The Box Youth Project

The Box Youth Project was a runner up and won £500 Good Neighbour funding during our 2016 campaign.

What is The Box Youth Project?

The Box Youth Project is a registered charity working with children and young people aged 8-19 who live in South Sunderland.

The project runs a variety of recreational and educational activities that are age appropriate to the centre users. The kids club caters for 8-10 year olds and the children participate in art and craft activities, indoor games, outdoor play and cookery sessions. Many of the activities are linked to calendar events eg. Easter and Christmas, Mothers/Fathers day, Chinese New Year, BBC Children in Need, cultural festivals etc.

The general youth clubs cater for 11-19 year olds who also participate in activities. Workers also engage young people in discussions and offer support with mental health and wellbeing issues, physical health activities, drugs/alcohol/smoking awareness and campaigns, sexual health and relationships, racism, bullying, peer pressure, confidence and self-esteem.

The Peer Education Programme trains young people aged 15-19  in issue-based sessions as listed above and then deliver workshops and activities with their peers. One example being during the summer school holidays the Peer Educators ran a weekly boot-camp called ‘Are you ready for comp?’ to discuss and alleviate worries that the children had regarding their transition from primary to secondary school.

School holiday programmes are delivered to give children and young people an alternative to hanging around the streets and to encourage positive use of leisure time. Activities can include trips to play parks and beaches, cinema, the climbing wall, bowling alley etc.

We also run a volunteering programme for 15-19 year olds, supporting young people to be actively involved in their communities. Young volunteers have arranged annual community fun days as well as supporting youth workers in the weekly kids/youth clubs.

There is also support for 16-19 year olds to ensure they engage in education, employment or training. This involves creating CVs, job search, support with application forms and letter writing, and interview techniques.

The Box Youth Project works with teenage parents, supporting mothers and fathers in healthy eating, cooking on a budget, child development, safe and creative play. All programmes of work are accredited to ensure that the young people are rewarded for their hard work and commitment to their community. Several of our volunteers have won awards in recent years in the Sunderland Young Volunteers annual award ceremony.

Why should The Box Youth Project project receive a donation from the Good Neighbour programme?

The Box Youth Project is the only organisation based in this area of Sunderland which works with children and young people. The project relies heavily upon local people to volunteer both at a strategic and operational level to ensure the provision exists and continues.

The committee is made up of 10 local adult volunteers who worked hard to set the youth project up 14 years ago and continue to do so to this day. The management committee meet on a monthly basis and govern the project. The project employs 1 full time youth worker and 3 part time sessional workers who are supported by a team of regular volunteers.

The project is based in an area where there are some pockets of real deprivation and where issues in relation to anti-social behaviour, drug and alcohol misuse, smoking, teenage pregnancy and STIs are prevalent. Without this provision there would be very little for local children and young people to do in their leisure time and there is most definitely nowhere else that young people in particular can receive support and information on the many issues which they face. The fact that over 900 children and young people use the centre shows how important the Box Youth Project is to families in the area.

What could The Box Youth Project use the money for?

The project would like to invest in its volunteering programme in order to sustain the project for coming years. As a registered charity, it is becoming increasing difficult to raise funds for services for children and young people especially in Sunderland where the city council have cut its youth service and no longer allocates funds from its budget to this. More and more charities are competing for the small amounts of funding which is available. Any funds received would be used to increase the capacity of the project’s volunteers and recruit more volunteers which would enable them to deliver more much-needed services to local people.

The funds to help to organise a recruitment event for local people. A DBS check would  be undertaken to ensure local people are suitable for working with children and young people, as well as arranging training in First Aid, food hygiene, and health and safety for new volunteers.

Any donations made to The Box Youth Project will be very gratefully received and will be put to a very good cause.