Rose Hill Junior Youth club, a children's charity based in Rose Hill, Oxford, celebrates its 10th birthday today (17 March).
Rose Hill Junior Youth Club, based at Rose Hill Community centre, has offered up to four weekly inclusive after school youth club sessions for children in and around Rose Hill. This provided a communal and fun space for up to 180 children and young people, aged between 5-16 to play, explore, run, dance, jump and just have lots of fun – and for them to have a healthy cooked meal.
To celebrate the anniversary, the project team will be sharing pictures and video clips from the past ten years on their social media pages on Wednesday 17 March. They are also sending out activity packs to families across Rose Hill.
Aimee Winkfield, Rose Hill Project Assistant, said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating 10 years of the youth club and we are so incredibly proud of the work that the club has done in the community over the past decade.
“When the Junior Youth Club first opened, the team never imagined how successful it would turn out to be. Having started running just one session at first, the numbers of children attending increased enough for us to consistently be able to run four sessions a week since 2017.
“Rose Hill is recognised as a ‘pocket of deprivation’ with 48% of children living in poverty, the highest level in Oxford City. The Junior Youth Club has therefore been a vital, and necessary part of Rose Hill, and has been there to support all the families who need it.
“It has showcased the true spirit of community cohesion, through parent support groups, local events, and regular youth club provision. The journey we have been on has been both transformative and inspiring.”
A long-term project GreenSquare's, the Rose Hill Junior Youth Club began in 2011 to tackle the historically deprived area and has received significant funding over the years from the National Lottery Community Fund (formerly the Big Lottery Fund). The most recent being a four-year grant received in 2017.
Over the past 10 years, Rose Hill Junior Youth Club expanded beyond its role as a youth club, with the team working tirelessly to fundraise to provide additional support for children and young people – more than the core funding from the National Lottery could initially cover. This has included coming up with new ways to support children through one-to-one mentoring and creative therapies. Rose Hill Junior Youth Club has also formed many partnerships with other organisations to provide further services to the community.
Aimee added: “One of our most notable partnerships over the years has been with the surplus food distribution charity SOFEA and the Oxford Food Hub.
“Thanks to this partnership, we have been able to redistribute up to one tonne of surplus food per week by: providing cooking lessons for children and their families; cooking hot food meals for up to 180 children per week at youth club sessions; and most recently by supporting up to 70 families per week through our community food bank service.”
Over the past year, the charity has adapted to the changing circumstances caused by the pandemic. In mid-2020, the youth club acquired an allotment with a view to providing a safe space for children to still access its services outdoors. Young people have had the chance to build planters, learn how food grows and how to maintain the environment. Soon, an outdoor shelter will be built at the allotment to facilitate art and music sessions, even in poor weather conditions.
The pandemic has also increased the need for the charity to continuously fundraise to cover the costs of supporting children, who are experiencing the effects of poor mental health, isolation, grief, and disruption to education.
For more information about Rose Hill Junior Youth Club, visit: www.facebook.com/RoseHillJYC