Escape and NextGen are age-specific evening sessions offering time out with friends as well as opportunities for discussing current youth issues. In 2018/2019 we held 59 sessions with 705 attendances of young people.
Over the year we ran two separate programmes on a Tuesday night. In April 2018, our Next Gen year 11s attended a ReMind course to help with preparation for exams. Alongside managing anxiety it was important to enable the young people to have wholesome fun and so we played some old favourites such as empires, round the table and FIFA as well as new games such as curling, exploding kittens and Just Dance. In the summer we took extra time to watch a film and a world cup match.
At the same time our year 7s and 8s had use of the main club room for a time of fun and socialising. In September 2018, we said goodbye to our Next Gen Group as they moved on to College and Tuesday nights became the new home for years 7 and 8, particularly those new to Secondary school. Some topics that we covered with this age were assertiveness, respect, family, fun, belonging relationships, money and having an adult to talk to. Ben, Larisa, Jacqueline and Clare provided a consistent team for the young people.
Our year 9+ young people had a safe space to come to a Friday evening Escape club, and some would come from as far as Clanfield and Liphook. Subjects we covered here were stereotypical youth work subjects such as drinking, smoking, drugs, respect, anger, parents, being safe, and mental health.
It was a challenge at Escape to encourage the young people to meet our requirements such as simply filling in consent forms but also to abide by the code of conduct. In the summer it was necessary to have three staff members at the sessions (Annemarie, Ben and Jon). We attracted positive attention by taking a sofa down to the avenue and playing traditional games nearby. Due to funding challenges, in the autumn we reduced to two staff hoping to use a volunteer in addition. Friday evening proved to be a difficult slot to fill with a volunteer and Tim and Caroline regularly volunteered their time to support the staff. Escape did not appear to be meeting the current users' needs and together with the challenge in staffing it was decided to stop the club at the end of December with a view to reflecting on what provision was best to offer. It was clear that a minimum of two members of staff and at least one volunteer is important.
V came to one of our evening sessions after
meeting staff through a ReMind Course. They struggled with positive relationships, emotional resilience and showing respect (particularly towards their parents). Within our sessions, we built a good relationship with Mum as well as V who has been working on how to 'get on with my parents' (Three Crowns). They have been able to build positive relationships with their peers within these sessions and have made some good relationships with staff/volunteers. They have regularly been comfortable enough to talk through some of the challenges they have been facing at both school and home. They are on a waiting list at school for KA 1:1 mentoring but also access our After School sessions for support and to have 'fun'.