Salford secures £500k for youth services

A newly formed organisation, the Ordsall, Langworthy, Weaste and Seedley Youth Alliance, which will be led by Salford Community Leisure working closely with Salford Council, has been awarded £480,000 through National Lottery funding to improve the lives of young people.

The three-year project will support more than a thousand eight-to-24-year-olds through the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme in a bid to improve coordination of youth services in Salford and tackle crime and anti-social behaviour by providing ongoing opportunities to keep young people engaged with the local community.

The Youth Alliance (YA) is made up of many organisations including Salford Community Leisure, Salford Council and Oasis Academy MediaCity plus housing associations (Salix Homes, City West Housing Trust, Great Places and Pendleton Together), youth organisations (Salford Lads and Girls Club, St Clements Church, Manchester United Foundation, Rio Ferdinand Foundation) and other community organisations.

The Alliance will offer opportunities that will improve people’s confidence, raise aspirations and provide skills and experience. The organisation will streamline youth services, which will create a joined-up service, bringing all parties together to deliver maximum benefits to young people.

Those accessing the service will go through a seamless process whereby they can progress from one age-related activity to the next via a leadership track. They will be able to participate in volunteering, training and placements across different organisations building up accreditations for their CVs.

The participants will also be able to take advantage of peer support, leadership development and support for enterprise, which will improve their employability and encourage them to become role models for other local youngsters.

Two full time posts have been made possible including a Youth Alliance Coordinator who will organise, promote and manage the Alliance and a Volunteer Development Officer who will recruit, manage and develop volunteers working with partner organisations and the community.

Both places have now been filled and have a new office based at Clarendon Leisure Centre in Salford.

Asa Keenan (29), the new Youth Alliance Coordinator, from Salford said: “I’m delighted that we’ve secured this much-needed cash injection for the young people of Salford. Delivering youth services isn’t new or innovative but the Youth Alliance will offer a new, joined-up and more sustainable model of delivering youth services.

We’re proud to have helped more than 10,000 young people through the SAYO/SPARKY Project in the last 17 years and look forward to working with many more through the new scheme.”

The scheme’s first two volunteers are now on board. 17-year-old Lewis Gregory from Salford will be on hand to assist with sports activities in the community such as weekly roller discos, football and eventually, he will be trained as a lifeguard. Lewis, said: “I’m really happy to be part of the team and to help other young people in the community.” 17-year-old Bobbie Adams, also from Salford, said: “I used to come to the SAYO/SPARKY Project when I was younger so I know many of the children that I will be working with.

I will be focussing on arts and fun, creative events such as the Halloween party and Witches Walk that we run every year.”

Councillor Lisa Stone, lead member for children’s and young people’s services at Salford Council, said: “We are very excited about this project which gives young people the chance to experience, volunteering, training, placements, apprenticeships and become young ambassadors and role models for other young people.

It will help them play a major role in their local community and give something back to Salford for the benefit of others.”

The grant will also fund the SAYO/SPARKY Project for a further three years continuing to provide fun, sporty activities and free and heavily subsidised school holiday, after school and evening activities for children aged 4-15 in Salford.