plenty of challenges, we have been able to adapt our services to best support local young people and are excited to be looking to the future with a new state-of-the-art facility being built locally for young people. We have also launched an online, telephone and text support hub for young people, families and youth workers; launched a new email newsletter to better connect with members and supporters; moved youth clubs online and found new ways for youth workers to maintain contact with young people. We hope that we shall be able to hold a more traditional celebration event to mark this milestone when it is safe to do so.”
David also somehow found the time to win the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce West Berkshire Individual Hero Award for the way in which he had led the adaptation of Berkshire Youth’s offer during the pandemic and for his commitment to local young people and his staff!
The Berkshire charity has also enjoyed some great coverage on local radio, including a memorable youth worker feature when a youth worker was surprised with an overseas call from a young person they had previously supported. It highlighted the truly positive effects youth workers can have on an individual’s path in life.
If you would like to send a birthday message to Berkshire Youth, they would love to hear from you. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. Please follow their #BY80 campaign across their social media channels: https://www.facebook.com/berkshireyouth,https://twitter.com/BerksYouth, https://www.linkedin.com/company/berkshire-youth, https://www.instagram.com/berkshireyouth or visit their website: https://www.berkshireyouth.co.uk