Knights Youth Centre
learning from the success of a South London youth club who have run street, school and community based programmes for four generations of young people
Serving a deprived and diverse population, for many KYC is home. With a philosophy that each young person should belong to and have a positive role within their community, they focus on welfare and providing positive experiences and opportunities that build self-confidence and self-esteem. This includes sports, table tennis, cooking, creative arts, residential trips, employment support, training and work experience, all with the aim that these young people will stay safe, make good decisions and be ready for adulthood and independence. “We endeavour to provide a whole community approach. This means listening and sharing with parents, carers, families, neighbours, shop owners and local services and faith groups”.
ft’work identified KYC as a very successful youth project that has grown out of its community and adapted in response to local need. It owns it building, on land leased from the Council and has the potential to use it more intensively both to provide a broader range of services and to create an income stream to help fund them. ftwork’s role has been to:
“KYC remains relevant today in a world dominated by social injustice, in particular to support children and young people who are often at the margins of neglect in today's inner city environment.”
— Martin Long, Trustee
The resources of good local projects are often too stretched for them to grow or contemplate change. ft’work has introduced KYC to other organisations, for inspiration and potential collaboration, and encouraged them to use additional funding to canvas their users and the local community about the wider services they could offer.
While knife crime and gang-related violence are at an all-time high, local authority Youth Services have been cut back to the bone. A coincidence? The need for community-led projects to provide positive alternatives for local kids is urgent. ft’work knows of several and our aim is to share the very best examples while exerting pressure for public funding. Are there good projects you can tell us about? , and as a model that other communities could follow.