YOUNG Somerset continues to run an engaging, fun and educational youth club at Wellington Young People’s Centre.

Wellington Youth Club is a great way for young people to learn life skills, socialise with their friends and make the most of opportunities geared to their personal development.

Young Somerset works with a range of partners – and brings them in to work and deliver enhanced programmes. SWEDA (Somerset and Wessex Eating Disorders Association) is a recent example – one in five young people have viewed their body negatively in the last year.

Young people can feel lonely and the Co-operative Foundation funded Young Somerset earlier this year to work with youngsters to explore what it means to feel isolated and lonely in their communities, and co-design potential work to improve the situation. In the course of this project, every young person surveyed said they had felt lonely recently.

Young people took charge of the loneliness project, running an awareness event and making a video to support lonely people in the community by volunteering their time. The programme of delivery at Wellington Youth Club – providing activities and having a safe space for young people to meet is crucial to address feelings of loneliness and isolation.

The youth club runs sessions around issues affecting young people, from mental health to social pressures. It offers an ear-to-listen and talk about anything and everything young people want to, taking the time to build a positive relationship based on honesty, openness, trust and respect – and which is led by the young person.

The youth club is a safe and welcoming environment for young people. It offers a fully equipped youth centre with relaxing areas, musical equipment, pool room, table tennis, video games and many more fun and interesting activities. The youth club is educational beyond the academic world of school and college – it has kart making, arts and crafts, baking, woodwork and many other educational activities.

It also runs trips every term to wherever young people want to go. In the past this has taken them ice skating, to theme parks, beaches, bowling and many other fun places. Youngsters last month went to a Hallowe’en haunted train experience on the West Somerset Railway where they got to walk through spooky carriages and listen to storytelling.

Another recent success was a community quiz held at the centre and organised by young people who have taken the Coming Together – formally loneliness – project forward. Young people ran the quiz, alongside a tombola and a raffle. From being nervous in the run-up to the event, their feedback afterwards was that they were pleased with its success and could do it again without any worries. They raised £50, which will contribute to the club’s programme.

Wellington Youth Club runs from 6-8pm on Tuesday and Thursday for any young person aged ten-18. The first session is always free, so anyone can go in and see what is on offer. The youth club has an expanding membership, so there are always new people to meet and interact with. Every young person is welcome.

James Gullis

Assistant youth worker