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HYCC - Who we are?
Hungerford Youth and Community Centre (HYCC) is based in the market town of Hungerford. The building that houses the youth centre is leased from Excalibur Trust via the Hungerford Town Council, for peppercorn rent. The building adjoins John O’Gaunt School; downstairs the centre has a large main hall, kitchen and café area, toilet facilities, two storage rooms and an office. Upstairs there is a ‘chill out’ room, a small ‘gaming area’, meeting room and a large storeroom. We also have a MUGA court outside. Young people are at the heart of everything we do.
The Community Centre
The Centre is a large flexible space, suitable for a variety of uses, from a play space, to clubs, charity sales, coffee mornings, dances and staged events. Some of our regular groups using the space include. We apply a 25% concession for groups or charities which benefit the Hungerford community.
- Hungerford Camera Club
- Hungerford Theatre Company
- We have two bands that practice in the space
- Ladybugs Playgroup runs weekly during term time
- Steady Steps, a class for our older members of the community to help with balance and mobility
- Music with Mummy and Me
- Rich Glow Fitness, a workout class
- Regular bookings for Birthday Parties and Special Events from members of the community.
The community Centre also hosted the Rotary Clubs Santa Fun run and a collection for Ukraine free of charge to the charities running them.
The Youth Project
A study by the charity Young Minds revealed that referrals to young people's mental health services have risen by 53% since 2019, and this is the second year that referrals have totalled over one million. They found that due to long waiting lists that young people are left without support for long periods of time.
In our rural communities, where isolation is a recognised problem, our youth sessions are invaluable: the youth centre gives young people a space where they can meet and play without the pressure environment of school. It’s the perfect way to learn about yourself and others in a safe, positive place with supportive adults who are there to help you make good choices. In association with feedback from our young people, we use a national Youth agency curriculum to plan for our youth nights. For example, last term we included activities to promote young people's mental health, physical self and their sense of belonging.
We want our young people to take ownership of the youth programme at HYCC, supported by our youth worker and volunteers. We want young people to feel engaged and proud of their youth centre and to be enthusiastic participants in their community. We want to create a journey of learning through fun: from signing up to youth club as a 10 year old – to becoming a young volunteer in the teen years – to becoming part of the leadership team as an adult. We have so many good ideas to roll out with our young people. We will become leading lights on youth work, mental and physical health for young people, working closely with other youth organisations to make HYCC a hive of opportunities for young people.
HYCC is open to the community, we take our role as a venue to come together and celebrate with loved ones very seriously. We are also keen to nurture other charity and interest groups and we strive to keep HYCC affordable to all. Engagement from the community is paramount and we persevere in building up the youth centre’s image as an exceptional venue.
Over the past few years; we have grown from a tiny, volunteer-led organisation, to one with a ‘skeleton’ of employed staff who enable many local people to volunteer and give their time, experience and energy to our charity.
Our popular Youth programme curranty offers the following oppertunities for local young people:
#ICE – a youth club for children with additional needs (age range 9 to 15 years).
Home Ed Youth group - a youth club for children not in school (age range 8 to 16 years)
11s – a youth club for children in school years 5 and 6.
7&8s - a youth club for young people in years 7 and 8.
HAF (Holiday, Activity and Food) - We now run this regularly during the school holidays. Offering FREE places to young people in receipt of free school meals and at a very reduced cost for everyone else. This program is supported by West Berkshire Council. During the school holidays in Summer, Easter and Christmas: dance classes; paddle boarding; trips to Lazer Quest or bowling – these give our young people something to look forward to and helps their mental health and a hot meal is prepared and eaten by the young people during the session.
Youth Camp, running in the same format as the HAF program we run our own youth camp during the half term holidays offering FREE place to young people in receipt of free school meals and at a reduced price of just £8 a day for everyone else.
HYCC Days Away – day trips for children aged 9 to 18, low-income families are offered free places and at a reduced cost to everyone else.
There are plans to open more youth groups over the coming years.
JOG School drop in – Sessions that we have run at the youth centre during the school day where young people at risk of expulsion can spend time outside of the school and mentoring from the youth worker is available. Unfortunately, due to staffing issues at the school this group was discontinued, but we are looking for new ways to support young people in a similar way.
Talking Spaces– Our youth workers attended JOG and provide a non-judgmental space for young people to come and talk about anything that they want to. Unfortunately, due to staffing issues at the school this group was discontinued, but we are looking for new ways to support young people in a similar way.
Over the past 12 months, we have continued to grow our network of local groups that work with young people.
We are a member of the Youth Voice Forum, West Berkshire Volunteering's bi-monthly meeting for organisations working with young people.
We’ve also made some new connections with West Berkshire Council; we will be collaborating with them to set up our young carers’ group, for which our staff are attending training with Laura Taylor from the West Berkshire Early Intervention Team on ‘Trauma informed care of young people’ and ‘young carers’.
Children and Young People’s Voice Members.
We have also worked with:
Tesco‘s community champion, Laura, helps at the youth centre during youth nights and holiday club. Tesco ‘lend’ her to the youth club for 5 hours/week during term time and during the holiday club for up to 20 hours a week.
'All Yours' to continue to offer FREE period products at the centre, available to everyone.
The Community Food Project, who comes to do food related activities with the young people.
Sport in mind attend our Monday youth sessions every week to support the young people at the centre to keep active for mental health.
MF Dance who run some sessions for the young people during the holiday club.
Oxford Power Sports who ran FREE weightlifting sessions.
We worked with a local Yoga teacher, Carol Fox-Shatford, to run mindfulness sessions for young people from the centre.
We have linked up with the Hungerford Leisure Centre to take the young people swimming.
Our closest neighbour and local secondary, John O’Gaunt School, to use its sports field; we also have access to the school’s reflection garden during our youth sessions.
The local Community Police Force attended youth sessions as part of their knife crime awareness campaign.
The Fire Service attended one of our youth nights.
The Public Protection Partnership come to the youth centre to talk to the young people about the dangers of vaping.
We have begun a relationship with Gigaclear who kindly donated a selection of books for our chill out room at the youth centre.
Our Town Council has been ‘on board’ from the start. They were instrumental in saving the youth centre after the government cuts of 2012 and we have worked alongside them ever since: at any one time, one of our trustees is a town councillor. The Town Council’s Finance Officer audits our year end accounts and we report in person at Town Council meetings on a regular basis.
Most recently, the town clerk asked us for feedback from young people for their ‘Recreations and Amenities’ sub-committee as they work on their strategy for the future.
Local charity The Town and Manor of Hungerford has also supported the youth centre since the beginning – they allocate a significant amount of their yearly grants to HYCC. Currently, they are investigating the option of creating a wetland on the outskirts of town. As part of their consultation, they attended youth sessions and spoke to young people about what they thought of the idea.
Young people are choosing to attend our sessions and participate in activities; our data shows that as of November 2022, 141 young people were attending the youth centre regularly. We know this number has increased already and estimate that we will reach at least 160 memberships at the next census at the end of 2023.
Hungerford Youth and Community Centre- November 2022
Hungerford Youth and Community is striving to create “a well-run, high-quality community-based youth organisation. This goes far beyond providing leisure activities; it strengthens community ties, provides a safe place for young people, raises aspirations, develops skills for life, supports young people on their journey to adulthood and enables them to become, happy, secure citizens capable of contributing something to society.”- UK youth
The Hungerford Youth and Community Centre not only is a place for the community to gather, it also promotes community interactions. The community is behind us all the way and has been since the beginning.