HEWEB Youth Partnership Looks Ahead

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HEWEB Youth Partnership Committee met at the Jubilee Hall in Botley.

The HEWEB Youth Partnership Committee met for only the third time this evening, reviewing progress, solving a few problems and thinking ahead to the future.

Inaugurated in January this year, as a local solution to the cuts to Youth Services made by Hampshire County Council, a lot of work has already been done, with the help & support of the County Council, to transfer existing facilities such as “The Box” to new owners and enable Youth Services provision to continue in Hedge End, West End and Botley.

The HEWEB Youth Partnership committee comprises Youth Workers, Councillors and Officials, the key players, who meet periodically to review and discuss the strategy for Youth Services provision. Its members then take things forward outside of the meeting, working together with the common aim of doing their best for the young people of Hedge End, West End and Botley.

Eastleigh News went along to this evenings meeting, at the Jubilee Hall in Botley, to see how the new committee was getting on.

Chaired this evening by Cllr Roger Emtage, of Botley Parish Council, and with the HEWEB Area Co-ordinator, John Ridell, contributing his considerable insight & experience to the proceedings, the meeting  was very effective. Very relaxed too, as the nature of the committee and its purpose meant that “party politics” and “electoral considerations”  just didn’t enter the room.

The meeting comprised a series of reports back from the various Youth Workers, before moving on to think about the future.

One of the big successes locally, and now celebrating its 18th anniversary, is the Teenage Advisory & Drop-In Centre (TADIC) in Hedge End. Everybody present at this meeting was very keen to see this service continue, not least because TADIC is recognised as having contributed to the area having the lowest rate of teenage pregnancies in the South of England. TADIC was said to be well-used and “flourishing”, funded for the moment but without a formal contract. Concern was expressed that TADIC is continuously battling with the many organisational changes within the NHS. 

Ben Rowe of the Eden Youth Club at Kings Community Church (KCC) in Hedge End, spoke of a thriving Youth Club giving young people plenty to do on a Friday night, currently with 30 helpers, 210 participants and ambition to expand further.

Exciting plans to install a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) on the KCC site were also discussed, with the HEWEB Youth Partnership unanimously agreeing to support the idea. There is however, a funding gap, which it was agreed should be raised with the HEWEB Local Area Committee.

The facility on the Wildern School campus which is known as “The Box”, is now being used for two purposes, by the school during the day and as a youth centre in the evenings. Clearly a great asset to the school, which reported “success stories already”, one slightly tricky issue with the new dual-purpose arrangement was the transition period in the middle of the afternoon, from being part of the school to being a distinctly separate youth club. Both parties were working together to minimise this problem.

Subsequently reporting on the youth club activities at The Box, Donna Brewer said that she was very grateful to Worn to be Wild and to Mr Noel Kavanagh Jr, owner of Budgens in Hedge End, whose help made it possible to obtain costumes for the Youth Club’s entry in Hedge End Carnival.  The young people got a lot out of the experience, over a period of several weeks, and were delighted that their float won first prize in their class.

Craig Daters from the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust reported another success story,  getting young people involved in practical conservation tasks. He is currently looking for more independent volunteers and can be contacted on craigd@hwt.org.uk

Amy, a Ground-work detached co-ordinator based at the Energy Youth Centre in Eastleigh, reported a lot of positive engagement with young people, many of whom are already active with youth services in the area. The suggestion of a developing a laminated card with details of the various youth services would be taken forward.

Problems with a funding gap for the Friday night football in Botley were tackled, with more work to be done outside the meeting by Councillors and Officials.

It was announced that the HEWEB Youth Partnership now have bank accounts and a small initial grant from Eastleigh Borough Council. It was agreed that the authorised signatories would have devolved responsibility and funds (up to a max of £200) could be released without needing to wait for the next HEWEB Youth Partnership Committee meeting, provided all three signatories had discussed the proposal and agreed… 

Looking to the future, consideration was given to the impact of the 3000 new homes to be built in the HEWEB area, as detailed in the new Local Plan for the Borough. A consultation on a new development at Hatch Farm in West End is imminent and workers will be out and about seeking young peoples views on how the open space provided for  in that development should be used. Can a long-standing request for a skateboard facility in West End be incorporated into this development…?  

It was then suggested that the HEWEB Youth Partnership should develop a “Strategic Plan for Young People”. The committee members agreed to put this on the Agenda for the next meeting, collecting their thoughts and researching the views of young people in the meantime.

But the HEWEB Youth Partnership Committee meetings are not just for the committee members. They are also open to the public. Young people are particularly encouraged to attend and have the opportunity to raise any items, concerns or questions with the Committee members. There is an opportunity to help shape that strategic plan…

The next meeting of the Hedge End Youth Partnership Committee is scheduled for 27th November, in the 2000 Centre in Hedge End.

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site.