M13 aims to foster long-term enjoyment, learning, action and change, making for well-being, within local young people, workers and our local Ardwick communities, in inner-urban Manchester.

A Project: Coverdale Youth Club: Run by young people, for young people

A group of young men we know through street-based detached work in Coverdale heard about the ‘New Generation’ project, a group of teenagers from a neighbouring area, who trained as youth workers and ran a youth group for younger local children. They wanted to do the same, so with support from M13 worker Diego, D, aged 18 applied successfully for a small grant for him and three local mates, aged 18-23, to cover the costs of them training as workers, getting their training accredited, and then running a youth group over February half-term, with M13 support.

M13 workers got to know the group of four friends through our street-based detached work and community involvement over the last few years. A (aged 22) is in full-time manual labour employment locally, B (aged 20) has learning difficulties and doesn’t work, C (aged 18) hadn’t worked until four months ago, when he decided to find work for himself (as a result of a project he took part in with us) and found a night job cleaning, and D (aged 18) hasn’t worked since he left school. C’s dad died unexpectedly last year in violent circumstances, which had a huge impact on him. M13 workers have offered him considerable support through this time.

Diego, lead worker with this group, asked me if I would train and work with the group on this project and, in mid-January, we had a meeting with two of the group to discuss the project and what they wanted out of it. More importantly, we asked what they felt they had to offer and what they could give and they came up with a huge list, which continued to motivate them throughout the project. I’m not sure anyone had asked the guys that question before.

Over four weeks, the group met twice a week to train in basic youth work, planning, management and evaluation, Health and Safety and Child Protection issues, during which time, we added E, aged 23, to our number, a friend of the group’s, who heard what we were doing, wanted to join, and was willing to juggle the project around his work commitments. The group began in a typically chaotic fashion, as none of the lads are particularly confident at written work, so our flexible and humourous approach worked well in both engaging them and enabling them to evidence their learning.

The Club opened and the week began with 10 young people, aged 9-13, attending and finished with a total of 16 participants, 15 of them regulars, aged 8-13. The lad’s worked incredibly hard, setting up, making relationships with and supporting the young people, clearing up and then, in C’s case, going off for an 8-hour work shift, from 10pm – 6am! and then meeting up again at 4pm the next day to do it all again. This project has given them a great experience to add to their CVs, we will support the lads to describe this work, their experiences and their learning, to add to their CV’s.

Since the Peter Cruddas Foundation Grant in October 2010, the project has continued to attract funding for specific short-term projects and the possibility of funding for larger scale projects.

For more information visit www.m13youthproject.org.uk