North Mymms Youth and Community Centre

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North Mymms Youth and Community Centre

Annual Report 1999

Junior Club. 

A year where the need for volunteer helpers has remained a constant threat to the continuance of the club. Whilst in the main, the band of volunteers have remained intact throughout the year, their own individual commitments some weeks have left staffing to be critical.

I extend my warmest thanks to them all.   Despite an offer from the Parish Charities to fund a paid worker to lead the club this offer has not been taken up and the leadership has in the main remained my responsibility.

As a youth worker I should not undertake this role. I therefore thank my manager John Vickers for his tolerance of the situation. I also thank the committee for their invaluable support. 

Activities have remained varied with cooking, face painting and disco dancing remaining firm favourites. There have been a few instances of alleged and actual vandalism taking place in Station Road, with residents and parents engaged where appropriate. The police have taken no apparent interest or action in any of the situations despite invitation.

Bullying has also been a factor, generally issues that have spilled over from school. Again parents have been engaged where appropriate. In general, the children are well behaved and enjoy their club. The continued attendance bears testament. 

Senior Club 

During February, the Youth service in Hertfordshire was OFSTED inspected. It was one of some 30 projects visited throughout the county, although somewhat disappointingly for both workers and young people after the club had closed for the evening!

The report has only just been published with some very mixed feedback, acknowledging the considerable upheaval in both management and structure in the service during the past 2 years.

The year also saw the departure in June of Cherry Manners after about 20 years service to the Centre, but also the appointment of Paula Hammett who joined us in January. Her appointment was the acknowledgement of the increased attendance at the Centre, with numbers often exceeding 40, a very encouraging trend whilst many other projects in the county were in decline.

For a small rural community with the attractions of nearby Hatfield, Potters Bar and St Albans, attendance is and remains good. Activities have remained varied but curtailed in many ways due to the disbanding of many of the specialist work teams that could be called upon in the past, such as health awareness, arts and outdoor activities.

Much of our achievements have been solely as a result of much hard work by myself, Cherry and Paula. Credit also to the Management Committee for their continuing support and funding and John Vickers who has and continues to regularly visit and ‘champion’ our cause in the East Herts team.

Sadly, our youth work grant from the County for youth activities this year was only 200, plus of course our paid workers. It is of personal regret that the young people hold little value on property and equipment and ‘expected lifetime’ for certain items like pool cues, table tennis bats and balls is very short. Thankfully, damage to the centre known to be attributable to young people is limited.. so far. 

Again, despite invitation, the Police have not taken up several invitations to visit and talk to the young people and hopefully build rapport and trust which is often lacking in others areas of the village on non club nights.

Whilst serious concern has been limited, we have had instances of young people clearly under the influence of drugs and alcohol, but with sensitivity and understanding, the problem is and has remained under control. 

The mix of young women to men has remained balanced and as older members move on, a new band of intake, mainly from the junior club ensure continuity.  

The young people who attend continue to periodically seek the guidance and support of the youth workers on a wide range of subjects. Many are what are best described as ‘heavy’ and/or ‘serious’ matters, where the depth, knowledge and skill of the youth workers I feel remains severely undervalued by both society and indeed many county councillors, the education service and even some of those in the youth service itself. 

Also during the year, the Brookmans Park World Wide Web page  was set up by a local resident David Brewer.  Free of charge, the centre now has a page on this site, predominantly focussed on the youth clubs. 

The club is shortly to embark on another trip to Matlock, with hopefully some 10 members. I have high hopes for the 8 day residential and am confident a repeat of the ‘Dartmoor experience’ will not occur. 

Finally, on a personal note, my full time job recently served me with notice of redundancy. At present, my only option is a job involving rotating shift patterns that will make my continuance as a youth worker impossible. When Cherry resigned her post was advertised and no applications were received. We were extremely lucky to ‘come up trumps’ with Paula as prior to her appointment there was also very poor response.

If the experience of finding volunteers with the junior club is also anything to go by I will be very saddened at the prospects of the continuation of youth provision at North Mymms during the forthcoming year.

I hope for the sake of the young people of this village I am wrong and there remains a bright future for them. 

Martin Ferdinando

July 13, 1999

Martin Ferdinando

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