It has been a pleasure to have intern Chad usher with us for the past couple of months. Chad left Shrewsbury school in the summer and goes on to Sandhurst next September. His placement has been funded by the Old Salopian club and it has been great to see him grow in confidence during his short stay here.
Both the staff and young people have loved having him here and he has proved to be a very strong addition to the staff team. Chad will be greatly missed when he finishes at the end of the month and the door will always be open for him at the Shewsy. Jac, also from the school will start his internship with us in January and has some pretty big boots to fill.
Also thankyou to Zainab from Shewsy school who spent a couple of weeks volunteering during the half term. She left this message…..“Just wanted to say thank you so much for having me in half-term. It was an absolute delight and I learned so much from everyone. I felt welcomed and taken care of as usual so thank you again for that. I also got to know the club members a lot better which made leaving the Shewsy even harder, but I hope I can visit again sooner rather than later”
Club has embarked on an ambitious refurbishment programme at last. Our building is now over 40 years old and we work it very hard. Signs of advancing age and creaking joints are pretty clear. As you would expect, we have started with repairs to the roof – some of them urgent and requiring the occasional bucket to catch the drips! And we have completed phase 1, the areas of roof covering the gym and the main club.
Our small building sub group is currently planning and writing up a Masterplan, after which we will get underway with a serious Appeal for Funds to refurbish a lot of the Club facilities. This will include a new Gym floor, some reordering of the spaces in the club and a major refurbishment of our jaded accommodation in the Hostel.
In all of this we have had excellent ‘Angels’ who have come to our aid. This has included the magnificent help from ex-club member Damien Cummings and his company Altrad NSG, who have provided the scaffolding for our initial roof work, entirely free of charge.
We also have help from Jon France, retired from a senior career in the retail sector, who has been busy exploring all his contacts in that world to see what can be gleaned free of charge for the Shewsy. Jon has already bagged some highly prized gifts and is working his way towards more.
We are extremely grateful for these brilliant offers of help. It has set us wondering how many more ex members and contacts MAY be able to support the current club’s work, recalling their time in the club and looking back with gratitude. Please DO get in touch if you can and could become a Shewsy ‘Angel’.
By the way our next Friends of Shrewsbury House dinner event is on the evening of Friday 24th April 2020 at Hope University, Shaw street campus when our guest speaker will be Judy Moody Stuart. Do get in touch if you would like to attend.
John Dumbell, Team Leader writes:
‘The recent Summer Fair was a fantastic day, and once again we were blessed with the weather. We had a great line up of musicians topped by ex Shewsy member and extremely talented John O’Connell.
‘It felt like the whole community and beyond were there on a lovely sunny day. I spoke to people from Huyton, Garston and Dingle alone on the day. Once again some junior club parents got involved by supplying a cultural food stall with tasters free of charge.
‘I would like to thank everyone who helped out on the day for their continued support and also two ex members in particular who like to shy away from the praise they deserve. Big thanks to both Damien Cummings and Altrad for arranging for the stage to be erected and Stuart Dennett for once again kindly donating the food for the BBQ.’
‘Everton has one of the highest levels of deprivation in the UK and in many instances there are generations of families who have never been legitimately employed’ writes Team leader John Dumbell.
‘The Early Intervention Youth Fund (EIYF) programme is largely based around confidence and decision making using moral dilemmas as tools to provoke thought and mimic real life situations and the pressures and emotions felt by the decisions made. The feedback from the initial cohort of young people was really positive and all of the group have remained engaged in activities provided at the club since their completion of the programme.
‘There has been an increase in confidence from the group as a whole and some real individual progress too. This has been measured throughout the course as has the young peoples attendances at School. One of the main risk factors for this group is their attendance, and with this in mind we held the programme on a Friday with the understanding that in order to attend Fridays they had to attend for the remainder of the week. This seemed to have a positive impact on their attendance as 11 out the 12 attended every session.
‘As a result of the funding received by the EIYF, this has enabled us to take on 2 additional full time members of staff to work on the programme. Once again, we are working in close partnership with the local police and this time we have identified a group of 12 young Shewsy members who attend Everton free school and have all had previous dealings with the police, many of whom have already signed ABC’s (acceptable behaviour contracts). The additional funding has also allowed us to open up on a Friday evening. This has seen an additional 185 individuals engaged regularly on a Friday evening many of whom have now become regular users of the centre during regular youth club sessions.
‘The feedback we have had for the Friday evenings has all been positive both from local businesses to the local police informing us that there has been a significant drop in anti-social behaviour calls around the area.
‘The additional activities offered has seen our membership rise to the highest we have had in my 15 years here averaging between 50-70 young people per session aged between 11-19.’
The club has teamed up with Everton and Liverpool football clubs and the Princes Trust to apply to Government for a share of their Serious Violent Crime strategy’s Early Intervention Youth Fund. In March 2019, we heard that the Home Office had agreed to fund our joint bid.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “Reaching young people before they are targeted by more sophisticated individuals who draw them into a dangerous, criminal lifestyle is essential if we are to break the cycle of gang-related violence in our communities. I was really pleased to be able to work with these four really effective organisations and I’m delighted that the Home Office has recognised the importance of this project by allocating £700,000. With this money, we can work in the most troubled communities to target the young people most at risk of harm, building their confidence, equipping them with new skills and encouraging them to strive for a brighter future.”
The initial Early Intervention Youth Fund course, entitled “That’s Life” with 12 participants finished in June and was a huge success. Young people were selected according to a range of risk factors such as:
• Disengaged from education
• Poor attendance
• Risk of exclusion
• Convicted of an offence/at risk off offending or have a close family member who has been convicted
The programme sought to reduce these and bolster the protective factors that can keep them on safer paths. The feedback we have received from the police and Notre dame school has been really positive.
The Home office has approached us to discuss further funding as part of their reducing Serious Violence strategy and we have a verbal agreement of an additional £24,975 to pay for our senior club sessions and some additional staff from now until March 2020. A further meeting is set for October with the aim of putting together a plan to securing a further 5 years’ worth of Home Office funding.
The second course is underway.