A Harrogate youth club is bucking the trend after seeing its membership almost double following a relaunch.
Dwindling attendances have put question marks over the future of many youth clubs across the UK – yet a switch to new premises and the launch of activities better tailored to its age group has seen uTime at Rossett Sports Centre thrive.
For the growing number of 11-to-14-year-olds in the district who juggle their own life with looking after a loved one, the club offers a much-needed break from the everyday pressures they face.
Moving to a sports centre has given the young carers the opportunity to keep fit through a range of activities including volleyball, table tennis, badminton and football.
There is also a “chill out” area for reading magazines, doing crafts, meditating, eating and chatting with fellow young carers.
Previously, this group of young carers shared the uTime youth club with older teenage carers in premises at Starbeck. But since a separate uTime was relaunched at Rossett Sports Centre, with activities specifically designed for 11-to-14-year-olds, it has gone from strength-to-strength.
Laura Frith, Young Carer and Family Worker at the Carers’ Resource, the Harrogate charity which runs uTime, said:
Young carers of different ages have different needs and we have reflected this by setting up different groups each with their own bespoke range of activities.
Under 11s meet together at our Budz club and have their own activities – as does the other uTime group we have in place specifically for over-14s.
Rebooting and relocating a regular youth club for those young carers in the middle of these age groups has given uTime a renewed lease of life. Rather than face a shortfall in numbers, we are seeing more and more young carers attend through word of mouth – a positive sign for the future.
This youth club offers our young carers the opportunity to keep fit which aids their mental wellbeing and physical health. It allows young carers to socialise with other young carers, then can run around and be active and feel like children again – be it just for two hours!
uTime is held at Rossett Sports Centre, Pannal Ash Road, Harrogate, HG2 9JP, from 5.00pm until 7.00pm every other Monday, term time only. For more information about all the youth clubs available, visit the website www.youngcarersresource.org