FIGURES show that Westbury Development Centre for Young People has engaged with approximately 850 different young people in the last year – almost half the population of young people in the town.
The youth centre, located on Eden Vale Road, runs a diverse range of positive, developmental activities and events for young people aged between 12 and 19.
Young people in Westbury have plenty of schemes on the go at the moment. The smoothie bar project was started by a small group, who have built up the smoothie bar as a business idea, designing recipes and taking the bar out to events including last summer’s Street Fayre, Christmas in Westbury event, and recent area board meetings.
The leisure credits programme allows young people to carry out voluntary work in exchange for credits that can be spent on trips and activities. Young people are also developing a multi-media room where they will be able to participate in film making, photography, music technology, and other activities.
In addition, the centre offers young people the chance to undertake locally and nationally accredited schemes and awards including ASDAN, Duke of Edinburgh award, first aid, food hygiene, and sports leadership schemes.
Sally Willox, development co-ordinator at the youth centre said, “These provide opportunities to gain valuable skills, qualifications, improve personal and social skills, increase self-confidence and self-esteem, improve resilience, team work, independent living skills and take part in diverse personal and social education programmes of work. To date almost 88 young people have achieved accreditations with 43 further qualifications nearing completion by April 2011.
“It is important to remember that youth work is needs-led, based on a voluntary relationship between young people and youth development workers, and is informal education and learning, relying on individual and group work in a diverse varied range of settings.”
In a recent change, the youth development service is now part of Wiltshire Council’s Integrated Youth Service along with other services. The new arrangement is designed to allow a greater emphasis on an integrated approach.