Children from the Rose Hill Junior Youth Club recently visited Bonn in Germany, as part of a trip organised by Oxford City Council to celebrate 70 years of the two cities being twinned together.
Bonn invited Oxford residents to visit for their ‘Oxford in Bonn’ celebrations which took place between 10-14 April. Among the groups of visitors, from local folk dancers and firefighters, to Girl Guides and choirs, were 10 children from the Rose Hill Junior Youth Club in Oxford.
The Rose Hill Junior Youth Club is part of GreenSquare’s long-term regeneration project to increase opportunities and support activities for residents in the Rose Hill area.
The inclusive youth club supports around 180 children and young (aged 5-16) at its weekly sessions. It supports all children, some with a range of complex behavioural and educational needs. It is a place for children to enjoy a range of activities, have fun with friends and enjoy good food.
Aimee Winkfield, Rose Hill project assistant at GreenSquare, said: “We worked hard to organise a full programme of activities for the children while they were in Bonn. The trip was a great opportunity for them to visit a European city; to experience a different culture and learn more about Bonn’s history.”
Another year of success for Rose Hill regeneration
GreenSquare’s Rose Hill regeneration project began in 2011and has gone from strength to strength. In addition to funding from GreenSquare and Oxford City Council, the project has received significant funding over the years from the Big Lottery Fund; the most recent being a four-year grant of £458,100 received in 2017.
Year two of the grant has seen further successful development of the Rose Hill project and a number of key, positive outcomes for the local community.
Fran Gardner, GreenSquare’s dedicated Rose Hill community worker, said: “The last year has proven to be more successful for us because we’ve really settled into the delivery of the newproject. We have over-achieved on most of our project outcomes which has been great.
“We continue to offer a wide range of additional activities for children with complex needs and behaviours. The positive impact on children attending these additional activities has been significant – particularly our enrichment trips to places such as Farmer Gows or the Oxfordshire Museum, which enhance vocabulary, listening skills and life experiences.”
A focus for the youth club in the last year has been tackling antisocial behaviour among young people in the area, by improving their life chances and encouraging positive engagement in their community.
The club now runs a weekly evening boys group and young women’s group for 12-15 year olds, which are both well-attended. Staff focus on different topics at each session such as diet and wellbeing, body positivity and understanding good mental health. They also get involved in fun activities including games, art, music, cooking and trips out.
“We’ve also enjoyed more success with enabling young people to take on leadership roles in the community,” Fran says. “For example, in May last year we were invited to run the information tent at the Oxford Common People Festival and help as volunteers. It was a really valuable experience for them.”
The Rose Hill regeneration project is also about helping disadvantaged adults in the community, through improving their skills and opportunities to participate in the community and/or employment.
In January 2019 GreenSquare began an exciting partnership with the South Oxfordshire Food and Education Academy (SOFEA), to develop meaningful initiatives and valuable support, training and volunteering for adults. They have already had success with some creative work to engage with adults from five different ethnic groups as well as organising training courses.
Fran continues: “Funding, particularly from the Big Lottery Fund, has made a massive difference to the Rose Hill regeneration project in the last couple of years, but we know that it is important to think about opportunities to build other funding streams for the future and help make sure this valuable resource can continue.
“For example, last year we launched an event and outside catering business, all using surplus food cooked in our community kitchen. All the profits from the catering business go directly back into the Rose Hill Junior Youth Club.”