The Furry Youth Café, Helston set to reopen in September

The good news is Furry Youth Café which is located above Warren’s Bakery in Helston is set to reopen on the 6th of September. This venue will at first open on Tuesday’s and Friday’s from 7pm to 9pm each week.

Anyone between the ages of 11-18 can attend, no matter if you live in Helston, Porthleven, the Lizard area, or the wider villages. The catchment area is really for those who attend either Helston College, or Mullion School.

The café is free to attend, and there will be a series of structured activities taking place, plus plenty of time to just relax.

As one of the directors of the Furry Youth Café, I am really pleased we are able to reopen after what seemed like ages of being closed. We are also excited to be working with PCDT to deliver the youth service in side the café. Penwith Community Development Trust is a  Cornish charity with the aim of reducing poverty, social isolation and support healthy living.

However, before the reopening, there will be a fun day at Helston AFC on Wednesday 24th August between 1pm and 4pm. This fun day enables those attending to meet the team, and see what the Youth Café have to offer. This fun day is not just for young people, but parents and carers are very much welcomed too. That way those parents and carers will see what is on offer at the café.

The launch poster

The launch poster

For anyone reading from Porthleven, and wondering what is happening in Porthleven, I am putting a proposal to Porthleven TC in Sept.

Furthermore, I know for some transport is an issue for those in Porthleven and I am again working on something that could enable young people from Porthleven get to and from the café for free.

Young People’s takeover day at Cornwall Council.

Last Friday saw a group of young people hold their takeover day at Cornwall Council. It was great to see so many young people at the Council raising their profile.

During the day, the young people were on hand to answer any question Councillors and Officers had, but more importantly, to ask questions too. The young people also showed a selection of films about young people.

There was a session where the young people could ask senior officers from the Council and Health. I was there too in my capacity as Lead Member for Children and Young People.

The question raised by the young people where on such subjects as do the Council have young people as a priority, CAHMS, Children in Care and Youth Services. It was great to hear and be subjected to a series of questions. Hopefully, those on the panel were able to answer all the questions to the satisfaction of the young people.

However, there was some concern from the young people on why there was so few Councillors in attendance. The young people also wanted to raise their profile with Councillors and will be looking to contact them in the future.

It was a great day and look forward to the event next year.

Porthleven could have its own Youth Support Worker

Over the years Porthleven has grown from once a small fishing village to now a small town; thought the heart and soul of Porthleven still is has a village feeling. With a larger settlement, the need for services in Porthleven is similar to our neighbouring town, Helston, but it could also be argued it is different. Therefore, we can and should look at how services are delivered to the benefit of Porthleven and not having to compete with services with other areas. One area that I believe Porthleven could be better served is by having its own Youth Support Worker.

The idea of Porthleven having its own Youth Support Worker is in part of changes to how youth work is delivered both by Cornwall wide and nationally. Therefore, these changes should be seen as an opportunity for Porthleven. With this in mind, I put a proposal to Porthleven Town Council to fund out of the precept, a Youth Support Worker who would be dedicated to supporting young people in Porthleven. The costs of this post are much less than you would imagine, but I firmly believe this is money well spent.

The cost for a Youth Support Worker (Grade Y10) based on gross annual pay of £19,636 delivering 9 hours per week (three 3 hour sessions) based on 52.14 paid weeks comes to a total: £2026.12 actual pay: £1592.11 with a 1% pay award of £15.92 = £1608.03 plus superannuation of £257.28, superannuation deficit of £56.28 plus NI of £104.52. Add in some administration of around £500, you get grant total of £2500 for 52 weeks. This Youth Support Worker could really make a difference to Porthleven’s young people and could be the first steps to having more youth services in the town.

Town councillors at their monthly meeting discussed the proposal and where minded to support such a post – which is fantastic news. Before we get carried away with the good news there is still a lot more work that needs to be done before this post is operational. Work will now be undertaken to look at the role of the Youth Support Worker and their remit. Furthermore, I am also grateful to Cornwall Council who are willing to help set up this position. I am hopeful once all this points have been address is for the position to be in place early in 2015. It is good to see Porthleven Town Council (and Helston Town Council) who are willing to deliver services at a community based level.

Lastly, people may raise the question of what about a new youth centre, and in an ideal world it would be great to have one in Porthleven. The reality of funding such a building is expensive and with limited funding option. However, there are other building available two being the Children’s Centre and the other is the town council meeting room, both would be free to use and could be used to help deliver youth related services in the area. Having a building is one thing, but sometimes you have to go to where the young people hang-out which is often outside. So a balance needs to be struck.

Cornwall Council wants young people’s view on the 11 plus service

The 11+ service – in old money the 11+ service is the youth service –  is going to change. Not only to adapt to the financial pressures the Council is facing, but also services need to adapt to what young people require. For me, and the service, it is very important for the young people to have a say on how this service is commissioned going into the future.

This is why we have set up a simple You Choose survey that allows young people to prioritise which parts of the service are more important, and if they want more resources going into a specific area. There is no new money for the 11+ service so any increase to an area, will have to be met with a decrease in another part of the 11+ service.

Here is the survey which is aimed at young people. If you are a young person who is reading this blog  click  HERE to do the survey, and if you have a young person (who is 11 and over) can you get them to do the survey.

Visiting the Cornwall Army Cadet Force

On Wednesday, I was invited along with the Chairman of Cornwall Council, to spend the day with the Cornwall Army Cadet Force at their summer camp. This year the camp is taking place at RAF St Mawgan over a two-week period. The Army Cadet Force is a youth service who wears uniform, much like other uniformed youth services like the Police Cadets, St John Ambulance, Air Training Corp and Sea Cadets.

During the day I got to see first-hand the work the cadets do and the skills they learn. Just because the name is military sounding, it is not about marching around with people shouting at you. Nor is it an Army recruiting ground; as less than 20% of Cadets actually go into the military. The skills they learn by being a Cadet are life-long skills which include leadership, team work, personal admin (parents often feedback what the ACF have done to their child, as they keep their room tidy and make their beds!) and being able to adapt to different circumstances. These are important skills which will help any young person into adulthood. The Cadets also do practical skills which includes many outdoor pursuits.

During the day, the invited guests were able to take part in many of the activities with the Cadets. This included archery and also allowed to shoot at the firing range. It was good to see the Chairman of the Council, and the Head of Treviglas School shoot it out at the range. I also tested my skills, and considering I have not fired a gun in 15 odd years, and the weapon was not zeroed-in to me, I was rather impressed with the grouping of the 5 rounds we had.

I really enjoyed the day (and was able to take the Boy too) as it showed me first-hand the good work the Army Cadet Force do for young people in Cornwall. The ACF along with the other uniformed youth services are excellent organisations. It is good to see the MOD / Army fund the ACF as it allows the organisation to do things that would often be too expensive for many families. 

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*Sings the Robin Hood song*

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Not a bad grouping after not firing a rifle for over 15 years