BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS HAVE BEEN HANGING AROUND AT CHALLENGE 4 CHANGE
Young people from local Boys & Girls Clubs have enjoyed an amazing experience at local indoor High Ropes venue Challenge 4 Change.
On Wednesday 12th February 2020, around 30 young people from Greater Manchester youth clubs and projects visited the venue at Trafford Park and were able to take part in a range of challenge, team building and problem-solving activities.
The young people and leaders arrived at the venue and were immediately in awe and in various states of excitement and trepidation as to what lay ahead for the evening.
Challenge 4 Change is large indoor high ropes course in an old sugar mill, and so on first encounter it is a very intimidating sight. You can imagine how the young people must have felt.
To begin with the instructor did a safety briefing, settled the group down and gave them an idea about what was planned……and then it was into the arena.
Although the groups of young people were from a variety of areas across Greater Manchester, they were all mixed up together. The evening started with the groups enjoying a range of fun team building activities on “good old terra-firma.” They raced each other on crash mats and scrambled their way through the “Sea of Tyres” as teams that had to help and support one another – if they didn’t know each other to begin with, they certainly did by the end of the night.
Before long, and following a short break, it was time for the big finale!
The group got their harnesses on and started to make their way up and onto the high ropes course, which runs around the whole perimeter of the building and contains a range of high-altitude challenges.
Despite varying levels of nervousness, everyone managed the route around the course and were then ready for the final challenge of the night – The Leap of Faith!
For the uninitiated the Leap of Faith involves climbing up a high pole, standing on a platform and then jumping off to, hopefully, catch hold of a swing / trapeze type thing. The group took turns They were then lowered down back on to solid ground. All of the participants took that leap of faith, it was amazing to watch.
Hopefully, this was a fun evening for all concerned. But hopefully, the participants also took away some important life skills – that they are ALL capable of more than they imagine, that they can ALL push themselves beyond their perceived boundaries and fears and that if they will only take that leap of faith they will achieve so much and will feel GREAT!
This was our first visit to Challenge 4 Change, but I’m sure it won’t be our last.
Thanks to all the staff and volunteers who took the time and energy to bring their young people along, we hope to see you again soon.
BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF GREATER MANCHESTER RELEASE DETAILS OF NEW MEMBERSHIP OFFER
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Manchester have provided details of their new membership criteria and offer for clubs who are currently affiliated to view and respond to.
For the last 2 or 3 years, any membership taken out by clubs has been allowed to roll over to subsequent years and membership has been free to existing and new members.
“In recent years we have allowed membership to roll over for free.” said Andy Hamill, County Director, “We have been looking at our offer to members, assessing whether our offer was still relevant and then looking at what we want to provide for members in the future.”
He continued, “The environment around us has changed significantly over recent years as well. Expectations placed on voluntary groups has increased significantly. And so, we have been assessing what expectations we want to place on our members and how we can support our clubs in meeting our new criteria.”
The new membership criteria and offer can be found on the new website and Boys & Girls Clubs are asking for feedback from clubs before they formally launch the new membership offer in April. You can find details by clicking on this link - https://www.bgcgm.org.uk/get-involved/become-a-member.
The new offer has three-levels of membership that means all local youth clubs and projects can be a member of BGCGM without any expectations placed on them.
“They have an organisation that they can come to and find support and accountability.” Said Andy. “However, if groups want to really benefit from our membership, then they are expected to reach a certain standard in a number of key areas.”
To take part in activities and receive other benefits, clubs must have certain criteria in place around policies and procedures and must have completed safeguarding training along with a few other things. “We will support clubs through this.” Said Andy. “For example, we have committed to supporting two FREE places for each club on our NSPCC accredited Safeguarding Training. And we will support clubs in all the other areas as well, in order that they, their volunteers and, most importantly, their young people can benefit from the great programmes we offer.”
Karen Wilson, BGCGM’s Chair of Trustees said, “By and large the requirement we are asking for reflect legal obligations that are placed on all groups and we want to help and ensure that our members are supported in abiding by the law. But more than that, these things also mean that young people receive a safe and good quality service from members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Manchester. If clubs don’t have these things in place then we will give them time to do so and the support they need to get things in order.” She continues, “Once we have supported our clubs in these things, there are so many more benefits that clubs, volunteers and young people can take advantage of.”
Clubs are invited to take a look at the new membership offer and criteria (see the link above), and provide feedback to Boys & Girls Clubs until the end of April 2020.
LOCAL BOXING CLUB NEEDS HELP TO EXPAND
A local Boxing club that are members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Manchester are reaching out to local businesses and trust funds to allow them to expand their premises due to the demand from local young people wanting to get involved at the gym.
Timperley Amateur Boxing Club currently meet in the former Altrincham Youth Centre five nights per week and also run a satellite session at the nearby Broomwood School once a week.
But they need more room to accommodate their current members as well as those who would like to get involved.
Timperley ABC have been offered a piece of land adjacent to their current gym and the volunteers at the club have worked hard to raise funds for the new gym. But are they falling just short of the funds they need and need support from others to help bridge the £80,000 shortfall.
So far, the voluntary run club have secured funds from Sport England, Trafford Housing Trust and the Maverick Trust and continue to seek support from other sources.
Mark Davidson, Head Coach said, “The current gym only has space for around 16 young people to train at a time. If we were able to get the new gym open we could more than double the amount young boxers attending the clubs sessions.”
Mark continued that as well as the sessions they currently run over five-nights of the week, they also run holiday clubs for young people who would normally have school dinners and who might otherwise be at risk of crime and anti-social behaviour. He said, “We do holiday lunch clubs. We do two sessions 11-1 and 1-3. This is training and lunch. We have kids who are referred to us from local schools who would normally have free school dinners, who are not in school or education and have been involved with or at risk of knife crime.”
“We try our best to accommodate children,” said Mark, “But unfortunately cannot take any more and are operating a waiting list.”
Timperley has genuine track record of success in helping young people that stretches back almost 10-years.
One volunteer originally came to the club as a member. He has become an inspiration to many at the gym having lost around 10-stone in weight and has now completed his level 1 Coaching Award and volunteers several nights of the week. The club benefits children and adults alike.
Mark refers to numerous instances where the gym has helped young people in difficult situations or help them get back on the straight and narrow.
“One lad attended our holiday clubs and didn’t miss a session,” said Mark, “But he was a little bit hit and miss in the evenings. When we spoke to him, he told us that his Mum couldn’t afford the evenings. We came to an agreement that he could attend four of the evening sessions and only pay for one.” Mark says that this is far from an isolated example. Where young people can’t afford to pay, the club policy is to let those individuals carry on rather than excluding them.
He also relates one example of lad who had been expelled from primary school aged 7. After starting to attend Timperley ABC he got back on the straight and narrow and is now a key member of gym, very mature, a leader and doing well at school.
The list of examples could go on.
The gym is run completely by volunteers. As well as the boxing sessions which take place at the gym each night of the week, at weekends volunteers can also be found ferrying boxers up and down the country to boxing shows and / or competitions or tournaments. The commitment is phenomenal.
But is very worthwhile and impacts many lives in a profound way.