Liam Blackwell, a Media Studies and English student at Wales High Schoo, takes a look at a group which has provided opportunities for the young in a Rotherham community.
THE youth of today are often viewed through negative representations created by the media. However, the people of Thurcroft wanted to give the youth of the village a chance – and so a youth group was set up approximately three years ago.
Shaz Biggin, a youth worker, was approached by Thurcroft Big Local to run a group for the young people of Thurcroft to socialise, learn, and have fun.
This started on a three-month trial, and the group was such a success, it still runs today in the new Thurcroft Hub.
The club offers may different activities, with something for everyone. Activities include arts and crafts, sports activities, pool, table tennis, and other outdoor events.
The club gave an opportunity to volunteers who started youth training with Rotherham Borough Council. These four young people were given an introduction into youth work, and are now in employment or training, having moved on from the group.
This has enabled more youngsters to take on the role and the eight of them have coffee bar training and volunteer at the Thurcroft Gala, litter picks and skip days all provided by the Thurcroft Big Local.
They also attend Big Local meetings, ensuring that the youth of the village have a chance to voice the things they would like to see in the village.
Shaz Biggin, organiser of the group, said: “When I came to Thurcroft, it was not a place I had ever worked, therefore I was very nervous.
“However, I was welcomed with open arms and supported by the youth group. Personally, I couldn’t have asked for a better starting place.
“The Big Local have also really helped with this project.
“Our only aim is to offer advice, imformation, and a lot of laughs.”
Thurcroft Big Local chairman Tony Simmonds said: “Big Local has been the financial engine, reacting to the will of the people of Thurcroft who put a youth group on their list of things they wished to see in Thurcroft.
“It is important to recognise the early work of those who started with this idea, but it became apparent that a professional set up was to be put in place.
“The Big Local are proud of their influence of the ever evolving youth group. For us it is a success story of the Big Local journey.”
The youth group not only connects the youth of Thurcroft, but also creates a link between young and old with their allotment.
The Thurcroft Allotment Association granted the youth group with an allotment for them to try and get youngsters involved.
The youth group cleared the garden and worked together with help from local people and businesses.
Healthbeds, a local company based in Thurcroft, donated wood for the allotment, and members of the community donated things such as tools and a shed.
Maltby Hardware donated some tools, and allotment holders gave plants, once more enhancing this evident link between young and old throughout the village.
Alan Trickett, chairman of Thurcroft Allotment Association, said: “The Thurcroft Allotment Association happily welcomes enthusiastic young people to become the next generation of allotmenteers.
“The ambition is for these young people to carry on the hard work that our seniors have put in for generations. The hope is that this will continue for generations to come.”
The youth group runs every Friday from 5pm in the Thurcroft Hub.