2 September 2023 Off By Val Tate

As a trustee of the Wolvercote Young People’s Club, it’s easy to become consumed by day-to-day concerns, finding enough money to keep the doors open and the building safe. The Club has served our community for around 80 years. Back then, boys had no idea if their fathers would return alive from war. The issues faced by young people today are different but no less challenging.

This Autumn, we are appealing to the community to help keep the Club operating. A lack of meaningful government support for youth services, fewer available grants and continually growing bureaucratic and regulatory demands have created the perfect storm. We could sink. I prefer to believe we will be rescued by popular support.

Looking back over the last few months at the Club, the word that springs to mind is pride. A recent change in staff has given me the chance to be more involved with the youth work team and young people. It’s opened my eyes. Yes, there will always be difficult situations. But a committed, caring team of youth workers is working hard to guide and encourage our young people to be the best they can be.

Although examples are too personal to share, the youngsters’ empathy can be heart-stopping.

On the broader stage, some of the older members have been out and about in the community, sharing information about the Club at Fun on the Green (see photo), handing out water to participants of the Blenheim Triathlon (for which they received their own winners’ medals!) and entertaining other children with the eternally popular sumo wrestling suits at the Club Open evening in June and the Cutteslowe Play Day in late July.

Money is extremely tight now, so this year’s Summer Programme had to be less ambitious than in previous years. Despite this, the Club was no less popular. We are hugely grateful to our youth work team, volunteers and those individuals and organisations who have donated food, without which several youngsters would not have eaten that day.