Impact Initiatives - UK
Whitehawk After School Project, Birghton
Impact Initiatives is a Sussex charity that has been running for more than 30 years. Working with other charities, not-for-profit organisations and private and public funders to set up and manage projects and services that support local people of all generations.
Years: 2013, 2014
WASP Youth Club is part of the Whitehawk After School Project. The WASP Youth Club is for 8-13 year olds living in Whitehawk East Brighton one of the most deprived areas in the country. It provides a safe place where young people can meet each other, learn new skills including cooking, sports and social skills and throughout all this have fun and positive adult attention and encouragement.
In 2013, the club was close to closure and the children would have been left with no safe place to play/interact after school hours. The ALMT agreed to fund the club over two years while they get back on their feet and as we enter year two, the club is looking much healthier with other funders coming on board, attendance at the club increasing and more and more activities and fun for the young people.
Many of the members live in poverty with parents who can give them little time or positive attention as they are dealing with mental health, domestic violence, drug or alcohol issues and often a combination of these. Many of the children have additional needs such as emotional/behavioural difficulties, learning difficulties and/or physical disabilities and some have caring responsibilities.
All activities are play based and with expert staff, children learn new skills including respect for themselves and each other, spelling, social skills, how to keep themselves safe and about the world outside of the estate. Healthy food and drinks are always available which the children help to prepare and serve.
Vital support is provided during the transition from primary to secondary school which is particularly difficult for these children as the nearest secondary schools are some distance away (the local school closed some years ago). Many Youth Club members have attended the club for 4-11 year olds and benefit from having on-going contact with staff.
The skills children learn whilst they are at WASP are carried with them as they get older and leave. They are more confident and better equipped for secondary school and beyond and they have experienced life outside of their estate and City.
One of the clubs recent successes is:
Sam aged 9 Sam was excluded from mainstream school he was very angry and was aggressive to other children and adults. Our staff worked with him on “cooling-down safely” techniques so he could recognise when he got angry and was about to hit out: this significantly reduced his negative physical behaviour and he is now back in mainstream school.