On the closing day for applications here’s another entry for the St Luke’s CARES Community Awards, submitted by the Breeze Friday Night Project. For details of how YOUR community group can enter please click here. The deadline for entries is 5pm today (28 February 2018).
We started out in South Leeds at the Leisure Centre in Beeston, working in partnership with St. Luke’s Cares, Youth Service and Sport and Recreation. Then, a victim of our own success after regularly attracting an average of 54 young people each week (and, at our peak, 96 young people), we also opened in Middleton Leisure Centre.
When the South Leeds Leisure Centre closed, our Beeston project ended in June 2010, but ten years later the project at Middleton is still thriving. Over 3,500 young people have joined us and taken part in over 33,000 sessions. Over £170,000 in funding has been received through various funding streams, including PAYP, Middleton Bright Ideas, Sports Unlimited, Schools Cluster, Area Committee YAF and well-being funds, MICE, Leeds Federated Housing, Renew, Positive Futures, NCS Team and LS Cash.
We have supported local community initiatives such as the Middleton regeneration project and, with Middleton Bright Ideas funding, we ran a graffiti project to improve the back of Middleton Leisure Centre and help stop tagging, and we created a new mosaic sign for the local church.
LS Cash helped us improve use of the Leisure Centre by building a new storage area, enabling us to create a space downstairs into the Friday Night Project room. Young people designed the new look and ordered all the furnishings for the room, which has survived the centre refurbishment and is still used by local young people eight years on.
Middleton Friday Night Project has hosted five celebration events where we have showcased the activities we offer. Last year we held a community open day where 114 young people signed in to the activities and most of them brought their families along. This year we hope to find funding to host a ten year celebration event and community open day combined. Watch this space!
Over fifty young people attend Middleton Friday Night Project every week. Our members come from a variety of backgrounds which include primary schools, high schools, colleges, behaviour support units and home school.
We have two volunteers in our Junior session who have come through our Senior project and one of our current staff members, Natasha, first came to us as a referral from the school cluster for a volunteering position. Natasha started in September 2012 with Middleton Junior project and soon became a valued member of the team. She has since supported us on other Breeze projects; Breeze On Tour, Breeze Has Talent and Breeze and the Speak to the Streets Fly Market. In 2014 she became a paid member of staff on the summer Breeze programmes and then the Friday Night Project. Coming from Middleton, Natasha is an inspiration and positive role model to our young people.
We have enjoyed working with the young people and families in South Leeds over the last ten years and hope to secure funding for the new financial year so that this work can continue. We would like to thank our partners, young people and families for all your support over the years.
If we are successful we will use the funding to hold a public celebration event to mark our 10th anniversary.
This post was written by Laura Hobman using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.